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New Jersey Manufacturing Extension Program’s (NJMEP) Future Makers and Creators Tour—an initiative brought into existence by NJMEP with support from the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA), is offering a unique opportunity for schools and students in New Jersey to learn about and experience modern manufacturing firsthand.

Gov. Phil Murphy has committed to growing New Jersey’s manufacturing industry, leading to 5,000 new jobs in the sector since he took office in 2018. Furthermore, the tour gives local manufacturing businesses the chance to get connected and engage directly with their future workforce.

The tour kicked off at Pleasantville Public Schools this week and showcased advanced manufacturing technologies and careers to 7th, 8th, 9th, and 10th graders, giving them a chance to see modern manufacturing in action. Industry leaders and partners, and local South Jersey manufacturers like Edmund Optics and Bellview Winery were on-site to talk about their specific industries and provide students with a window into what an advanced manufacturing career can provide.

School administrators, faculty, and over 600 Pleasantville students flocked into the Pleasantville High School auditorium for the opportunity to get hands-on with advanced manufacturing training tools and technologies and the chance to win great prizes and giveaways like The Future Makers & Creators Tour T-Shirt and a 3D Printed Geary Mascot!

“Connecting with students who have yet to make up their minds about a career path is invaluable when showing the real value the manufacturing industry has to offer them and their families,” said NJMEP CEO Peter Connolly.

“The first stop on the Future of Makers and Creators Tour proved that young students are interested and can be incredibly engaged when learning about this field that’s so vital to our way of life and our nation. Seeing these students smile and watching their eyes be opened to advanced manufacturing as they tried their hand at Augmented Reality welding, experienced 3D Printing in action, and connected directly with local manufacturers was beyond amazing.

“We will be visiting at least 21 schools in every county throughout New Jersey during this tour, all impossible without support from the NJEDA. The Future Makers & Creators Tour will have a long-lasting impact on the manufacturing industry. Without this kind of action, the industry will not have a passionate workforce to connect with as manufacturing continues to grow in New Jersey.”

“Manufacturing can be your ticket to financial and personal freedom,” And Kuhn, Senior Project Officer at the NJEDA, told a packed Pleasantville High School audience. “There are opportunities in manufacturing right here in your backyard, and we put together this program because we want students of all ages to understand the opportunities available to them in their communities,” he added.

“Manufacturers who participate in The Future Makers & Creators Tour will have the opportunity to inspire and attract the next generation of manufacturing professionals”, said Larry Banks, Head of

NJMEP’s PEN team. “Schools that take part in the tour will have the opportunity to engage directly with these manufacturers who can provide their insights and real-world experience regarding alternative career paths in advanced manufacturing.”

Whether they were competing to get the best welds on the Augmented Reality ARC Welding machine, were listening intently to NJMEP’s Staff Trainer illustrate how to program and use a HAAS PLC powered Desktop Computerized Numerical Control (CNC) mill, or were simply mesmerized by the 3D Printers that were actively making Geary Mascots on-site, students spent their morning engaged and participating in everything that advanced manufacturing has to offer.

Want to learn more or get involved? Head to the website below to learn how you can contribute to this initiative as a manufacturer, media outlet, or how your school can become a stop along The Future Makers & Creators Tour! Learn More: NJMEP.org/MakersandCreators

About NJMEP

NJMEP helps to improve the profitability and competitiveness of small to medium-sized manufacturers in New Jersey. Backed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), NJMEP enables organizations to enhance their productivity and efficiencies, reduce costs, and improve employee performance. For more than 20 years, NJMEP has used its extensive network of connections and proven track record of success to help manufacturers adapt to the latest innovative technologies and best practices to realize nearly $8 billion in value.