Emile Dargbeh’s enthusiasm was infectious.
The Fargo Davies High School senior spoke excitedly about his prospects in finding a career in manufacturing, something he would now “definitely like to have.”
Dargbeh was one of about 170 students from Fargo Moorhead who attended the third Manufacturing Day on October 3rd, hosted by the Greater Fargo Moorhead Economic Development Corporation.
Coinciding with National Manufacturing Day, GFMEDC aimed to have the event educate students of the many valuable careers available in their own backyard. Through the morning, the students toured four local manufacturing businesses, getting valuable hands-on experience.
Experiences like the manufacturing tours are helping influence students’ choices for their education after graduating high school and life-long careers.
“Because I’m getting more and more experience in automotive and things like that, more mechanical work, I’m leaning over to that side right now. I think a technical college like [MState] would be the best option for me right now,” Dargbeh said.
Students from Moorhead, Fargo and West Fargo visited Aggregate Industries, the Fargo Jet Center/Weather Modification, John Deere Electronic Solutions and Prinsco. Students like Dargbeh found the hands-on learning to be valuable.
“They show us actual stuff, like over in the automotive lab. We saw the actual trucks over there, which was pretty good because sometimes it’s just like prototypes that you see. You don’t really get to work on the real thing, the real deal and here it’s all about the real deal,” Dargbeh said. “Definitely one of the most exciting, entertaining, and most educational experiences I’ve had in a very long time.”
At Aggregate Industries, students visited an open gravel pit east of Moorhead, with a huge scooping dredge that plunged about 100 feet down into a large pond, gathering material that the company turns into asphalt and concrete.
Before Manufacturing Day, student Brian Phillips had a pretty good idea of what he wanted to do after high school. He said one of his teachers piqued his interest in industrial technology and the experiences he had visiting the local businesses gave him an even bigger perspective.
“We saw a whole wide view of the different varieties of jobs there are,” Phillips said.
Fargo South High School junior Aleigha Abner wants to find a career in auto or diesel mechanics and MState may be the school for her. After the day of learning, Abner said she would recommend the manufacturing tours to her fellow students.
“I would tell them to go because you’ll learn much more than what you learn in class,” Abner said.
At Prinsco in Fargo, the students toured the whole facility where recycled plastics like milk jugs and detergent containers are turned into corrugated plastic piping used in agriculture. They saw the process from the beginning, with small pieces of plastic making its way through machinery, becoming a useful product that can increase yields for our local farmers.
“I think it’s a reality check, really,” Prinsco plant manager Marc Valenzuela said. “Oftentimes we see products on the market and have no idea how they’re made and all the work that goes into them.”
Valenzuela thought Manufacturing Day was a perfect chance to expand students’ horizons.
“I try to share that passion with the kids. I see them when they come in; they’re not that interested, they’re wondering why they’re here. And as we finish the tour, they’re attentive, they’re interested, they’re engaged, and that’s a win-win for me,” Valenzuela said.
Students also toured the Fargo Jet Center, a full-service fixed-base operator where you might run into someone famous as they step off of their private jet. Students were able to see a variety of planes up close and even got to take the driver’s seat of a state-of-the-art airport firefighting truck.
At John Deere Electronic Solutions, the tour showcased industry-leading electronics components used in much of the agricultural equipment on fields around the world.
Manufacturing Day 2014 was sponsored by the Greater Fargo Moorhead Economic Development Corporation, Minnesota State Community and Technical College, Minn-Dak Manufacturers Association and Dakota MEP.