Quickly, three Canfield eighth-graders grab the four parts of their balloon pump.
After the red nozzle is screwed on, the three work together to get the size of balloon they need to win this competition.
“Faster!” one of the students urges.
Trent Harnishfeger, 13, Josh Juliano, 14, and Mario Battaglia, 14, didn’t win the balloon challenge, but they still got a prize piece of candy and learned four disciplines of manufacturing: engineering, machining, welding and pneumatics/hydraulics.
“[I learned] how much work goes into the stuff we use daily,” Mario said.
Friday was Manufacturing Day, a day dedicated to celebrating manufacturing and helping the younger generation understand what manufacturing is all about so they consider manufacturing as a potential career path.
In the Mahoning Valley, where manufacturing is in the DNA, there were celebrations and discussions at Youngstown State University and Mahoning County Career & Technical Center.
At MCCTC, 700 seventh- and eighth-grade students took part in the balloon competition.
The event at MCCTC came out of the Mahoning Valley Manufacturers Coalition, a group of manufacturers and educational institutions that together work to build up the manufacturing labor force.
“We were looking to engage the youth and give them an overview of what manufacturing looks like,” said John Burr, an engineer at BOC Water Hydraulics in Salem and volunteer at Friday’s event. “Part of the goal of the MVMC is to get people interested in getting jobs in manufacturing because we have positions that need filled.”
YSU kicked off Manufacturing Day with keynote speaker Mitchell Joseph of Joseph Co. International. Joseph is a Valley native and YSU graduate who came back to Youngstown to build a $20 million-plus chill-can plant on the East Side.
At Friday’s event, Joseph announced the complex will consist of nine buildings, up from the seven The Vindicator reported in August.
The complex will employ 250. Various products will be developed and manufactured here including Panther Punch and West Coast Chill, two energy drinks. Other potential products include cosmetic creams and lipstick that become instantly cooled.
“As the new technology in 1900 jump-started Youngstown,” Joseph said, “manufacturing of the chill can will jump-start this Valley. The eyes of the world will see Youngstown again as a manufacturing giant.”
After the keynote address, exhibitors involved in traditional and additive manufacturing taught young students from area schools about what they do and how they do it.
“These events are good because so many kids today don’t think about being involved in making things, and with everything in this world, there’s someone involved in making [those things],” said Jeff Kavali, lead engineer at Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co.