The following was originally published in the Sun Community News.

PLATTSBURGH | More than 100 10th-grade students from five area schools embarked on an eye-opening field trip April 18 as they toured local manufacturers and explored the Institute for Advanced Manufacturing (IAM) and Clinton Community College campus.

The immersive experience provided the students with valuable insights into the world of manufacturing and higher education, inspiring them for future career paths. TDC, CFES Brilliant Pathways, and Clinton Community College joined together to partner on this STEM career-exploration event that engaged students from Northern Adirondack, Northeastern Clinton, Plattsburgh City, Willsboro, and Beekmantown school districts.

Every student participated in two one-hour tours of manufacturing facilities such as Norsk Titanium, W Schonbek, Michelin, Spencer ARL, Monaghan Medical, IEC Holden, Schluter Systems, MRP Solutions, and SterRx. They were able to witness firsthand the intricate processes involved in manufacturing and learn about the cutting-edge technologies used in the production of various products across these industries.

Organizers said students were fascinated by the advanced machinery, robotics, and automation used in these facilities, and they were able to interact with engineers and technicians to gain a deeper understanding of the manufacturing industry. Their interests were piqued with facts shared about these operations and their impacts that reach far beyond Clinton County, like learning that 98 percent of the world’s snowmobile tracks are made in Michelin’s Plattsburgh facility.

The other half of the day was spent at Clinton Community College where they were greeted by enthusiastic college staff who provided them with an overview of the academic programs, campus facilities, and resources available to students. The students then participated in a scavenger hunt in the IAM and learned more about the innovative technology Clinton’s students are able to utilize in their studies to prepare them for a STEM career.

Four students from Beekmantown Central School were vocal about how valuable the day was for them. One student, Hunter, is debating going into either welding or criminal justice. The virtual reality welding at the IAM allowed him to have a hands-on experience to gauge his interest for the trade. Another student, Nick, explained his interest in computer science andespecially in coding. All four students agreed that having events such as this gave them a be a coder and eventually code for Activision, and American video game publisher.

“Part of TDC’s mission is to attract and retain quality jobs within our industrial parks; part of that is making sure the community (including the next generation) understands what kind of opportunities are present here. We are so grateful to the employers that enthusiastically participate in events like this and open their doors to students, demystifying what a career in STEM could look like,” said Dani King, Director of Business and Workforce Development for TDC.

“Hands-on, experiential learning opportunities like this not only create core memories for the students but also highlights how seamless the pathways are between high school graduation, pursuing a degree or credential at CCC, and obtaining a job at one of the region’s impressive manufacturing facilities,” stated Carey Goyette, Vice President for Academic Affairs at Clinton Community College. “This exciting collaboration between CCC, CFES, and TDC is a testament to our collective commitment to the future of our community.”