Educational Outreach Awards

MAPP is excited to offer its annual "Educational Outreach Contest" in celebration of manufacturers who have worked over the past 12 months to engage young people in the manufacturing industry. Every Manufacturing Day, MAPP will recognize three member companies with the Educational Outreach Award. Members interested in participating must submit at least one of the following:

  • A description of how your company has worked with local schools, programs or students to raise awareness and build interest in the plastics industry over the last year
  • Photos from recent events your company has attended or hosted to raise awareness or build skills in young people in your community
  • A video showing/explaining your company's educational outreach efforts

Below you can view submissions from previous Educational Outreach Award Winners:

2017 Winners

  • Viking Plastics

  • All-Plastics

Last October we hosted a group of 12 Accounting Students from Schreiner University at our Kerrville facility. We did presentations on Lean Manufacturing and Kaizen Events. We talked in detail about Bill of Materials, Costs, Margins, Standards and Manufacturing. We also spoke to what products we manufacture and future job opportunities in the field of manufacturing. Picture attached. We will be hosting a new fall Accounting class for Schreiner University again this month on September 29th to discuss the same topics. Last November we spent a full day presenting to every Health Care classes at a local High School about careers in Health Care through Manufacturing. We went in detail through a presentation that showed pictures and videos of how fun manufacturing is. We answered lots of questions and discussed types of medical devices that are manufactured through plastic injection molding. These classes are comprised of Juniors and Seniors who have an interest in working in Health Care field after graduation.  We also donate to local schools and public school foundations that are focused on providing Grants for Innovative Teaching in the classroom. These grants are all STEM based driving interest of grade school students to enter a like field that we love. In addition, we helped develop and manufacture a STEM product for a customer partner of ours and a link to their website is posted on our site.

Next month we will host 15 students of the Society of Plastics Engineers from Baylor University at our Addison facility. This event will be to encourage students at Baylor to join the plastic industry by showing them how fascinating the world of plastics is and allow them to see real manufacturing first hand. We are also in process of setting up another event for this year with the local schools of Kerrville to support manufacturing career interest of children. All of the details have not been lined out for this event, yet.

  • Dymotek

    • Over the past year, some of the events Dymotek has participated in are:
      • UConn Student Athlete Career Fair - UConn hosts an annual event in October for its student athletes. This event brings UConn student athlete alumni back to speak with current student athletes about career possibilities post-graduation. An alumnus at Dymotek participated in the career fair in October 2016 and shared the variety of opportunities that exist in manufacturing. These athletes have had the drive and dedication that is necessary to become a Division I athlete. Dymotek values these characteristics and engages with these folks to share company information and establish relationships. This event has been an excellent networking platform and led to internship opportunities at Dymotek.

        Manufacturing Day - Dymotek participates in National Manufacturing Day every year. Manufacturing Day is a celebration of modern manufacturing meant to inspire the next generation of manufacturers. On Manufacturing Day, Dymotek opens its doors to the public and provides tours to several area schools. Guests have the opportunity to see what manufacturing looks like today and explore what types of careers exist. The company shares information on the latest technology and equipment, materials, engineering and design. Because there is such a wide variety of folks who come through, Dymotek tries to touch on as many areas as possible. These tours often generate a lot of interest in Dymotek and manufacturing in general and as a result, lead to many applications for employment. Visitors get to see that there are career opportunities in many different fields and that manufacturing can be a clean and rewarding industry to work in.

        Ashford School Career Day - Dymotek joined a number of other community members to participate in Ashford School’s Career Day on Friday, May 5th 2017.  Our table focused on robotics and automated manufacturing, aligned with processes employed at Dymotek, and featured a six-axis robot with servo gripper. The robot was generously loaned to us for the event by our robot partner ABB. Students came with scripted questions but it was more fun to get them off-script and hear their thoughts on robotic applications.  Having an actual robot helped to spark conversations with and ideas from the students, who ranged from 2nd to 8th grades.

        Accounting Department Job Shadow - In February of 2017, Dymotek Corporation welcomed a local high school student for a job shadow in the Finance department. The student is considering a career in the accounting field in the future, and she was interested in learning more about the profession. Dymotek’s Controller, Staff Accountant, and Accounts Receivable Specialist discussed the different types of industries accountants can work in as well as the education and certifications required. Each employee discussed their specific role within Dymotek and the importance of certain aspects of accounting including segregation of duties and confidentiality.  The student was very inquisitive about the similarities and differences between a career in public accounting versus private accounting as well as the requirements needed for the attainment of a CPA license. The students left Dymotek with a greater understanding of the accounting profession that will help facilitate her in making a more informed career decision.

        UConn Department of Mechanical Engineering Tour - A professor and group of students in the UConn Management and Engineering for Manufacturing (MEM) Program visited for a facility tour and Q&A session in April. Students were invited to observe processes, touch parts and material and run equipment to gain an understanding of the manufacturing process. This was a highly engaged group that was enthusiastic about learning the manufacturing process as well as the supporting processes. Students had the opportunity to meet Dymotek employees from different departments to gain an understanding of what types of jobs are available and what paths people have taken to get there. These students have already decided to pursue further education in manufacturing and this visit showcased what manufacturing currently looks like and dispels the antiquated image that is often connected to manufacturing. The visit continues to encourage the next generation of folks coming into the industry.

        Ellington High School Tour - Students from an environmental education class at a local high school toured Dymotek’s Ellington facility on May 26th. Normally tours of Dymotek showcase the technology and manufacturing processes. This was a unique opportunity to share some of the ways the Dymotek reduces impact on the environment. In addition to speaking about the energy saving equipment, tour leaders were able to share information about how scrap is reduced, material is recycled both inside and outside of the plant, low energy lighting and motion sensors are installed, and the conversion of several documentation processes from paper to electronic. This was an extremely engaged group that was excited to see real world applications of what they were learning about in class. 

        Apprenticeship Program à Journeyman Certificate - Dymotek recently worked with the Connecticut Department of Labor to create a state sponsored apprenticeship program for Process Technicians. While Dymotek has had an informal program for Process Technicians in the past, there was an opportunity to make improvements and help build skills in individuals and in turn, strengthen the Dymotek team. The program now takes an individual on a two year journey that includes on the job training with tooling, quality, process engineering, maintenance, and automation as well as online classes through ToolingU. At the end of the program, the employee receives a certificate of completion from the state and is a Journeyman Injection Molding Process Technician. This is an exciting step in ensuring Dymotek has the right team in place to support the company in coming years.

        Putnam High School - Roger L. Putnam Vocational-Technical Academy has a Robotics and Automation Department which includes a team that participates in robotic competitions. Dymotek has had members on the Robotics Advisory Board at Putnam starting in 2015 and is planning to continue serving on the board and providing mentorship going forward. This program introduces students to assembly, programming, robotics and design and serves as a catalyst for high school students to start thinking about things in new and innovative ways.

2016 Winners

  • Bemis Manufacturing

    • Bemis Manufacturing Company has not only been engaged in working with local Middle and High schools in providing students with skill sets needed to succeed in the new economy1, but is also providing the leadership to promote the plastics industry:
    • Scott Kuehn is the new Chairperson for Project GRILL.  Project G.R.I.L.L. stands for Growing Readiness In Learning & Leading and showcases manufacturing career opportunities to High School students through real world design, production, and distribution. Its unique blend of cooperation between manufacturers (sponsors), high schools, teachers, students and parents creates a learning environment where students truly experience the manufacturing process. The journey begins with students creating a “mini” organizational chart, determining who will lead the team, who will take care of the finances, inventory of materials, etc., through design, purchase, and fabrication.  This effort concludes ten months later with a fully functional grill!  Please check out the following website:

    • We have provided opportunities for High School students to participate in Youth Apprenticeships, through Lakeshore Technical College.  Students go through an interview process for the specific area of interest, I.e., Finance, Engineering, Manufacturing, etc.  Once the student is selected, they are assigned to a Bemis mentor and for the next ten months they will spend in excess of 200 hours during the summer and an additional 250 hours during the school year learning and applying lessons learned through their mentor and associates in the given field of interest.

    • We just concluded our third year of Teacher Externships w/Sheboygan Falls High School.  For one week I prepare an agenda which starts on Monday, and ends on Friday.  This past year nine teachers participated.  The week involves 25 Bemis associates, who participate by presenting and discussing their specific responsibilities.  The importance of quality tool design, engineering, customer relationships, supplier importance, quality, processing, etc. are covered in detail. 

    • On Wednesday, a day coined as “Supplier Day”, we visit local suppliers to Bemis.  The teachers get an inside view of other manufactures in the area that we work with, demonstrating the importance of our supply chain.  The week ends with a “graduation” of sorts, thanking the teachers for their time and efforts.  These externships have changed how teachers are approaching their lesson preparations.  Example:  A math teacher has developed story problems simulating actual challenges that engineers and quality employees face each day.  Cost of plastic, size of part, cycle times, and screw geometry are just a few of the criteria now being factored into lessons in order to produce a quality injection molded part.

    • We are working with Sheboygan North and South High Schools in providing co-op opportunities.  Students are placed in fun and challenging positions that encourage them to apply knowledge and creativity as they make contributions to real projects. In addition to hands-on experience in their field, co-ops have the chance to work with members from a variety of functional areas, in a team-based work environment and a culture that celebrates growth and learning.

    • We work with and have invested in Red Raider Manufacturing (RRM) which will support all students attending either Sheboygan North or South High Schools with the technical curriculum necessary to succeed in this new economy.  Welding, engineering, design, robot programming, etc. are some of the skill sets students will not only learn, but can apply the credits they earn to a post high school technical college!

    • We actively participate in INSPIRE Sheboygan County which was founded in 2013 as an outgrowth of the Business Education Partnership committee of the Sheboygan County Chamber of Commerce. INSPIRE Sheboygan County is funded solely by its member employers and school districts.  This collaboration between area employers and schools offers powerful career exploration and discovery tools that connect young people to their best career options and employers to their future workforce.

    • Through the INSPIRE website, students contact our career coaches, and can schedule a job shadow, a visit by a Bemis colleague to speak to the class, etc.  The job shadow consists of meeting with three different mentors for a period of one hour where at the conclusion of the mentoring process; the team meets at a local restaurant for lunch.  The team and student wrap up by discussing expectations, their takeaways, and future thoughts.

    • Working with our machine partner from Cincinnati, we secured a 33-ton Roboshot injection molding machine from Milacron for Sheboygan Falls High School.  This could be the first injection molding machine consigned to a high school in the country!  

    • Working with SFHS technical education instructor Ed Hughes, who has developed curriculum around the machine cell, we will have the ability to teach the students about mold building, machine operation, chemistry, engineering, processing, etc.  


    • TASUS continually strengthens and grows its relationship with the surrounding community by being involved in education in a variety of ways. One of the goals at TASUS is to work towards closing the growing skilled labor gap in the plastics manufacturing industry. For the past decade TASUS has had an ongoing relationship with Hoosier Hills Career Center because of their focus on students entering STEM related career fields. TASUS has continually taken internships from the Hoosier Hills Career Center. In 2016 TASUS took Brandon from the Hoosier Hills Career Center who has become a great part of the R&D team. The company worked with his schedule and he balanced finishing his senior year and interning at TASUS in the afternoon. Throughout his time here, Brandon has traveled to the TASUS plant in Alabama and helped on several automation projects. Brandon will go to Vincennes in the spring to pursue his engineering degree. TASUS will continue taking interns from Hoosier Hills and will be looking for more this spring. 
    • Every year TASUS attends the CTE Summit. The summit connects local businesses and colleges with high school students to prepare them for possible career paths. TASUS participated in rap sessions, where students interacted with TASUS employees through games that educated them on the manufacturing industry. TASUS also participated in a career booth, networking with many students. The event was very successful and TASUS will continue participating each year. 
    • TASUS has also partnered with the Hoosier Hills Career Center for the Youth Employability Skills Comprehensive Curriculum and Virtual Tours (Y.E.S!)The company became involved with Y.E.S!, because it starts preparing students as early as the 8th grade to enter careers in the manufacturing industry after graduation.  The current collaboration between TASUS-Hoosier Hills Career Center is a video tour of the plant that can be shared with students for years to come. The video will showcase what goes on in the day-to-day operations, employees’ insight on a variety of positions, as well as the great benefits of working at TASUS. Additionally, through this program the company will be involved in mock interviews and industry discussion panels at regional high schools.  
    • Through the company’s involvement in various programs we hope to build interest in plastics manufacturing, while helping to change the negative perceptions associated with the industry. The challenge is not only changing perceptions of the students, but also their parents, teachers, and counselors. According to a 2014 study by the Manufacturing Institute and Deloitte, only 37% of respondents would encourage their children to pursue a career in manufacturing. However, those with high industry familiarity supported manufacturing apprenticeship and degree programs more than 70% of the time. Through these programs we hope to reach students, parents, teachers, and counselors to spread awareness of the great career opportunities in manufacturing, changing the perceptions moving forward. 

  • Plastikos/Micro Mold

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    • Plastikos, Inc. & Micro Mold Co. Inc. are two sister companies who specialize in precision moldmaking and custom injection molding for tight-tolerance applications. As an Erie, PA, native Company and very proud supporter of domestic, Made in the USA manufacturing, we are proud to be active within our local academic community to better inform students of the numerous career opportunities that manufacturing and the plastics industry have to offer.  In fact, over the last three (3) years alone, we have hosted over eighteen (18) plant tours, which focused around continued education and career development for those local students. During these tours, over 100 students ranging from grade school to high school have been exposed to our manufacturing operation and industry, as a whole. Through our continued partnerships among colleges, technical education programs, and local high schools, we are able to open more eyes to the world of manufacturing every year. 
    • Involvement with Junior Achievement of North West Pennsylvania 
      It’s important that younger students in grade school are as equally exposed to manufacturing & the plastics industry as are older students who are completing their high school careers and then either entering into college or directly into the workforce. Our extensive involvement with Junior Achievement (JA) in North West Pennsylvania helps to expose the next generation to the business world from an early age. The learning process is strategically designed to create a fun learning environment and is tailored to the grade level of the students in each class, from Kindergarten through 12th Grade. Some of the basic business curriculum the students experience include: work readiness, financing, and practicing business models.  Philip Katen, President of Plastikos, has been an active member of Junior Achievement’s Board of Directors and has also frequently volunteered in the classroom since 2007. During this time on the JA Board, he has also served on the Governance Committee as well as a member of the Marketing & Awareness and Education committees.
    • During JA classroom programs, Philip is able to share with the students about his industry and the potential for how they too could be employed in plastics manufacturing in the future. He provides insight into the educational path students would need to pursue, especially focusing on math and science at the grade school level.   When he volunteers in a classroom to present JA lessons, he brings the lessons to life giving his students the rare opportunity of speaking directly to someone who has real and first-hand experience in a manufacturing business. It is this type of personal interaction that increases student’s interest in learning more about how employment in manufacturing today is different than what they might read about in history books.   
    • Paid Internship Opportunities: Plastikos & Micro Mold realize the struggles of attending school and maintaining a job at the same time, especially for students who are at a college level. However, we also believe that it is important for students to gain real world experience before entering into the workforce upon graduating from college. This is why we offer seasonal, part-time, and full-time paid internship opportunities to students ranging from high school to college level. We express to every intern that ‘school comes first’ which is why we go to such extreme lengths to customize each student’s internship schedule around his or her classes as well as offering summer internships. It not only helps the student, but it also creates a sense of understanding between everyone as well.  
      At Plastikos, internships for high school students are typically less job-specific than a collegiate level internship. The reason being, a specified career path has not yet been chosen by the individual (typically), unless the student has enrolled in special classes within a specific high school or vocational school program. That said, we offer a rotation program, whereby a student is exposed to each department (e.g. product inspection, mold setup, production, etc.) throughout his/her internship experience. And depending on a student’s personal strengths and/or interests, he/she may gravitate towards one department more than the other, which is our intent for the rotation program.  
      On average, Plastikos & Micro Mold employ three (3) to four (4) interns each year. Quite often, these internships turn into full-time employment opportunities upon the students' graduation, whether it is from high school or college. In fact, Plastikos & Micro Mold have been able to create seven (7) new full-time positions over the years for those students who excelled during their internship process!  
      Furthermore, Plastikos & Micro Mold is an active member of Penn State’s Plastics Alumni Advisory Board, where our Manufacturing Manager, Robert Cooney, provides real-world knowledge to guide up-and-coming engineers. In addition to these strong ties with Penn State, Plastikos also engages in cutting-edge research and development partnerships with faculty and students. Our hands-on involvement with Penn State has resulted in many industry advancements, which in turn have benefited our customers.