FALCONER – Chautauqua County’s representative in Washington says the only way America can remain competitive on the world stage when it comes to manufacturing is by equipping the workers of tomorrow with the skills and knowledge they’ll need to get the job done.
Congressman Tom Reed (R-Corning, NY 23) was in Falconer Tuesday to promote National Manufacturing Month with a tour of Truck-Lite and to recognize the Manufacturers Association of the Southern Tier and Dream It Do It Western New York for their efforts in training the workers of tomorrow.
Reed pointed out that Truck-Lite has been a major partner with the local Dream It Do It program, giving high school students in the area an opportunity to learn about the operation and what they’ll need to know to work in a manufacturing setting.
“This is manufacturing of tomorrow,” Reed said. “It takes a hi-tech [approach]. It takes a lot of science, technology, engineering and mathematics – that’s why we’re a firm believer in the STEM program. And it’s also about raising awareness. This being National Manufacturing Month, one of the things we hope to accomplish with this [visit] is to raise awareness to the next generation and to mothers and fathers and say, ‘This isn’t the manufacturing of the 20th century. This is the manufacturing of tomorrow, which is safe, it’s exciting, it’s hands on and it’s stimulating.”
Truck Lite Sr. Vice President Brad VanRiper said the Dream It – Do It program has become a valuable component for the local manufacturer.
“Through Dream It – Do It and the education coalition, we’ve seen an effort to align education with the needs of business and industry,” VanRiper said. “If education doesn’t know our needs and the students don’t know the opportunity, then we can’t get the employees – which is probably the single biggest opposition to our growth here in Western New York.”
Reed also presented a Congressional proclamation to Manufacturers Association director Todd Tranum and Dream It Do It Coordinator Justin Hanft, who said the program has given hundreds of students an opportunity to learn how they can work in manufacturing.
“Dream It Do It program throughout Chautauqua County – through a variety of different strategic approaches – hosts a lot of different events around the county at different times throughout the year,” Hanft said. “The one we just did recently was our Manufacturing Day event on Oct. 2, when we had over 600 kids throughout the county that visited a manufacturer, Truck-Lite being one of them.”
In addition to the proclamation, Congressman Reed also toured the Truck-Lite plant to learn more about the operation and the products that it provides to its customers around the globe.