Partnering to Bring Manufacturing to the Classroom: STEM Teachers Gear Up for...

Partnering to Bring Manufacturing to the Classroom: STEM Teachers Gear Up for the Future

Twenty-seven STEM teachers were on campus recently for the sixth annual Materials and Manufacturers Summer Teachers’ Institute, a school-to-career initiative that targets STEM skills instruction in the New Haven and Bridgeport Public Schools, grades 7-12. The teachers’ professional development is the institute’s strategy for engaging 7th – 12th grade students in the practical uses of STEM skills in manufacturing and materials science.

This outreach effort — a strategic partnership among SouthernCRISP, the Southern Connecticut Chapter of the American Society for Materials InternationalCT Technical High School System and the New Haven Manufacturers Association — focuses on teacher education. It immerses teachers in the needs, rigors, skill sets, applications, and training that the manufacturing community need and employ.

To date the program has impacted over 150 teachers from across the State. Christine Broadbridge, dean of the School of Graduate Studies, Research, & Innovation (GSRI) and co-director of the institute, is pleased with the program’s success. “We are looking into expanding and also offering specialized programs for school administrators and school guidance counselors,” she said. Broadbridge also acknowledged the many contributions to the institute made by Robert Klancko, partner, Klancko & Klancko, LLC, and co-director of the institute, who is moving out of state later this year. “Bob has worked tirelessly to champion industry-academic partnerships, and the impact of his efforts are significant and far reaching. This program would not have happened without his hard work and dedication.” Mr. Klancko is the recipient of the 2018 Leadership Award from the American Manufacturing Hall of Fame.

This year’s Institute’s theme was “Gearing Up For The Future,” and the teachers learned about gears — how they are designed and how they are made. On the first day of the institute, a morning session was held at Southern, and an afternoon session was held at Leed Himmel, where teachers toured the manufacturing plant and saw aluminum extrusion and fabrication, and heard from hiring professionals. The second and third days were held at Platt Technical High School in Milford. On these two days, the teachers not only learned about the manufacturing process and materials, but also gained hands-on experience on various machine shop equipment.

An optional fourth half day took place at Assa Abloy, where teachers toured the facilities and spoke to industry professionals. They saw how lock hardware was fabricated and how the extrusions from Leed Himmel were employed.

Overall, science faculty attending the institute learned from industry operations and technical professionals about the following:

  • Their firms and what they produce
  • STEM skill sets that are required
  • The raw materials used, how the product is made and what it is required to perform
  • Why certain materials are utilized and the critical properties of those materials
  • What goes into creating a product
  • Obstacles and limitations associated with creating a product