OSWEGO – An eager crowd of students and parents packed the Oswego High School cafeteria on Nov. 9 to get a first-hand look at some of the career opportunities awaiting them in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
The STEM Career Exploration Night featured employees and hardware from Novelis, whose aluminum processing plant in Oswego employs more than 1,000 workers.
“It’s important for kids to explore, learn and get closer to these fields because the more research they can do, the more they’ll know what they want to do after high school and STEM is where the jobs are,” said OHS counselor Rachel Henderson, who helped organize the event.
Numerous example of on-the-job technology were available for students and parents to examine, presented by the Novelis operators who use the devices and programs each day.
Electrical engineering, automation, precision maintenance and mechanical drafting were among the featured exhibits and personnel, along with laser alignment testing and machine geometry and networking.
Novelis officials said the event was an important opportunity for students to “see, touch, learn and interact” with the technologies driving industry and a growing workforce in Oswego County and beyond.
“Contrary to popular opinion, there are lots of manufacturing employment opportunities in this area, but we can’t fill them because our applicants don’t have the skills we’re looking for,” said David Lloyd, Novelis’ plant training coordinator. “We don’t want just anybody – we need the best quality person available at every position.”
Apart from the specific STEM skills that can come from two- or four-year degrees,
Lloyd also said manufacturers like Novelis look for character attributes that can be just as important to landing a job such as accountability, dependability and a positive attitude.
“We don’t want sloppy, we want quality,” Lloyd said. “We want effective communicators, people who can be team players and whose work ethic fits our culture.”