Boston Whaler steps into the classroom for Manufacturing Month

Boston Whaler boatbuilding experts recently stepped into local classrooms in Volusia County, Fla. to share information with middle school and high school students about modern manufacturing techniques as well as future career opportunities. 

Whaler’s efforts were part of the “Manufacturing Means Measure” campaign sponsored by the Volusia Manufacturer Association (VMA).  October is National Manufacturing Month and the VMA is meeting with students grade 6-12 to help them better understand manufacturing, as well as some of the skills it requires, such as being able to accurately measure parts and components.

“Now in its sixth year, Manufacturing Day is a way for companies in all sectors of manufacturing to open their doors, reach out to the community and address the common misperceptions about what they do and how they do it,” said VMA President Jayne Fifer. 

Boston Whaler representatives Director of Business Systems Nate Abdalian and Vice President of Strategic Engagement Rebecca Crews recently visited Burns Science and Technology Charter School in Oak Hill, Fla. The VMA provided all students with a tape measure tool and ruler to augment a Whaler-prepared presentation and video about the discussion topic and company. Whaler also brought several difficult-to-measure boat parts to illustrate their points and to challenge the middle school tech students.  Each student that correctly measured the boat parts received a small gift.

Among other subjects, Burns offers STEM education, a curriculum concentrated on four specific disciplines — science, technology, engineering and mathematics — presented in an interdisciplinary and applied approach. Burns students, for example, work with the emerging areas of robotics, computer-aided design and artificial intelligence as well as learning about underlying fundamental technical and academic disciplines.

Abdalian, who grew up in Volusia Country, and attended Chisholm Elementary School, New Smyrna Middle and New Smyrna High School, said he believes such outreach efforts not only help to strengthen local manufacturing sectors, but also the local communities. Abdalian started as a mechanical engineer at Boston Whaler in 2006.  He went on to complete his MBA at the University of Florida, while working full-time at Whaler, and has held roles of increasing responsibility across the business during the past 12 years.

“Giving back to students in our area, showing the importance of proper measurement and career opportunities at Boston Whaler, and that Boston Whaler Boats are made less than ten minutes from their school was a great message to share with our potential workforce of the future.” 

“I know the students and teacher, Jill Mucci, were excited to have a local company like Boston Whaler interact and spend time with them.  Nate and I also were impressed with what the students are working with modern technologies that will play a larger role in manufacturing going forward,” echoed Crews.

Sharing more about the new age of manufacturing has, indeed, dispelled the perceptions associated with manufacturing that still associate the sector with the Industrial Revolution of the 19th Century, Crews said.  She points to National Association of Manufacturers’ (NAM) data which reveals that 84 percent of respondents have a better view of manufacturing leaving a facility than they had going in during a Manufacturing Day event.

Last year, a record 300,000 students, parents and teachers nationwide gained insight into modern-day manufacturing. In fact, Manufacturing Day, according to a survey from DeLoitte, has resulted in the following for participating students:

  • 89% are more aware of manufacturing jobs in their communities,
  • 84% are more convinced that manufacturing provides careers that are interesting and rewarding,
  • 64% are more motivated to pursue careers in manufacturing, and
  • 71% are more likely to tell friends, family, parents, or colleagues, about manufacturing after attending an event.

Manufacturers such as Boston Whaler are working hand-in-hand with communities to continue this awareness, the VMA’s Fifer said. “By working together during and after Manufacturing Day, manufacturers will begin to address the skilled labor shortage they face, connect with future generations, take charge of the public image of manufacturing, and ensure the ongoing prosperity of the whole industry.” 

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