Philadelphia High School Training the Next Generation of Manufacturing Innovators


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Benjamin Franklin High School in Philadelphia, PA
Benjamin Franklin High’s new Center for Advanced Manufacturing is an exemplary investment in the future of the American workforce and the ecosystems necessary to leverage new technologies.

Last week MBDA National Director Alejandra Y. Castillo attended a ribbon cutting at a new high school in Philadelphia that is opening doors and opportunities for young people to explore careers in today’s manufacturing sector. 

To mark this year’s National Manufacturing Day, Director Castillo visited the new Center for Advanced Manufacturing at Benjamin Franklin High School to show support for the extraordinary program that plans to train the next generation of manufacturers. The U.S. Department of Commerce is committed to building the capacity of manufacturers so they can enter new markets at home and abroad. Ben Franklin High’s new program is an exemplary investment in the future of the American workforce and the ecosystems necessary to leverage new technologies.

One such new technology is mechatronics: the science that exists at the interface of mechanics, electronics, informatics, automation, and robotics disciplines. In three years, 400 Philadelphia high school students will be certified and ready for $40,000-a-year jobs in pre-engineering, electronics, mechatronics, renewable energy, and nanotechnology. This public magnet high school program opened last week and will provide industry-credentialed training in the manufacturing process to Philadelphia high school students. Many manufacturing workers today are baby boomers who will retire in the coming years; they need to be replaced with workers skilled in disciplines like mechatronics to operate equipment designed for fast, precise performance.

Soon after taking office, President Obama rolled out his strategy for economic recovery, and manufacturing was a key component because of its job creation potential. MBDA was on board from the beginning, providing supplemental funding to several of our MBDA Business Centers to help minority manufacturing companies transition to newer technologies. In fact, for the first time, manufacturing replaced construction as the top industry (36 percent) for MBDA client contracts in fiscal year 2013. As we look across the industry, Census data shows that there are 107,000 minority-owned manufacturing firms generating $111 billion in annual economic output and employing 390,000 workers; a 31 percent increase between 2007 and 2012.

Overall, Commerce Department data showed an increase of close to 900,000 manufacturing jobs in the last five and a half years, dispelling the misconception that manufacturing jobs are outdated with no upward mobility.  Implementing more Centers for Advanced Technology programs for young people across the country is not only crucial, but a guaranteed pathway to the next legion of manufacturers. 

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Last updated: 2016-04-18 11:10

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