By using its thriving Plastics Engineering Technology program as a starting point, Shawnee State University
(SSU) has again gone the extra mile to pump up the jobs pipeline for Ohio’s polymer industry. On March 23rd, 2012 SSU sponsored Plastics Day, an annual event that highlighted Ohio’s plastics industry and served as a recruiting event for SSU to help raise enrollment in the program. PolymerOhio, a polymer industry-specific Ohio Edison Technology Center funded by the Ohio Economic Development Agency, was invited to send two representatives to Plastics Day: Wayne Earley, CEO, and Kevin Cunningham, Manager, Outreach & Engineering Solutions and an SSU alumnus. The SSU event was closely aligned with PolymerOhio’s mission, which focuses on enhancing the global competitiveness of the Ohio polymer industry, including companies from the plastics, rubber, bioproducts, and advanced materials segments.
“For over the past 10 years Shawnee State University has been the only school in Ohio where a student can get a four-year degree in plastics technology,” said Cunningham. “The program offers a solid foundation and the skills desired by companies in all aspects of the polymers and plastics industry.”
Cunningham added, “Most of the SSU students have jobs secured prior to graduation and in some cases, have been working with those companies for years through internships. The success and growth of the program over the last 11 years can be attributed directly to the efforts of Dr. Larry ‘Skip’ Miller, who year after year pushes to advance the capabilities of the program to match the advances in industry.”
Nearly 100 students attended Plastics Day and took advantage of the interactive campus visit program, which provided both an access point for learning about Shawnee State’s Plastics Engineering Technology program and a platform for meeting with current students, successful alumni of the SSU Plastics Engineering Technology program, and faculty. Attendees enjoyed hands-on opportunities to operate plastics processing equipment such as sophisticated computers that make designs for plastic formulations and products; plastics testing devices, such as an Instron tensile testing machine; and such equipment as injection molding systems, extrusion machines, and rotational molders. These activities allowed attendees to create their own polymer-based product such as poker chips, Frisbees, and piggy banks.
Earley and Cunningham met with students to talk about Ohio polymer companies and the variety of job opportunities in the industry. Plastic product fabrication is the largest manufacturing sector in Ohio, and part of a global industry that has experienced tremendous growth over the past 20 years. Technically qualified personnel in the plastics industry are in demand. Students who have graduated from a program like that at SSU can find attractive positions in Ohio’s plastics companies.
Products made by the plastics industry range from simple articles like bottles and cups to highly intricate molded parts for the automotive, electronics, and medical products industries. Their production requires knowledgeable technologists who can design a product, select the best plastic for that product, design a mold, and establish the optimum operating conditions for the machines that are used to mold the product. The plastics engineering technology program at SSU prepares students to join a work-based team that accomplishes these objectives. The SSU program emphasizes plastics processing operations and includes significant components in the areas of materials, mold design, and production methods. Graduates of the program are prepared to assume professional positions in the plastics manufacturing industry.
Shawnee State University is a student-focused, public university offering a highly personalized, affordable, and accessible education dedicated to the exploration of emerging technologies and emerging ideas. With a strong and rapidly growing Plastics Engineering Technology program, Shawnee State provides academically challenging programs geared to industry, education aimed at training students especially for industries that will make Ohio strong, and providing high quality education at an affordable price. For more information, go to http://www.shawnee.edu/.
PolymerOhio, Inc. is a polymer industry-specific Ohio Edison Technology Center, which is funded by the Ohio Economic Development Agency. PolymerOhio focuses on enhancing the global competitiveness of Ohio’s polymer industry, including companies from the plastics, rubber, bioproducts, and advanced materials segments. For more information, go to http://www.polymerohio.org.