Mayor Michael A. Nutter was joined by U.S. Senator Bob Casey, City Councilman Bobby Henon and Dr. William Hite, Superintendent of the School District of Philadelphia, to kick off National Manufacturing Day in Philadelphia with the opening of the Center for Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering (The Center) and with coordinated factory tours for students throughout the city.
The Center, located at Benjamin Franklin High School on North Broad and Spring Garden Streets, was made possible thanks to a charitable donation by John & Leigh Middleton. The Center will teach public high school students technical skills in advanced manufacturing, such as mechatronics, computer-aided drafting and design, precision machining, welding, and industrial equipment maintenance. Upon graduation, students will receive high school diplomas as well as recognized industry credentials.
“The Center for Advanced Manufacturing & Engineering will play a critical role in the growth of Philadelphia’s economy,” said Mayor Nutter. “This partnership between the manufacturing business community and the School District of Philadelphia will greatly benefit Philadelphia’s youth by exposing them to high-tech and cutting edge jobs that provide good wages and lifelong prospects for growth. I applaud Dr. Hite and his team at the School District, John & Leigh Middleton, Jim Thomas and his team at ASTM International, and all of the participating companies and organizations for giving our students the opportunity to learn more about this critical sector of Philadelphia’s economy.”
In addition to the ribbon cutting ceremony for the Center, nearly 250 students from other participating schools celebrated National Manufacturing Day simultaneously by touring local factories in their communities, meeting with business executives and employees, and learning about the variety of products made in Philadelphia and the types of careers available in the field. The tours were made possible by generous support from ASTM International. The following companies and organizations participated by hosting students today: Aker Philadelphia Shipyard, Amuneal Manufacturing, Ashland Chemical, Dietz & Watson, Drexel School of Engineering, Invisible Sentinel, NextFab Studios, Philadelphia Coca-Cola Bottling, PTR Baler & Compactor, and Stockwell Elastomerics.
“I’m thankful to every stakeholder for their continued work on growing manufacturing in Philadelphia,” said Councilman Henon (6th District). “Particularly, this effort gives our kids an opportunity to take advantage of good, available jobs while employers get a pipeline of smart, committed and job-ready talent for hire.”
Superintendent Dr. Hite said, “With this Center, we are creating new advanced educational and career opportunities for students throughout our city. With 115 Career and Technical Education courses available throughout the School District, we are graduating students at a higher rate, almost eliminating the achievement gap, and creating career pathways for more than 6,000 students. This Center is an important addition to a very successful city-wide CTE program. We are grateful to John & Leigh Middleton for making this Center possible — a gift to Philadelphia’s future.”
National Manufacturing Day annually celebrates the sector’s contributions to the economic health of the United States and raises awareness about high-skilled career opportunities in manufacturing. In January 2013, Mayor Nutter signed an Executive Order establishing the Manufacturing Task Force to evaluate the state of manufacturing in the City of Philadelphia and to develop a strategy to promote and grow this important sector of the economy. The report issued by the Mayor’s Manufacturing Task Force can be found here. The task force recommended a number of actions including the creation of an Office of Manufacturing and Industry within the Department of Commerce, which is headed by Director Michael Cooper.