The Manufacturers Association of the Southern Tier held their 2013-14 annual meeting at Jamestown Community College on Tuesday afternoon.
MAST is an association of manufacturers which is not only involved in Chautauqua County but Cattaraugus, Erie, Niagara and Allegany counties as well. MAST and Dream It Do It - a program created to educate the next generation workforce about careers in advanced manufacturing - have a lot of overlap, especially when it comes to getting students engaged in future possibilities within the manufacturing field. At the beginning of the MAST meeting, Justin Hanft, Dream It Do It coordinator for the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce, provided an update.
"We have several different strategies on how we go about accomplishing our goal," Hanft said.
The first strategy revolves around spreading awareness to the students. He said it was important for students to know that there has been a transformation in manufacturing over the last 20 years. According to Hanft, manufacturing is much cleaner and safer than it has been in the past, and with training now required, it is no longer as dangerous as it once was.
Tech Wars, an event held earlier at Jamestown Community College on Tuesday, gives students a chance to talk to various manufacturers and learn about the various plants and facilities, and what opportunities there are. Another step would be to expand internship opportunities and provide tuition reimbursement incentives for advanced degrees or certifications.
"We really want these students that go through this internship program to come away with an experience that they can't find anywhere else," Hanft said.
More information about Dream It Do It can be found at www.didiwny.com.
Todd Tranum, executive director of Dream It Do It, announced there was a growth in membership as manufacturers from other parts of Western New York joined MAST. He also expressed his gratitude toward John Zabrodsky for serving as president, and all the work and effort he put into MAST over the past four years.
The board also approved the board of directors nominations for this year. Zabrodsky, from Advanced Manufacturing Technology as immediate past president; Mark Shafer, from Heidenhain as president; Kevin Brombacher, from M&T Bank as senior vice president; John Churchill, from Jamestown Electro-Plating as vice president; and Eric Livengood, from Ulrich Planfiling as secretary/treasurer.