Nearly 1,200 students from over 60 schools were welcomed by 100+ companies at last week’s Aerospace Components Manufacturers (ACM) Future Workforce Opportunities Fair, apart of the annual Aerospace Alley® Tradeshow at the Connecticut Convention Center on Nov. 20.
The students, ranging from middle school to college, were greeted by and had the opportunity to engage with Governor Ned Lamont, DECD Commissioner David Lehman, and Commissioner of Education Miguel A. Cardona.
New to this year’s tradeshow was a fully hands-on Interactive Zone led by CCAT’s education team which featured companies like VR Sim, Mazak, Stanley Black & Decker, and Quast Media. CCAT provided the ACM event with high-tech tools to focus on the rewarding, high-tech, aerospace manufacturing career opportunities awaiting students today through several app-based activities that use augmented reality and a competitive activity that simulated a factory floor.
Within the Interactive Zone, students got to use “LivePortrait”, an app that transforms a still frame image to a short video clip describing “cool” companies in Connecticut within the Hartford Business Journal’s Cool Stuff Made In Connecticut publication. Another app-based activity, Smart Manufacturing, The Comic Book, let students produce a flying drone using the augmented reality app, depicting product design, retooling of a factory floor, and repairing a robot that unexpectedly shut down. In addition to the virtual and augmented reality apps, the Interactive Zone included a hands-on activity that simulates production on a factory floor and demonstrates the skills required to be successful. The goal is to build a model airplane using Lego K’Nex pieces. Students are assigned to “work cells” and learn to work collaboratively to manufacture the model plane.
VRSim, a leading virtual reality company headquartered in East Hartford that develops immersive simulations and interactive software, featured their painting activity called SimSpray, a virtual paint booth that allowed students to coat car doors. Additionally, Mazak provided a machine tool control simulator for the students and Quast Media provided a 360-degree Virtual Reality Tour of The Lee Company through V/R glasses that were given to the students.
“In conjunction with the leading-edge technology work that CCAT is advancing in the areas of additive manufacturing, composites, non-contact inspection and hybrid manufacturing, CCAT’s technical experts are providing incumbent worker training to ensure supply chain adoption and championing novel approaches to introduce STEM awareness to the next generation workforce. At this crucial time in Connecticut’s rich industrial history, CCAT’s partnership with ACM is critical in reaching this manufacturing workforce while continuing our efforts to grow the advanced manufacturing industrial base and adopt the leading-edge technologies to maintain Connecticut’s dominance as the world’s premier aerospace leader,” said Ron Angelo, CCAT’s President & CEO. “Connecticut. Dream It. Do It. is projected to reach over 20,000 students this year alone and we’re thrilled to continue to spread the word of the rewarding career opportunities that await them at the ACM Future Workforce Opportunities Fair.”