STEAM Grant to Connecticut River Academy

Wepco Plastics, Inc. Awards Trailblazer STEAM Grant to Connecticut River Academy

On October 28, 2021, Wepco Plastics, Inc. proudly presented Connecticut River Academy (CTRA) at Goodwin University with the Trailblazer STEAM Grant during their Manufacturing Day event in Middlefield, Connecticut. The grand award of $5,000 was sponsored by Progressive Components through a sponsorship with the American Mold Builders Association (AMBA). Wepco Plastics decided upon the recipient through a contest in which educational institutions and nonprofit organizations submitted applications detailing their respective needs for educational funding.

The goal of the Trailblazer STEAM Grant is to enable schools and educational non-profits to increase learning opportunities and exposure to STEAM-related skills and career paths. The grant was conceived after Wepco Plastics, Inc. was awarded the AMBA Tooling Trailblazer of the Year Award, established to honor AMBA member accomplishments that have resulted in a notable impact in education. Wepco Plastics was recognized for its efforts in workforce development, apprenticeships, and exposing the next generation to manufacturing and STEAM-related career paths.

The funds will support a program at CTRA to purchase two or three machines from the Precious Plastics network, an open source of knowledge and equipment, to begin a project aimed at recycling local plastics. Students will observe demonstrations on how they can implement a program to combat the earth’s plastic waste problem, which speaks to CTRA’s environment sustainability theme. They will be able to transform plastic waste into new products — collecting recycling from their own homes or setting up collection centers, and then creating products and filament. Ultimately students will produce new products that they can use within the school’s manufacturing program such as filament and other products that they can use to launch their own businesses. This will create an opportunity to teach entrepreneurship and finance.

Whether through participating in collaboratives with the National Fund for Workforce Solutions collaboratives, volunteering on local manufacturing group boards, helping to found pre-apprenticeship programs in local schools or engaging with local students in the state of Connecticut, becoming spokespeople for manufacturing and quality jobs has become a part of Wepco’s daily culture.