Convertech President Larry Taitel, who was recently invited to join the board of advisors for Eastwick College and the Hohokus Schools, delivered the keynote speech to the board. He emphasized the importance of increasing hands-on class time hours and manual machining basics for the school’s curriculum; of increasing the number of opportunities that students have in New Jersey for early manufacturing classroom experiences; and for the vital need for traditional four-year machinist apprenticeships that begin at the high school level.
Taitel’s company, which has manufactured products for the printing, labeling and packaging industry for nearly four decades, has hired a number of Eastwick graduates. “The basic skills these students acquired made all the difference in our hiring decisions,” he said. “It’s obvious how much they learned at Eastwick. But we’d like to see Eastwick offer even longer and programs. We believe the State has done a great disservice to young students by not even proposing machining as an option. Guidance counselors don’t even mention machining as a possibility and far too many schools have dropped their metal shops and votech programs. We see the results: It has hurt manufacturers and hurt students who, when they are not academically inclined, end up in service jobs, flipping burgers and stocking shelves, instead of acquiring skills that can serve them for life, and careers with few layoffs. It’s time to change that.”
Taitel is currently reaching out to NJ State elected officials to seek their support in bringing manufacturing curriculum back to public schools, and he urges his fellow manufacturers in New Jersey and throughout the country to do the same. “There are more than 10,000 manufacturers in the State of New Jersey alone who have been hurt by our schools dropping metal shop,” he said. “If a fraction of them would come forward and contact their elected officials, this would make a huge impact.”