Students Earn Top Honors at Project MFG Competition
Students and faculty from our Metals Fabrication & Welding Technology and our Welding Technology programs, as well as our Director of Career Services and Director of Development visited the Philly Shipyard on October 12 for the PA Talent Pipeline Project Career Discovery Day and Project MFG Maritime Welding Competition. Team TSCT joined dozens of students from across the region to participate and compete in this annual event.
Prior to competing, students had exclusive opportunities to connect with 19 employers from a variety of industries as part of the Career Discovery Day portion of the event. They also had options to take a variety of tours while at the Philly Shipyard and learn more about careers in welding – our students participated in a tour of a ship that was being repaired and upgraded.
Students also heard from Rear Admiral Scott Pappano and Matt Sermon from the US Navy's PEO Columbia Submarine Program, as well as Adele Ratcliff, the Director of the Industrial Base Analysis & Sustainment Program within the Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Industrial Policy, about the value and importance of the skilled trades – now and in the future.
“As a second-year participant in the PA Talent Pipeline Project, having an intentional presence at this Career Discovery event allowed Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology representatives to network with high school career and technical education (CTE) programs across eastern Pennsylvania,” said Laurie Grove, Director of Career Services at TSCT. “Surrounded by companies that may hire our students upon graduation, we were able to not only talk with CTE instructors and their students to share information about our programs, but also show career pathways into the industry. The majority of students in attendance already had at least a base-line knowledge of advanced manufacturing, which made our conversations that much richer.”
The competition portion of this event was designed to demonstrate and inspire a movement to restore America's industrial base by attracting new talent to skilled trades. In this challenge, competitors had a 2-hour time frame to complete their project, which was to use GMAW and/or FCAW processes to fabricate a carbon steel pressure vessel. Carbon steel materials, as well as prints and Welding Procedure Specifications, were provided to all competitors.
What skills were tested during this competition? Real-time problem solving, appropriate application of welding techniques and principals, time management, proper task identification and prioritization, and the ability to read and understand blueprints.
Students raced against the clock to complete the challenge. Once the competition ended, representatives evaluated each vessel and awarded points based on the students’ performance against the project requirements – this included weld size, placement, and appearance, as well as how each vessel did during pressure tests, as each submarine was pressurized with air and submerged in a small tank to check for leaks.
The top student welders were recognized during an awards ceremony - TSCT students earned first, second, and third place in the technical college and programs division:
- First place: Alex Cahoone
- Second place: Matthew Mykut
- Third place: Anthony Laterza
“TSCT students were able to see and hear how their trade skills are essential in constructing and maintaining Naval equipment that the United States depends on,” said Jim Stewart, an instructor in the Metals Fabrication and Welding Technology program. “Winning this competition - two years in a row - demonstrates the high-value education students receive here at TSCT."
Alex was also the overall winner of this competition. Alex's score will be ranked against the winners of Project MFG’s upcoming Pittsburgh Welding Competition and Newport News Welding Competition for the chance at a grand prize.
Good luck, Alex, and congratulations to all of our students who participated in this event – we’re proud of you!