Bottom Line: Hypertherm, Fujifilm join forces for STEM program

  • John Lippman. Copyright (c) Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

Valley News Business Writer
Published: 11/30/2019 10:21:41 PM

The kids are all right: Hypertherm and Fujifilm, Lebanon’s two leading manufacturers, have teamed up again on their joint internship-and-study program that combines hands-on experience and classroom learning for high school students interested in careers in advanced manufacturing.

The program, called STEM Internship: High Tech Manufacturing and Engineering has entered its second year with eight students apiece from Lebanon High School and Thetford Academy, reported Chris Hamilton, STEM program academic coordinator at Fujifilm.

Students spend 12½ hours per week over two eight-week sessions at each company and are exposed to critical blocks in the manufacturing process, including engineering, assembly, marketing, accounting and customer support. In addition, students are coached on interview skills and resume writing.

And it being high school, there’s classroom study and homework assignments, too. Fujifilm’s block is slightly geared to the business side, while Hypertherm’s block puts the students through math calisthenics such as trigonometry and statistical analysis.

“It’s pretty intense,” Hamilton said.

Tweaks to the program this year include adding an extra half-hour per day of on-site time (“We weren’t having enough time to finish before,” Hamilton explained.) and introducing Google Classroom as the learning management system.

Students also will get more projects involving prototyping parts on a 3D printer because, well, who wouldn’t want to spend more time with a machine like that?

Hamilton said the aim of the STEM Internship is to expose students to the good jobs and careers that await them in the advanced manufacturing economy, whether they choose to study science and engineering in college or even enter the workforce right out of high school — one Thetford Academy senior walked into a full-time job at Hypertherm after she graduated last summer.

“We’re kind of planting a seed,” he said.

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