Acme Wire Products’ Michael Planeta explains to visiting high school students how the company manufactures products.
A second-generation family business specializing in custom formed and welded-wire components, Connecticutbased Acme Wire Products Co. supports the local business and manufacturing communities. Below, President Mary Fitzgerald explains how the Mystic company—run by her and siblings Edward Planeta, Jr., and Michael Planeta— goes beyond financial contributions.
Acme Wire Products has long provided donations to local organizations that provide shelter, food, childcare and literacy support to New London county residents. We help causes from The Riverfront Children’s Center in Groton to the Noank Community Support Services (NCSS) in Noank.
Beyond those efforts, we support local initiatives that encourage and advance manufacturing skills education including robotics, technical education, tooling and machining. We are active participants in local, state and national manufacturing groups to enhance skills training and manufacturing career awareness.
Earlier this year we had a “Manufacturing Month” that included a tour for students of Grasso Tech (a local technical high school). We also participated in a career/ college fair at a local school (Stonington High); a Manufacture Your Future event for high school students held at Quinebaug Valley Community College and the Fall Manufacturing & Health & Wellness Expo in Norwich, which included numerous manufacturers and healthcare and community organizations.
I make many presentations. My goal is to engage and inspire the next generation to learn about and pursue careers in manufacturing. I explain to students about the different jobs, what training/skills are required, and which jobs are in demand and high paying (tool & die makers, machinists, CNC programmers, maintenance/robotic technicians, etc.). I highlight apprenticeship opportunities and note that some employers (including us) have tuition-reimbursement programs for job specific classes and provide paid industry specific training as part of the job benefits.
When we are speaking with a tour group of students on site, we stress the importance of some attributes that matter both in school and work: be on time, be ready to work, be eager to learn, but also to listen and follow directions. These are all skills that employers require, not “request,” and individuals that have them will be successful.
Four of our 50 employees were featured in the Connecticut Center for Advanced Technology Inc. (CCAT) Maker Multiplier website promoting manufacturing career awareness in underserved communities. We have participated in Women in Manufacturing state events, hosted a local high school student for an internship and coordinated a welding merit badge workshop for local Boy Scouts. We also coordinated a video challenge that paired teams of high school students with local manufacturers in Eastern Connecticut to produce videos with themes such as “What’s So Cool About Manufacturing?” “Manufacturing: A Path to Success” and “A Day in the Life of Connecticut Manufacturing.”
All these activities take time, but they are worthwhile, which is why we continue to support them.
Manufacturers GIVING BACK
This is part 3 of Wire Journal International's first-ever feature presenting 16 manufacturers that have given back to their communities: hundreds others could just as easily have been here. Each entry has a unique story, yet the common thread is the people—of all ranks—who care about their companies as well as their communities. Big volunteer efforts deserve applause, but so do smaller ones as they all head in the same direction. In a time when there is seldom a lack of daunting news, one can take pride in the industry spirit.
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Looking for other parts of this feature series?
Hitachi Cable America (now Proterial Cable America), Viakable, Acme Wire Products, High-Performance Conductors (HPC), Kris-Tech, Allied Wire, Ulbrich Stainless Steels & Special Metals, Inc., Cerrowire, Belden, Fort Wayne Metals, Optimus Steel, Prysmian, Minnesota Wire, Southwire, Service Wire, Alloy Wire International
> Employer alert! Volunteers make for a better workforce.
> How can a small business start a ‘giving back’ program?