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Students get close look at high-tech plastics industry

Junior Achievement of Greater Reading and Lehigh Valley has partnered with Quadrant

Engineering Plastic Products, 2120 Fairmont Ave. in Reading, to provide career pathways and professional mentoring for students using Junior Achievement’s world-renowned Job Shadow curriculum and model.

About 20 students spent three hours at the Quadrant plant, in Reading, on Tuesday, July 26.

They heard an overview of the plant and the industry, and spent time in smaller groups learning from employees about human resources, finance, sales, technical support, operations and research and development.

These experiences are targeted to Reading High School Students participating in Reading Area Community College’s Upward Bound program.

Students were immersed in a day of learning that emphasizes industry-specific and general business careers being created in the Greater Reading economy.

“Quadrant as an organization feels strongly that building a vibrant community can only happen when the public and private sector work together to achieve success,” said Quadrant CEO Glen T. Steady.

“Our employees give generously, and through actions like today — partnering with Junior Achievement and Reading Area Community College — we demonstrate our dedication to Greater Reading.

“The chance to share the building blocks for a productive career can help to inspire our young people and communicate the great employment opportunities that exist in their community. We encourage them to participate in these programs and we’re proud to show off the dedication of our Reading team — and that of people just like them in other communities around the U.S.”

Junior Achievement’s Job Shadow experiences strengthen the links between student classrooms and the careers being created by the growth sectors in Greater Reading’s economy.

Each experience is based on Junior Achievement’s award-winning model and curriculum, which has produced impressive outcomes for students’ attitudes about high school graduation and career planning across the U.S.:

* 90% of students felt that the experience made them more aware of career options.
* 98% percent of students agreed that doing well in school will help them achieve their career goals.
* 99% percent of students who participated in the program felt that it was important to graduate from high school.
* 93% percent of students felt that their ability to set goals had improved as a result of participating in Job Shadow.

“Through partnerships with the region’s business leaders, like Quadrant, Junior Achievement offers students innovative experiences that extend their learning beyond the classroom, and make real connections to the careers being created by the successes of our regional economy,” said Ernest Perry, president and CEO of Junior Achievement.

“The success of our economy depends on collaborative solutions that ensure every student has opportunities to identify the pathways and access the resources that link their personal and career goals to the growth of our communities.”

Reading Area Community College’s Upward Bound Program prepares first generation college bound students with academic enrichment, college planning, academic placement test preparation, and financial aid counseling in their 9th-12th-grade years.

The program also includes early career exposure and internship components, which are being addressed using Junior Achievement’s classroom-based, and Job Shadow experiences.

“The RACC Upward Bound Program has partnered with Junior Achievement during the Summer 2011 program to provide career awareness and a job shadowing opportunity for students in grades 9 through 12, said Joyce Ballaban, Reading Area Community College’s Upward Bound director.

“The RACC Upward Bound Summer Program provides high school students with academic coursework in math, English, science, Latin and reading.

“Additional classes are offered in study skills and career awareness, where students have the opportunity to learn how classroom work is connected to the real world of employment. While the students in upper grades have the opportunity to participate in internship opportunities in the Reading area, the ninth grade students begin their experience by job shadowing. This year, students will have a job shadow experience at Quadrant.”

About Junior Achievement

Junior Achievement is the world’s largest organization dedicated to addressing the needs of today’s economy through innovative, project- based learning experiences for K12 students. It has been a vital link for the young people, business leaders, and communities of Berks, Lehigh, and Northampton Counties for more than 50 years; providing more than 100,000 students with professional mentoring and work readiness, entrepreneurship, and financial literacy education since its founding.

About Quadrant

Quadrant Engineering Plastic Products is the world’s largest manufacturer of advanced machinable plastics for critical applications.

Quadrant’s materials range from UHMW polyethylene, nylon (PA) and acetal (POM) to ultra-high performance polymers that resist temperatures to over 800 degrees.

The company’s products are used for machined parts in food processing and packaging, semiconductor manufacturing, aerospace, electronics, chemical processing, life sciences, power generation and diverse industrial equipment.

Quadrant EPP’s products are supported by a global team of application development and technical service engineers with full support in evaluating designs and machining techniques.

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