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Rayonier Advanced Materials : Students participate in Manufacturing Day

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10/13/2017 | 04:42 am

Rayonier Advanced Materials celebrated Manufacturing Day on Oct. 6 with local students and elected officials participating in an open house at the company's Fernandina Beach plant. Visitors took part in presentations on RYAM's operations, a "Look Around the Mill" tour and interactive "Learning Labs" about modern manufacturing with experts and engineers.

"It's a joy to open our doors, invite local students to learn about modern manufacturing and discuss the exciting careers available in today's industry," said C.A. McDonald, the facility's general manager. "Manufacturing Day is the perfect opportunity to bring our company and community leaders together with local youth. We hope the visit inspires some to pursue careers in manufacturing themselves."

Manufacturing Day is part of a nationwide effort organized by the National Association of Manufacturers to inspire the next generation of manufacturing leaders. Students from Fernandina Beach and Yulee middle schools were in attendance. They were joined by Florida Senator Aaron Bean, R-Fernandina Beach, and Florida Representative Cord Byrd, R-Jacksonville. Representatives from the offices of Congressman John Rutherford and Senator Bill Nelson also joined, along with representatives from Florida Makes, First Coast Manufacturers and the Nassau County Economic Development Board.

"It's wonderful to see manufacturers like Rayonier Advanced Materials reach out to our local schools in this way," Bean said. "As a Fernandina Beach native, I know how important this facility's operations are to local families – both as a community partner and employer."

"This is a unique addition to our community's existing S.T.E.M. programming," said Nassau County School Superintendent, Dr. Kathy Burns. "As we prepare students to consider careers in engineering, manufacturing and science, it's wonderful to have this resource in our backyard. The team at Rayonier Advanced Materials did a remarkable job of sharing the operational ‘nuts and bolts' with our students, particularly through the interactive ‘Learning Labs' led by their in-house experts."

The "Learning Labs" covered a variety of topics, from cellulose end-products – like tires, filters and LCD screens – to pulping operations. Teachers will receive a printed toolkit complete with lesson plans and activities to further expand their students' knowledge of manufacturing and its many career opportunities. The toolkit can be found online at bit.ly/2xAfJuw.

"Manufacturers have a shortage on their hands," said Lake Ray, executive director of First Coast Manufacturers. "It's harder than ever to find talented workers. That's why it's so important for us to reach out to students at this age, excite them about the types of jobs out there and teach them about the skills needed to excel in manufacturing."

For more information about Manufacturing Day, visit bit.ly/2wNWe25.

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