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Manufacturing Day Spotlight: Teens Get Hands On Learning

Updated Fri October 7, 2016


Bill Kane, a mechanical engineer in Palatka, Fla., mentors Palatka High School students through a real-world project at the mill.

How can five Putnam County teens move dozens of 10 ton motors with their minds? . . . Through a high school project that gave them incredible real-world experience before they even graduated.

Bill Kane, a mechanical engineer at Georgia-Pacific’s paper mill in Palatka, Fla., mentored these local students for several months to help them design and build a working steel monorail. Their challenge was figuring out a way to move the huge motors used for various machines at the mill – a project that’s projected to save Georgia-Pacific about $20,000 a year.

How did they do it? Through a smart collaboration that paired up Georgia-Pacific with a Palatka High School engineering teacher who is certified through a national STEM program called Project Lead the Way.

The project enabled these students – fresh from earning their driver’s licenses – to learn about mechanical, electrical and industrial engineering, all while gaining project management experience.

The hard work put in by these students, teachers and mentors brings to life the spirit of Manufacturing Day (Oct. 7) – a day to celebrate modern manufacturing so we can inspire the next generation of manufacturers!

Check out this video to see the completed project and hear from the students.


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