PHARR – In celebration of Manufacturing Day 2018, over a hundred Pharr-San Juan-Alamo ISD (PSJA ISD) sophomores and juniors attended a special event and went on industry tours to several local manufacturing companies on Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2018.

The event was possible thanks to a collaboration with PSJA ISD, Pharr Economic Development Corporation (Pharr EDC), South Texas Manufacturing Association (STMA), and South Texas College to expose students to the life and business of manufacturing in South Texas. The event kicked off with a presentation at the Pharr Research & Development Center where several industry leaders spoke to the students.

Speakers included Pharr EDC Executive Director and PSJA School Board Member Victor Perez; STC Associate Dean of Advanced Manufacturing Dr. Esmeralda Adame; Executive Director of the Rio South Texas Economic Council Matt Ruszczak; and STMA Executive Director Mike Willis.

“Manufacturing is a field where you get to make things that change the world,” Matt Z. Rusczcak told students during his presentation as Keynote Speaker.

As part of the event, PSJA ISD students also got an overview of the STC Dual Enrollment Program and received information about the college's Advanced Manufacturing Technology program. In addition, students got to witness the manufacturing industry first-hand by taking part in several Industry Tours. Sites visited included: Bravo Concealment, Humanetics, GE Aviation, Windsor Mold, and the South Texas College Technology Campus, to name a few.

For Sebastian Rivera, a senior at PSJA Southwest Early College High School, hearing from the speakers and taking part in the Industry Tours was eye-opening.

“Overall, today was very insightful,” said Rivera who plans to graduate with an Associate Degree in Mathematics from South Texas College in May 2019 and got to tour Bravo Concealment in Alamo. “It was valuable to participate in the tours because I got to see how everything is made and learn about the industry.”

Currently, through a partnership with South Texas College, PSJA’s Career & Technical Education Program provides comprehensive instruction that aligns post-secondary education with curriculum pathways, which includes the district's current Automotive Technology, Precision Manufacturing, and Welding Programs, to name a few.