Seguin Gazette: Manufacturers open doors for students - STEM tour showcases job opportunities offered locally

More than 60 area students explored some of the city’s manufacturing plants on Friday where they learned about the endless career opportunities available to them in their own backyard.

The students from Seguin ISD, Marion ISD and Navarro ISD were part of the Heavy Metal STEM Bus Tour, which was hosted by the Seguin Economic Development Corporation and Seguin Area Chamber of Commerce in honor of Manufacturing Day.

“Our Manufacturing Day initiative with the Heavy Metal STEM Tour provided so many great opportunities to show young people the endless possibilities of modern manufacturing. Thanks to our nine manufacturers, I’m confident we made an impact on our students today,” Seguin EDC business retention specialist Ashlynn Tovar-Read said. “The motive behind these tours is to plant the seed early about advanced manufacturing, technology and the skills needed to work in today’s manufacturing facilities.”

While on the event the students from three area districts had the opportunity to take tours of and learn about Niagara Bottling, Alamo Group, Minigrip, CMC Steel Texas, Ravegears, Cargill, Geronimo Alloys, Caterpillar and the Central States.

“I think it benefits the kids to get out and see the different opportunities that we do have in Guadalupe County and this area that they don’t know about,” Shelly Avalos, a career preparation teacher at Marion High School, said. “There’s a lot of manufacturing plants that a lot of kids are interested in, but they don’t know a lot about them.”

Avalo’s group made stops at Minigrip, Alamo Group and Niagara on Friday.

“It was great. I knew what Minigrip was, but I know a lot of my kids coming in had no idea they made the bags that were sold in Target or H-E-B,” she said. “I think just seeing the production and distribution side will make them understand when I talk about it in class.”

Marion High School sophomores Weston Koepp and Taylor Massiatte said they thought the tours were interesting.

“I learned a lot of stuff. I did know it takes a lot of work to make the ziplock bags. It’s pretty interesting,” Weston said. “Going to Alamo Group and seeing all the machines they use. It’s very advanced. We got to see how they get to put all of their stuff together.”

Massiatte added that he enjoyed learning the process of how the bags are made at Minigrip.

“It’s crazy how much work they actually put into each for such a small product,” he said.
“Just from small plastic bags, they can make a lot of money.”

After learning about the different companies, Weston said he could see himself working at one of them after graduation.

“I would definitely do it because I’ve always wanted to do engineering and just to see how they transfer to computers and into real life is cool to me,” Weston said.

Minigrip plant manager Brooklyn Streeter said they like showing the students the different opportunities available to them.

“We do enjoy being part of educating the students in the area on what we do here because it is such an integral part of Seguin,” she said. “… At that age, they really don’t know what’s out there or what they want. We want to show them that yes it’s a factory, but a factory requires finance people, accountants, human resources, engineers, production managers and supervisors. There’s more than just working on a carton line or a machine line. If you want to take an educational path there are still jobs that require that."