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Member Manufacturers

Beatitude House teens tour Brilex to learn about manufacturing job opportunities

While Brilex Industries works to design and build specialized heavy equipment for customers around the world, the local advanced manufacturer also likes to spark interest in manufacturing careers.

 

That was the case when 13 teens from the Beatitude House toured their facility.

Brilex worker shows kids the equipment
Brilex machine shop manager Jason Jones explains what he does to a group of kids from Beatitude House, hoping to spark their interest in a future career in manufacturing.

The nonprofit reached out to Mahoning Valley Manufacturing Coalition to set up a series of tours of trade and manufacturing facilities as part of its summer program for juveniles.

 

Through education and safe living, the Beatitude House helps disadvantaged women and children.

 

MVMC is a network of valley manufacturers who work together to create a skilled workforce by a number of ways, including raising awareness of different types of work in manufacturing, which can lead to higher wages. Skills are also assessed for employees, both current and future.

 

Brilex opened its doors to give the teens, between the seventh and 12th grades, a glimpse at what it means to work in a manufacturing position.

 

Opening their eyes to today’s manufacturing jobs

 

“So many young folks, and their parents, have a misconception that manufacturing is dark and dirty work,” Brilex plant manager Ryan Engelhardt, said. “Through tours, youths can see different aspects of work done in the field, and in this case, Brilex.”

 

group shot from Beatitude House kids
Tours like the one Brilex hosted with Beatitude House enables teens to see the possibilities that exist with careers in advanced manufacturing.

Speaking on a local level, tours allow for young people to see various types of work done here in the Mahoning Valley, said Katie Denno, marketing manager for Brilex.

 

As manufacturers hold tours, more interest is generated in the field, Engelhardt said. That in turn creates a “potential pool” of people who are likely to look into the field when they are ready for employment.

 

Partnering with MVMC, Jennifer Battaglia, child wellness coordinator for The Beatitude House, said the Brilex tour showed the kids different employees, ranging from welders to machinists to engineers, work together in the same building.

 

The summer program works to show the kids that college doesn’t have to be the only option they have after graduating high school.

 

“It was important to us that they were able to experience what it could like to go to a trade school, and the jobs they would be doing in manufacturing if they choose that path,” Battaglia said.

 

Tours were also held at Youngstown State University and Eastern Gateway Community College, which will lead to conversations with the teens throughout the school year about what they would like to pursue, Battaglia said.

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Faces of Manufacturing

Faces of Manufacturing – Sugeily Melendez

Sugeily Melendez is a mom by day and packer at a Mahoning Valley aluminum extrusion company by night. She has worked at Pennex Aluminum in Leetonia for just under two years and is already climbing the “aluminum ladder.”

Her career with Pennex began as a forklift operator. She has since moved to her current position as packer and is in training to become a loader. Part of her drive to keep moving forward comes from her desire to dispel stereotypes of what women “can’t do.”

melendez at Pennex
Sugeily Melendez of Youngstown is a single mother who found a rewarding career in manufacturing that offers the flexibility and clean environment she was looking for.

“I feel I’m more competitive than some of the men and I’m always trying to set goals to surpass my trainers and move past stereotypes of what women can’t do. Anyone can be successful here when they show up with a good attitude and the willingness to learn something new,” she said.

Single mom derives motivation from her kids

Her primary motivation, however, comes from her children. Melendez is a single mother of three. She loves the overnight shift because it allows her the flexibility to maintain a successful work-life balance.

“Third shift is perfect for me as a single parent. I spend time with my kids and get them ready for bed at their grandma’s or their dad’s before I head to work and then I’m home in the morning to get them ready for school. While they’re in school, I nap and then we do it all over again,” said Melendez.

Family is a part of the core values at Pennex, she described.

“The atmosphere here is like one big family. They’re also very flexible when it comes to sick kids and doctor appointments,” she added.

melendez working
In less than 2 years, Melendez has already advanced multiple times at Pennex, currently working in the shipping department on the 3rd shift.

In addition to schedule flexibility and a welcoming workforce, Melendez, of Youngstown, said Pennex Aluminum also offers a safe and clean work environment.

“I just came off of a 10-hour shift and I’m still clean. I can rock my nails and I’ve never broken one. This is not a dirty, dusty place. It is a clean and healthy place to work,” said Melendez.

Pennex Aluminum is a member of Mahoning Valley Manufacturers Coalition.

Pennex and many other local manufacturers are currently looking for dedicated individuals to join their teams. On-the-job training is available and no experience is required. Interested applicants for Pennex can explore openings here.

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Media Coverage

Business Journal Showcases Pennex in Brain Gain Navigators Segment

Pennex Aluminum is the latest MVMC member to be featured in a Business Journal Brain Gain Navigators segment. The live Q&A with area high school students took place May 5.

Navigators screen grab
Pennex Aluminum of Leetonia was featured May 5, 2021 in a Brain Gain Navigators segment. Jera Daye, recruiting specialist, provided a detailed look at the various career path options available.

Click here for a replay of the entire segment and a quick 2-minute video from Pennex’s Leetonia, Ohio operations.

Mahoning Valley Manufacturers Coalition is among the title sponsors of Business Journal Brain Gain, a year-long forum for showcasing the various career opportunities available to young people in the Mahoning Valley.