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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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Faces of Manufacturing

Faces of Manufacturing: Philip Minniti, Brainard Rivet

Philip Minniti started at employee-owned, Girard-based manufacturer Brainard Rivet in 2015 and has parlayed his time there into an upward-trajectory career and a college degree.

“I started out running the cleaning department and then bounced around to packing, billing, and settled into the shipping manager position,” Philip said.

phillip minniti
Brainard Rivet shipping manager Philip Minniti followed in his family’s footsteps into the manufacturing industry and is leveraging the career path to complete his degree at YSU. He hopes to stay at Brainard Rivet and go “as far as they’ll let me go here.”

A 2011 high school graduate, Philip, like many of his peers went straight to college where he began pursuing a degree in Business Administration. To avoid taking out student loans, he took a part-time job with UPS that ended up being a heavier workload than anticipated. That, coupled with an orthopedic injury that led to a physical rehab schedule that conflicted too much with classes, led to Philip’s withdrawal from college.

Family ties lead to Brainard Rivet

After leaving school, Philip was searching for a full-time position when he came across an opening at Brainard Rivet. After speaking with his uncles, one a current Brainard employee and one a former employee, as well as his grandfather, a Brainard retiree, he decided to go for it.

Six years later, Philip has settled into a position as shipping manager and, thanks to Brainard’s educational assistance program, is back in college at Youngstown State University resuming his studies. His day-to-day tasks include scheduling each department to ensure shipments are being filled and going out on time, helping the sales team meet quotas, and assisting anywhere he is needed.

“When you have someone with a strong work ethic like Phil you can train them in different areas and see were the best fit for them is, and that’s what we did. We tried him in a few positions and landed on shipping manager,” said Chris Morrison, plant manager.

A bright future in manufacturing

Chris said he and the staff at Brainard allow adjustments for Philip’s school schedule, adding that what Philip is doing is incredibly difficult, but not impossible. Philip hopes others who see his story will consider manufacturing as a career option.

Outside of Brainard and YSU, Philip enjoys a steady schedule of recreational sports and fantasy football. As for where Phil hopes to be after graduation, “I’m looking to go as far as they’ll let me go here. I’m always willing to learn anything and everything.”

Brainard Rivet is a world-class, cold-headed manufacturer of rivets and fasteners for the agriculture, distributor, energy, furniture, healthcare, mining, railroad, transportation and general metalworking industries. It began operations in 1916 and became employee-owned and operated in 1998.

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Faces of Manufacturing

Faces of Manufacturing: David Dellick, General Extrusions

Press operator David Dellick has been with family-owned aluminum extruder, General Extrusions of Boardman for more than 6 years. After getting his start in manufacturing at a local lamination factory, David started at General Extrusions as a helper on afternoons.

As a testament to the opportunity for quick advancement at General Extrusions, David began working his way up within the company.

He moved to a press operator on midnights where he followed his personal philosophy, “Be better than the person you were yesterday.”

David Dellick
Youngstown-area native David Dellick has found a home in manufacturing at General Extrusions, providing a solid living, excellent benefits and flexibility to be a great parent.

Following that driving force, and enabled by a series of retirements creating the openings that allowed him to work his way up the seniority ladder, David became a supervisor on midnights. To most, this would seem a quick and impressive career trajectory, but to David, it’s remarkably unremarkable.

“Just show up, work hard, and show initiative to learn, retain the knowledge, and better yourself,” he said matter-of-factly.

Work-Life Balance

As a husband and father with three young children, David’s home life required a move to day shift, a move that his employer accommodated.

“I was going to sleep as soon as I got off work, getting up at 2 o’clock and going to pick up the kids from school and daycare only to leave for work as soon as my wife got home,” David said.

Modernized Manufacturing

The three-shift union shop at General Extrusions has been in business for more than 60 years and as manufacturing in the Mahoning Valley continues to grow, they are looking toward the future. David explained this is not the manufacturing of the past.

exterior building shot General Extrusions
General Extrusions is among many Mahoning Valley manufacturers who are currently hiring. Visit workadvanceohpenn.org for details.

“You can wear decent clothes to work and go home mostly clean,” he laughed.

David cited some of the obvious benefits of the job such as full-time employment with competitive wages, yearly raises, overtime and opportunity for advancement, 401K, healthcare, dental, vision, and paid vacation. He also highlighted some less obvious job perks.

At General Extrusions, David has made what he calls “life-long friends” and been able to maintain a successful work-life balance allowing him to build his life as he makes a living.

Now Hiring

General Extrusions is now searching for up to 12 production workers. Hourly wages start at $12.28 and increase to $14.49 after 60 days. Interested candidates should visit www.workadvanceohpenn.org and register for an information session to learn more about the openings.