Students, educators supplement classroom time with first-hand learning about materials handling tech

ProMat 2017 Student Days welcomes students and faculty members from universities, community colleges, technical schools and high schools.

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Spanning two days this year, ProMat 2017 Student Days welcomes students and faculty members from universities, community colleges, technical schools and high schools. On Wednesday and Thursday, the various groups will participate in a series of programs related to supply chain, materials handling, logistics, engineering and industrial distribution.

The event was expanded with the addition of a second day of off-site facility tours during ProMat 2015. This gives students a chance to see real-world materials handling technology applications at different distribution facilities in the Chicago area. The umbrella event was christened “Student Days,” and now includes one Classroom Day at the show and a second day of facility tours.

Starting at 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday in McCormick Place’s South Hall, Room S103, students will convene for the 14th consecutive installment of Classroom Day. The event is sponsored by MHI’s College Industry Council on Material Handling Education (CICMHE) and Career & Technical Education (CTE) Program, in partnership with the Material Handling Education Foundation Inc. (MHEFI) and the Material Handling Equipment Distributors Association (MHEDA).

“The opportunity to spend time at the show offers students a better understanding of the latest industry developments,” said Angela Jenkins, show sponsor MHI’s director of career and technical education (CTE). “They get a chance to see the wide variety of solutions that support the flow of materials throughout the supply chain, all in one place.”

Classroom Day is so important to MHI’s Board of Governors, added Jenkins, they set aside travel grants to be awarded among attending schools on a first-come/first-served basis. “Because of these grants, more than 250 students and faculty are expected to participate,” she noted.

The students’ morning kicks off with breakfast and a brief overview. Then, from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., students and their instructors will split into groups to take a guided tour of the show floor. Industry experts at selected show booths will be on hand to discuss the materials handling industry, solutions, technologies and careers. These industry experts will have special signage, “Proud Supporter of Student Days,” displayed at their locations.

Students will then return to Room S103 for a private simulcast of keynote speaker Earvin “Magic” Johnson’s presentation, occurring from 1:00 to 2:00 p.m. in the McCormick Place South Grand Ballroom, Room S100. Johnson, a National Basketball Association (NBA) legend and successful businessman/entrepreneur, will also visit with the students in person at 2:00 p.m.
From 2:30 to 4 p.m., students and their instructors will be given additional time to explore the show floor added Jenkins. “With the expansion of ProMat across both North and South Halls of McCormick Place, we wanted to ensure that Classroom Day participants had ample time to explore the displays,” she said.

Classroom Day concludes with a Networking and Careers Reception, sponsored by Hänel Storage Systems, from 4 to 5 p.m. in Room S103D. This gives university, community college and high school students, faculty and industry leaders the opportunity to mingle, added Jenkins, who noted that Classroom Day exhibitors, tour guides, MHEFI Board Members and scholarship donors are also welcome to participate. “The reception is a chance for the workforce of the future to network with potential future employers,” she explained.

On Thursday, the Facility Tour Day portion of Student Days kicks off at 8 a.m., when students and their instructors check in and begin boarding buses departing from McCormick Place to see real world materials handling technology applications at one of three Chicago-area distribution facilities: Lawson Products, UPS Chicago Area Consolidation Hub (CACH) and Wirtz Beverage. These facilities all use state-of-the-art materials handling and supply chain technologies.

“We’re pleased to again be able to offer students and educators the chance to see our industry’s solutions in action,” Jenkins said. “It puts the technologies they’ve seen on the show floor into a real-world context.”

Upon returning from the tours, the CTE participants—specifically educators and administrators at high schools, community colleges, trade schools and correctional institutions—will engage in a special workshop from noon to 2 p.m. “This session allowing schools interested in the CTE program to network and learn about resources in the industry,” concluded Jenkins.

To learn more about ProMat Student Days program, visit promatshow.com/education/student-days.aspx


About the Author

Sara Pearson Specter
Sara Pearson Specter has written articles and supplements for Modern Materials Handling and Material Handling Product News as an Editor at Large since 2001. Specter has worked in the fields of graphic design, advertising, marketing, and public relations for nearly 20 years, with a special emphasis on helping business-to-business industrial and manufacturing companies. She owns her own marketing communications firm, Sara Specter, Marketing Mercenary LLC. Clients include companies in a diverse range of fields, including materials handing equipment, systems and packaging, professional and financial services, regional economic development and higher education. Specter graduated from Centre College in Danville, Ky. with a bachelor’s degree in French and history. She lives in Oregon’s Willamette Valley where she and her husband are in the process of establishing a vineyard and winery.

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