Students from Canyon High School and Memorial Early College High School toured Continental and Detex to celebrate Manufacturing Student Day on Oct. 5 in New Braunfels.

Twenty robotics and engineering students observed the manufacturing process in action alongside their career and technical education teachers. The tours were coordinated by the New Braunfels Chamber of Commerce and the New Braunfels Manufacturing Association, according to district information.

The framework

“While students spend a significant amount of time in the classroom studying various concepts, they sometimes fail to grasp the greater implications of the lessons they are learning,” said Mason Cardiff, robotics and CTE teacher at MECHS. “By visiting companies like Continental and Detex, they have the opportunity to witness the full manifestation of the various concepts they are learning—not only in regards to robotics, but soft skills like teamwork, collaboration, time management and more.”

Robotics and CTE teacher Bobby Harms from CHS also accompanied students on the tour and said the experience gave students a first-hand look at their potential future careers.

“Tours like this give students more motivation to learn. It is easier to work towards something or set a goal if you know what the end goal looks like,” Harms said. “They get to experience what a real job looks like and see what a professional work environment feels like. There are many opportunities for students leaving high school to immediately start a career.”

The backstory

Continental produces products for Advanced Driver Assistance Systems, which serve as the foundation for assisted and automated driving. Students were able to see a firsthand look at production, collaborative robots and total productive maintenance areas in its 215,000-square-foot manufacturing facility. Students were also able to ask questions to a panel of Continental employees, according to district information.

Detex is a manufacturing company that produces safety and security products, including door hardware, loss prevention and architectural hardware, integrated door security systems, and guard tour verification. Business representatives provided students with a tour of their facility and showed them what a career could possibly look like in the industry, according to district information.

“Witnessing this myself furthered my own conviction to continue to provide students with challenges and problems that do not have clear solutions, forcing them to engage in collaborative working groups to develop a functional solution,” Cardiff said. “Additionally, it is a reminder of the importance of getting industry partners in the classroom to further the students’ knowledge.”