Harrodsburg urges Corning careers to high school seniors | Community Service | Sustainability

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Harrodsburg Urges Corning Careers to High School Seniors

Harrodsburg Encourages Corning Careers

Plant employees made a strong career sales pitch to about 100 high school seniors last month during a tour of the Corning® Gorilla® Glass manufacturing process. The goal: educate students about the great opportunities available in a world-class company like Corning.

"We lose so many of our young people because they move away to find jobs, or go to college and never come back," said BJ, a plant organizer of the student visit and a human resources organizational specialist in Harrodsburg. "We want the seniors to understand that we offer a competitive salary and interesting and challenging careers."

More than 200 seniors from Mercer County High School and Burgin Independent School participated on Sept. 19 in Senior Industry Day, which was organized by the Harrodsburg/Mercer County Industrial Development Authority to show the students the range of career possibilities locally.  Corning, three other manufacturing companies, a hospital, and a utility company participated. Each student toured two of the six facilities.

"The Senior Industry Day program started in 2016 and we hope it continues for years to come," said Plant Manager Amy Porter. "It is a terrific opportunity for Corning to educate students about how a high-tech manufacturing facility operates and the job opportunities available. Employees, students, and teachers seemed to benefit from the day, and there has been a lot of positive feedback. It is also a great example of local companies working together to support the communities we live in."

About 10 Corning employees volunteered to lead morning and afternoon tours for a total of about 50 students in each session, said Denise, training and education coordinator, who organized the visit with BJ.

Before the 45-minute tours, BJ and Denise presented an introduction about Corning, talking with students about what Corning produces and the skills required to perform different careers in Harrodsburg and throughout the company. The presentation also included segments on the history of Corning, interview skills, and why Corning is a great place to work.

"Most of the students think manufacturing still involves grime and old machines, but we showed them how clean and highly technical our production process is," BJ said. "The students were intrigued when they saw how much we use robotics."

BJ and Denise also talked about what it takes to get a job and keep a job at Corning, as well as personal budgeting and soft skills such as communication and attendance.

"We gave them real-life examples," Denise said. "They get a check, and they're happy to be making money, but they have to remember there are taxes and insurance, so they have to learn to budget."

Attendance is also a critical factor, BJ said. "Most schools are generous in what they let the students miss before it becomes an issue. We explained to them that we don't accept notes from their parents. They are expected to be at work every day."

The students were broken into groups of 10 or less for the tours, which took students in every step of the production process from the labs to the warehouse for shipping. Two employees escorted each tour group.


Emily, a Corning employee, was a tour guide for the first time.

"The students were engaged during the tour, asking fundamental engineering questions," she said. "This showed that the local schools are capable of preparing students for STEM-related fields, an important aspect for the millennium generation."

After the tours, the guides told the students about their educational and professional experiences and answered questions. "We talked about their career plans and options and provided advice," Emily said. "I think it was helpful and educational."

The students' visit sends a valuable message to the community, she said.

"It demonstrates that innovation and growth in Corning persisted over the last 65 years in Harrodsburg, and we hope it will continue for another 65 years," she said. "Corning needs technically enthusiastic people to drive success in the future."