Youngstown East one of three high schools in country to pilot 3D printing program

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Youngstown East is one of only three high schools in the country selected to be part of a pilot program to teach students advanced manufacturing — because manufacturing no longer means large buildings with assembly lines. Advanced manufacturing means learning about robots and 3D printing.

CEO Krish Mohip and teacher Jim Alexi explained the benefits of the IGNITE Mastering Manufacturing program Tuesday afternoon. The pilot program will start next month.

“It actually has PC controllers and a robot arm in it, and sorts parts and moves things around so the students will be able to program that,” Alexi said.

“They have 3D printers now that are printing houses,” Mohip said. “So the skills of actually building the houses are being sent to machines but somebody still needs to be able to program those.”

“It’s about learning how to use equipment for an application,” said Rob Gorham, executive director of America Makes.

America Makes, headquartered in downtown Youngstown, works to expand the use of 3D printing. The company will provide support to the East High program.

“We’ll be teaching these folks how to build some new mobility options. For example, unmanned aerial vehicles for transporting packages across town,” Gorham said.

Along with East, high schools in Michigan and Illinois — other regions historically involved in manufacturing — are also part of the pilot program.

The first class at East will have 18 students and next year, it will be open to anyone. The curriculum spans three years and eventually includes instruction in plastics, mold design and welding.

“A lot of people think life is easy without technology but, really, you need technology to do a lot of things nowadays so it’ll be pretty fun to work with,” said East High student Damico Jackson.

“Actually, I came from a school — St. Pat’s in Hubbard — and back then when I did eighth grade year, we had a 3D printer when it was first started,” Trinity Adams said. “I actually have some familiar things with that so, hopefully, we can get making bigger things, better things.”

Keep in mind, IGNITE Mastering Manufacturing is a pilot program for now but the plan is to expand it. Other high schools around Youngstown could be getting it someday, too.