A Middlefield company’s success is having an impact far beyond the factory floors. 

Wepco Plastics awarded the Connecticut River Academy at Goodwin University a $5,000 grant to help with the school’s environmental science and advanced manufacturing program.

Wepco Plastics president David Parmelee with Goodwin University's Michelle Strawder and Clifford Thermer.

After Wepco Plastics received the Tooling Trailblazer of the Year Award at the 2021 American Mold Builder’s Association Conference for community impact, they learned it came with a sum of money for a local school. 

The American Mold Builder’s Association and Progressive Components helped fund the grant. 

“One of the things we pride ourselves on here at Wepco Plastics is engaging with educational institutions, whether that is elementary, middle schools, high schools, community colleges, universities, or organizations that support those institutions,” said chief financial officer Charles Daniels.

Competition

Daniels said they are fortunate to work with so many different schools and organizations. When it came to deciding who to give the money to, they decided to host a competition. 

Schools submitted plans to Wepco Plastics for projects they were interested in pursuing, but could not support due to lack of funding. 

A third-party board reviewed the applications, awarding the largest $5,000 prize to the Connecticut River Academy. 

Western New England University and Suffield Middle School each received $250 for placing second and third in the competition. 

“Advanced manufacturing is the future of America and how we’re going to keep things going in the right direction,” said Progressive Components president Glenn Starkey. 

Sustainability Project

The Connecticut River Academy plans to purchase two Precious Plastics machines that will shred recycled local plastic waste and allow students to create new projects from the waste. 

It was an idea assistant superintendent of pathways at Goodwin College, Matt Dadona, helped implement. 

Students will focus on sustainability, collecting plastic waste from their communities, and then put their advanced engineering and entrepreneurial skills to the test when designing what they want to create from the plastics. 

Students will then sell their items at school for various fundraisers. 

“They’ll learn about plastics and the entrepreneurial side too,” said Dadona. 

Dadona said he is thankful to Wepco Plastics and the relationship they have with the community. 

Wepco Plastics participates in collaborates with the National Fund for Workforce Solutions, volunteers on local manufacturing board groups, and helps fund pre-apprenticeship programs in Connecticut. 

Filed Under: Grants, Manufacturing, Sustainability, Workforce

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