PORTAGE | Paul Bui explained solar inverters to a group of Portage High School freshmen Thursday afternoon.
They'd stopped at the Fronius booth at the first PHS Manufacturing and Career Day, sponsored by the Portage Economic Development Corp.
Bui could have been the poster boy for what the day was all about. A 2013 Valparaiso High School graduate, Bui landed a job with Fronius and is being trained as an installer and field engineer for the company. He's headed to Austria for additional training and, eventually, will represent the company on the East Coast.
"It just shows you can go into something you honestly love," said Bui. "I think there is a future for all of us."
The day, said PEDCO executive director Jim Fitzer, had several purposes. Some 40 Portage-based manufacturers, educational and health care providers set up in the school's fieldhouse. Students and, later the public, toured the booths.
"They are talking about not only the great things they manufacture, but the career opportunities," said Fitzer, adding they wanted students to know there are good-paying jobs in their backyards. They also wanted students to know that not all the jobs require a four-year college degree.
And, said Fitzer, they hoped the manufacturer representatives let students know what they expect of future employees.
"It is part of our philosophy to be a good corporate citizen," said Jeff Bell, human resources manager of Wothington Steel. "We want the kids to know there are all kinds of jobs available in Porter County."
"We felt this was a really good idea. It is great that kids see what things are out there in their own community," said Scott Ton, general manager of Flowserve.