Greensboro, N.C.-based Core Technology Molding Corp. is hosting STEM camps for middle-school children with a wide look at what it takes to produce injection molded parts for the pharmaceutical and automotive markets.
Called Molding Kids for Success, the weeklong camp presents some unique STEM subjects for fifth- through eighth-graders, including materials, additives, 3D printing, clean room molding, supply chain management and technical writing. The heady topics are presented in fun, hands-on ways using bouncing polyurethane balls, nylon string and polyethylene golf tees with recycled content from the mesh fencing of a Dow Inc. charity golf event.
The goal is to introduce students to the plastics industry at young ages — in this case, 11- to 14-year-olds — so manufacturing will be among their early career considerations, according to Core Technology CEO and President Geoff Foster.
Founded in 2006 by Foster, Core Technology specializes in close-tolerance optical and precision parts for medical diagnostics, pharmaceuticals, automotive interiors, heavy trucks and more.
Sales were up 300 percent in 2021 compared with the previous year, with continued growth related to demand for vaccine components like plunger rods and new growth related to parts orders for Volvo sedans and SUVs and Mack trucks.
"Business is unbelievable right now," Foster said in a phone interview. "We saw 300 percent growth last year. We doubled our capacity. We built a second clean room."
Core Technology also plans to add 10 employees to the current workforce of 40 by the end of the year. Strengthening the talent pipeline is important to the company and state.
The first students to attend the MKFS camps are from low-income neighborhoods of Greensboro. The city of 299,000 — the state's third largest — has been attracting new business like Toyota's $1.3 billion battery plant. But an estimated 18.5 percent of residents live at or below the poverty line.
Core Technology's campers get laptops to use for the week, instruction from industry experts including Dow and catered lunches, this summer courtesy of resin supplier Chase Plastic Services Inc.
"We're reaching out to touch the underrepresented kids who can't afford STEM camps," Foster said. "A high percent of them are from low-income areas. Unfortunately, for some, the lunch is their best meal of the day."
The student campers do well in science, technology and math at school and are ready to be introduced to the industry, according to Foster, who also has been an adjunct professor at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University for 18 years.
"They just need some guidance and exposure," Foster said.