Oswego County P-TECH Participates in Novelis Industry Challenge

Oswego County P-TECH students recently participated in an industry challenge created by their industry partner Novelis that involved motor and gearbox assembly.


Each group received a motor and gearbox kit with Novelis drawings for assembly and specific instructions for assembly following EHS requirements and safe work practices. The aim of the exercise was to follow directions and details using creating thinking, technical knowledge and practical experience of each member of the student team.


Novelis craft employees follow work notifications that include specific instructions. These instructions are critical to the effectiveness and application of the equipment. Crafts frequently maintain and install motors and gearboxes across the plant on weekly down days and outages. Equipment is tested by the crafts before being released to operations.


Ninth grade Central Square School District student Ian Downey said, “The project provided guidelines to build an electromagnetic motor and gearbox. Our team had to troubleshoot the solution by dividing up each other’s strengths to complete the challenge as quickly as possibly but with accuracy. Having the project be tangible and directly related to mechanical and electrical skills kept my interest to achieve reaching the solution.”

Novelis Plant Manager Kristin Nelson and members of the Novelis human resources team spoke to the P-TECH students about their experience and how it will relate to future opportunities and potentially employment at Novelis. Novelis also designed a trophy that will have a plaque including the names of the winning team and placed in the P-TECH building for students to see and draw inspiration from each day.


“Novelis is proud of our longstanding partnership with P-TECH, and there is always a lot of excitement around Industry Challenge Day,” explained Kristen Nelson, plant manager, Novelis Oswego. “What is really remarkable is that we have now have employees in the plant that we met and worked with at our P-Tech Industry Challenge. It’s rewarding to see the interest and passion ignited in these individuals as students blossom into career opportunities for our next generation of employees.”


“Industry challenges are a special opportunity to better understand what each company does,” said 10th-grader Robin Monette from Oswego City School District. “We do visits with these companies and can get into one-to-one conversations with industry professionals. The Novelis leadership team putting on this challenge showed me the level of diversity there is within the field of manufacturing. This type of activity gives me more confidence as a woman in STEM.”


Novelis staff scored the activity on a point system based on things like functionality, motor rotation and power supply. Bonus points were awarded for theory questions such as, “If the input shaft spins faster than the output shaft, does the torque increase or decrease?”


“Once again, Novelis is defining what the meaning of an active industry partnership experience can look like for our students,” said Oswego County P-TECH Principal Brian Heffron. “What was truly special about this year’s event was observing P-TECH graduates who are full-time employees with Novelis play an active role in the designing, planning and implementation of this year’s challenge. To have current P-TECH students work side-by-side with P-TECH alumni, learning the true meaning of “giving back” to the program was an inspirational and proud moment for all.” 


To learn more about the Oswego County P-TECH program, visit CiTiboces.org/PTECH.


Photo Caption: The winning team of the Novelis Industry Challenge with Oswego County P-TECH stands proudly in front of their trophy that will be displayed in the school. From left, Ian Downey, Aden Lavalee, Maurice Kellison and Caleb Cunningam.