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Grants Fund Recruitment Efforts

Pam Lechner

How do FEF schools attract and retain students into metalcasting courses? They can request a grant from FEF.
As more and more employees approach retirement, the mission of all FEF schools is to educate and graduate the best and brightest, most educated and experienced metalcasting individuals to fill those retiree voids. 

One of the ways many FEF schools take on this task is by requesting an FEF Overture Grant to fund activities focused on introducing students to metalcasting earlier in their college experience or in high school. One such school that used a grant for this purpose is FEF certified school, Instituto Tecnologico de Saltillo, led by Key Professor Dr. Efrain Almanza.

In the fall of 2022, Tec Saltillo hosted a five-day event geared toward students who weren’t already taking metalcasting classes. The event included three days of presentations and “classes,” one day for networking with alumni, and one day for hands-on experiences in the laboratory.

“This program was to help retain new students because they are not exposed to the foundry during their first or second year,” Prof. Almanza said. “We need to encourage more talent into the metalcasting field.” 

For this first offering of the program, 36 freshmen and sophomores participated. None of them had taken any foundry classes up to that point, but after those five days, they had a great understanding of the processes and importance of metalcasting. Students in Dr. Almanza’s program graduate with a materials engineering major.

Several members of the AFS Student Chapter helped with the event. They assisted the attendees with their casting activities using nobake and green sand molding and pouring and also shared their excitement for the industry. 

Tec Saltillo alumni representing ASK Chemicals, Foseco, and Caterpillar attended to help with the event and to network with all the students. One of the most successful methods of encouraging students into this industry is word of mouth, and there are no better ambassadors for the job than FEF alumni.

This outreach to first- and second-year college students, and high school students, is a joint effort between FEF, FEF schools, and you. Thanks to your contributions, FEF is able to provide grant funding to our schools to host events like this. The results benefit FEF schools with more metalcasting students, and your companies benefit by having access to a pipeline of future employees. Everyone wins!

Was this event a success? Only time will ultimately tell, but according to Professor Almanza, “the comments I heard were ‘great’ and ‘excellent.’”

Thanks to our FEF professors for holding these types of events, and thanks to you for your continued support.