Students visit label plant

MILFORD – Thou­sands of children across the country visited local manufacturing plants last week as a way to explore future careers.

Among the students participating in more than 2,600 National Manu­facturing Day events were sixth-graders from Mil­ford Middle School who went to Amherst Label.

The Milford company produces custom labels for a wide variety of prod­ucts, including Polar bev­erages and Market Basket Supermarket brand prod­ucts.

This was the second year the company has par­ticipated. School buses transported about 60 stu­dents and their teachers to the Westchester Drive plant.

Two classes of students were split into six groups. Three groups went to the company cafeteria for re­freshments and a presenta­tion called "The Amherst Label Painted Picture: How to Chart Your Own Course for Success." The other groups toured six manufacturing areas of the facility, starting from three spots, like a golf scramble. Students learned about four-color process print­ing, screen printing, die cutting, finishing and pack­aging, and had a chance to decorate packages with sample labels.

In the cafeteria, market­ing manager Ruth Sterling told the students how she came to choose her career.

"When I was your age, I had no idea" what she wanted to do, Sterling said. "All I knew was that I liked writing letters to my aunt with little pic­tures" on them.

Now, "I like working in a place where people help solve problems," she said.

Sterling talked about the importance of goal-setting and encouraged the students to talk about their own goals. Then the students were given a "La­bels 101" tour of the plant, where workers demon­strated and explained the processes.

Amherst Label, family-owned and operated since 1978, makes stickers, de­cals, tags and flexible packaging for companies across the Northeast.

Manufacturing Day is sponsored by several manufacturing organiza­tions, giving businesses an opportunity to open their doors and show what manufacturing is – and what it isn’t.

The goal is to address the skilled labor shortage and connect with future generations. Thee num­ber of events taking place this year was up from 1,500 last year. There were 10 in New Hampshire.