Upstate Refractory Services, Inc. was invited to share what we do at the Wayne County Schools Career Carnival.

The career carnival was for 8th graders from 11 local school districts, home school programs and BOCES programs. We brought hands on activities for the students to try. The activities were to simulate types of skills used daily by our current workforce. We did small Plaster of Paris pours to simulate mixing, water content, mix time, pouring, and properly filling the mold. Students filled fun shaped forms – pumpkins, pineapples, ghosts, bats, cactus and more. Students also got to see how the material heated itself while drying and got to see how to de-mold the shapes, sometimes with success and sometimes not, and learn about why there was success or failure.

Students also practiced surface finishing skills. We used wet sand to simulate refractory material and had students fill some of our silicone molds and screed the surface with masonry trowels. Students had to fill all areas of the mold and make a good quality surface finish using pressure to pack in the material and a bit of finesse for the top.

Lastly we ground foam forms that we used as well as a print. Students practiced assembling the pieces, making sure the notches fit where they were supposed to, and then took the forms apart for the next group. All three of these activities are part of our daily process when making refractory, whether it is with our precast shop or our construction crew. We had great interaction with the students, they asked great questions, and were very engaged to try our new skills. Events like these, especially at the 8th grade level, are great for showing youth different career paths for their future. Sparking interest at this age and open up a whole new option for future career paths. It’s especially important to show students types of careers they can have locally.

We are appreciative to the Career Carnival committee for hosting this event and inviting us. We can’t wait to participate next year!