Danfoss recently announced the partnership of its Arkadelphia, AR-based facility with the local high school’s “STEM Works” program to facilitate the professional development of science, technology, engineering and math students.

STEM Works was implemented in 2011 by Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe and his Workforce Cabinet to help ensure the state’s workforce will be able to meet escalating demands for employees in high-tech fields.
The partnership between Danfoss and Arkadelphia High School, a nationally-recognized STEM school, is designed to foster opportunities for students to experience first-hand the  increasingly in-demand careers in engineering and technology available in the U.S., and learn about working for a global manufacturer with research and development activities throughout the world.

“This partnership is about sharing our passion for engineering and technology with our next generation workforce,” says Elva Arista, human resources business partner at Danfoss. Danfoss is the first company in the Arkadelphia region to collaborate with the school in support of the STEM program.

Bud McMillion, lead new technology instructor at Arkadelphia High School, says, “Despite having access to advanced design programs and equipment in our classrooms, we need avenues for our students to see how the theoretical concepts and basic projects apply in actual manufacturing settings. We are very appreciative of the resources, insight and effort the local Danfoss team has put forth for our students.”

Danfoss Hosts Students Onsite

In February, Danfoss hosted more than 80 students for two days at the Arkadelphia facility, where the company manufactures high efficiency and variable speed compressors for air-conditioning and refrigeration systems.

Over the next several months, more students will continue to visit the facility, where Danfoss employees will offer further insight into the fields of engineering and manufacturing. Additionally, Danfoss will provide the students with a hands-on project, mentoring and other activities, such as “Lunch with an Engineer” and “Young Innovators Competition.”

“One of the most effective ways to reinforce classroom learning is to allow students to see the concepts at work,” McMillion says. “Having Danfoss partner with our New Tech program allows just that – in and out of the classroom – by providing time for an engineer to be in our design classes and by allowing those classes to tour their facility.”

The compressor facility is ISO 9001 and 14000 certified, as well as ISO/TS16949 compliant.

Energy Use and the Future Workforce

For Danfoss, this partnership is only a portion of a new three-part initiative developed by the Arkadelphia facility’s management team to engage with and support the local community, and help foster a life-long passion for engineering and technology careers among students of all ages.

“Danfoss is committed to manufacturing high efficiency products for buildings that help save energy and improve the environmental impact of a building today, while also looking forward to tomorrow’s designs and energy demands,” adds Paul Dean, general manager at Danfoss in Arkadelphia. “The building sector alone consumes 40% of all energy used in the U.S., and the need for an innovative workforce will only increase as the demands on our country’s energy resources and infrastructure strengthen.”

“We believe that the students who emerge from the STEM Works program – and other STEM programs around the country, will play a vital role in the impact of our industry on the future of energy," Dean continues, "but, it’s also important that the U.S. move forward with transformative energy policy that will ensure opportunities and job growth in these high-tech fields.”

Developing a larger and more robust base of STEM graduates is one of the Obama Administration’s education priorities.