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Hazen Paper has teamed up with World is Our Classroom, the Holyoke Public Schools, and Holyoke Community College to pilot the Holyoke Manufacturing Initiative, an educational program that targets the Holyoke fifth-grade students.  Conducted on site at Hazen Paper, the program addresses the need to provide students with hands-on, “real-world” applications of science and technology that are linked both to their school curricula and to local industry.  It uses Hazen’s plant and personnel, along with exercises related to basic paper making, to introduce the children to the technology, challenges, and rewards of careers in the manufacturing sector.  

DAY AT WORK— Fifth-grade students from Kelly School participate in a “design challenge” during a visit to the Hazen Paper Company. The challenge introduces students to the engineering design process included in the state’s science frameworks. From the left, are Kaysha Lopez, Destiny Flores, Kelly School science teacher Jen Romano, Hazen Paper director of human resources Ashley Piziak, Hazen Paper process engineer Matt Nolan-Parkhouse, Gisselle Vega and Kenializ Burgos.

Sponsored by World Is Our Classroom, the Holyoke Manufacturing Education Initiative teams the Holyoke Public Schools with Hazen Paper’s plant and personnel, and links the fifth-grade science curriculum to technology and local industry. In its eighth year at Hazen Paper, the initiative is offered to all fifth-graders in the city and has involved more than 3,200 Holyoke Public Schools students to date.

“Our day at Hazen Paper provides a great opportunity for our students to be out of the classroom and experience a real-life workplace,” said Kelly Science teacher Jen Romano.

During five hours on site, students take part in a program that reviews and reinforces the science concepts and standards taught in the classroom. Interactive lessons include touring the plant (engineering design and technology); performing a role in the life cycle of the oak tree (life science), observing simple machines at work (engineering design and technology); acting as a molecule changing its states of matter (physical science); playing the water cycle game (earth science) and making paper from scratch (engineering design and technology).

Ashley Piziak, director of human resources at Hazen, said the company looks forward to having the students visit. “We are Impressed to see how engaged the students are during their day at Hazen Paper. We enjoy influencing Holyoke students at a formative age to show them career  opportunities and reinforce the importance of education and staying in school.” She added that these students are the future workforce for Hazen and other area businesses.

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World Is Our Classroom, Inc. is a nonprofit 501(c) (3) corporation that seeks to provide the region’s educational community with innovative programs that emphasize real-world experiences that are focused in the areas of science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and manufacturing.