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Updated: April 4, 2022 / Manufacturing Excellence Awards 2022

Manufacturing awards: Waters Corp. mentors students from diverse backgrounds

A collage of three photos showing the manufacturing operations of Waters Corp. Photos | Courtesy of Waters Corp. Waters Corp. has undertaken a variety of initiatives toward its goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 35% by 2025.

The last several months have seen an unprecedented tight labor market across multiple sectors. But in fields like software engineering and manufacturing, difficulty finding highly qualified workers is nothing new. To address this issue, Milford laboratory equipment and software maker Waters Corp. has been building partnerships with all sorts of educational institutions.

Waters has longstanding partnerships with organizations including Junior Achievement and the Ron Burton Training Village in Hubbardston to encourage young people to consider jobs in technology and manufacturing.

Last summer, it took things a step further. It brought students from Jeremiah E. Burke High School in Boston and youth athletics organization Team New England into a six-week pilot program, working with Waters employees.

“This program really was an opportunity for us as a company to take everything we’ve learned through the other programs we’ve participated in and create our own core curriculum,” said Kristen Garvey, the company’s vice president of corporate communications.

About 10 students participated, and the company is opening it to more participants this summer.

In 2021, Waters partnered with Worcester Polytechnic Institute and Blackstone Valley Education Foundation to challenge students to find solutions to a real-world problem. Scientists from Waters worked with students to design a waste-free city. The project involved not just learning about recycling and reusing but also practicing communication and time-management.

“We try and give students exposure to, really, the business of science,” Garvey said. “We want to spark an interest, whether it’s how to be a science communicator all the way, to a finance role in science, to being in the lab.”

Among the companies’ priorities is reaching students who might otherwise not consider a tech career. Black and Hispanic students, and students from low-income backgrounds, often have fewer opportunities to explore these fields. That’s a huge problem in terms of justice for those students, but it’s also a problem for employers like Waters. Hiring diverse employees is essential to the company’s success, Garvey said.

“Part of our core beliefs is that science depends on innovation,” she said. “We see diversity as a linchpin to innovation: diversity of thought, different perspectives, different backgrounds.”

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