Sahd Metal Recycling Recognized with Excellence in STEM Award

May 28, 2024, 10:50 AM
Content author:
Rachel Bookman
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Sahd Metal Recycling team poses for a photo
Sahd Metal Recycling team poses for a photo

Aileen Romich (center) and Todd Kauffman (right) pose at the awards ceremony.

Educating the next generation on the work of the recycled materials industry does not have to wait until they are ready to become a part of the workforce. ReMA member Sahd Metal Recycling was recently recognized for their efforts to engage students in the classroom on recycling education and career opportunities by the Lancaster STEM Alliance as a Business Education Partnership 2024 STEM Award recipient.

“The Lancaster STEM Alliance is devoted to helping build business and education partnerships to ensure our local workforce has the skills they need to succeed and knowledge of the many amazing career opportunities in Lancaster County. It’s bridging the gap between organizations and local schools by providing partnerships that educate and inform about the many STEM careers in a variety of industries in Lancaster County,” said Aileen Romich, Sahd Metal Recycling director of business development.

Sahd Recycling prioritizes opportunities to engage their local community and provide resources for students and teachers regarding the recycled materials industry and the science behind recycling. Their website features a page dedicated to the ReMA and JASON Learning STEM based curriculum, and other educational resources.

“We’ve used a lot of the [JASON Learning] curriculum when entering the local schools, as well as when we hold field trips at our facility.  We  post it on our website as a resource for teachers, parents and the community  Every time we enter the schools or invite students to our facility,  we utilize that curriculum.  Whether it be printing off activity sheets and using that as part of our curriculum, or just equipping the teachers with that information and knowledge so they can dive deeper with it,” said Romich. “As far as Scrap University Kids, we’ve partnered with them for the million cans recycling challenge. That was incredibly awesome. We knew we were going to create passion and excitement through metal recycling education with the children as we believe that’s where it all starts.”

Todd Kauffman, sales and marketing specialist at Sahd Metal Recycling, regularly participates in local career days. As a young executive in the industry, he credits his age with being able to connect with students on a greater level.

Sahd Metal Recycling takes community members on a tour.

“Yesterday I went to Ephrata High School, and I talked to their 9th and 10th graders. They did a poll whether you’re looking to go to college or looking to go right into the workforce,” added Kauffman. “I had the opportunity to speak to the kids that were looking to go right into the workforce. I’m only 21, so I was pretty much in their shoes a couple years ago. I think it helps a lot because I’m a lot more relatable. I always have a couple of students waiting to talk to me. I give them my card. They can reach out whenever. That’s the cool part that I’ve been involved with so far.”

As for advice to ReMA members who may also be interested in sharing youth education resources with their local communities and schools, Romich and Kauffman say they’ve only had positive experiences and encourage others to share as much as they can. ReMA members can share the free, open-source JASON Learning Recycling Curriculum with their local schools, and can also sponsor a school with the full JASON STEM curriculum. Another great way to inspire young people to enter the recycled materials industry is to host a ReMA Pathways intern or fellow.

“It’s been nothing but an upside for our organization because not only are you seeing the passion and excitement in these students’ eyes through education, you’re also sharing a greater understanding of our industry and all the many careers that there are in recycling,” said Romich. “Making that fun and watching that excitement grow is so rewarding to us. We want to fully take advantage of opportunities because we’re seeing growth for not only the students, but for local businesses through these community partnerships. We provide awareness for our business, yet it’s awareness for our industry. The careers are important, and we should put ourselves out there and invest in education.”

“I think it’s important as well because as the industry keeps growing, we’re going to need people to work,” added Kauffman. “Just getting out to the people who are going to be having these jobs at the end of the day is important. I met a child through one of our yard tours when he was seven. He shadowed me at work for half a day. He enjoyed his experience, and he now wants to operate a crane when he gets older.”

“The whole experience that Todd referenced about lighting this fire in this young man all started from us thinking outside the box and reading the amazing metals recycling books from Scrap University Kids at the local library,” concluded Romich. “Literally, it was story time at the library and Axel, his sister, and his mother came that day and we did all kinds of hands-on activities with magnets. Who knew that this would spark one of these young minds to want to have a career in the in the recycled materials industry?”


Images courtesy of Sahd Metal Recycling.

Sahd Metal Recycling team poses for a photoEducating the next generation on the work of the recycled materials industry does not have...
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