The high school Manufacturing Expo first began in 2003 as the Plastics Expo initiated by Quinebaug Valley Plastics Institute (now Quinebaug Manufacturing Institute) from a suggestion by area high school students to promote plastics as a career choice. As the Plastics Expo, high school students were paired with area plastics companies to create a product or prototype in an allotted amount of time. Emphasis was placed on product design, production, and marketing based on the technology of the company that the high school is paired with and must be made using that particular technology.
In 2011 the Plastics Expo was renamed the Manufacturing Expo, recognizing the need to include and attract students to all the various areas in the realm of manufacturing. Still inclusive of the pairing of manufacturers with students, the 2012 project will be that of continuous improvement involving students' home high school.
Awards will be given based on the criteria of demonstrated initiative and innovation, supporting data and documentation with measurable outcomes, largest potential savings/benefit or elimination of waste, overall presentation, and best overall project.