WNY P-TECH College and Career Academy Responds to COVID Challenges with 3D Printing

In March 2020, COVID-19 disrupted normal life in New York. Students were no longer able to attend school in-person, families stayed and worked from home, and everyday healthcare workers and first responders were at the front line of the pandemic’s dangers.

WNY P-TECH College and Career Academy students and staff witnessed their community in need and took action! Led by CAD instructor Mr. Anson, P-TECH students, and staff created a solution to support first responders in their community. With innovative problem-solving skills and the magic of 3D printing technology, the WNY P-TECH Academy printed and donated 220+ ear guards to the Dunkirk Police Department, Dunkirk Fire Department, Brooks Memorial Hospital and Elliot Hospital in New Hampshire, and Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City.

Each ear guard takes a little over an hour to print and can be printed on a bed of seven. The students in Mr. Anson’s class are redesigning the original product to see how they can improve it. They will be sending those prototypes out through their organization to see how they work and get feedback from users.

Picture showing a student in front of a computer where we see a 3D development software open with the project for the ear guard

“I can’t thank the P-TECH program enough for thinking of us when they made ear guards to help ease some of the stress of having these masks wrapped around your ear.”

– David Ortolano, Dunkirk Police Department Chief.

Principal William Smock shared how challenges serve as sources of inspiration for curating learning experiences beyond the classroom at WNY P-TECH Academy. He remarked, “We’ll look at what we saw, what we experienced, and what we can turn into a learning experience at the school.

“This problem-solving mindset, equipped with P-TECH skills, exemplifies the power P-TECH can hold in making a difference!