Grant Provides Local Students Advanced Opportunities in Learning Trades

September 21, 2017 04:05 AM

Daily welding classes at Proctor High School have recently been looking a bit different in a good way. The school has gotten new equipment for their welding program thanks to a $120,000 Perkins Grant.

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"It's way better having the new equipment." said Marty Chapinski, a Senior at the school.
"It's a good way to help get kids more involved in school," said Zack Blazier, also Senior at the school.

The school was able to get new welding equipment as part of a collaboration with Lake Superior College.
"(The equipment) is all things that they've ( Lake Superior College) identified that we've needed in order to produce manufacturing in Minnesota. These students normally wouldn't' t be able to train on this stuff," said Tyler Blom, Industrial Arts Teacher at Proctor.

The new Manufacturing Auxiliary Classroom program or MAC is aimed at providing students with more advanced opportunities to learn the trades, and from people in it.

LSC graduate Nicole Oksdad is a classroom assistant as part of the program. She was on hand Wednesday for questions and to help teach welding techniques. 

"I come on Fridays with the MAC trailer," said Oksdad."It's a trailer that we have that goes to local high schools because a lot of the high schools don't have Tech Ed programs anymore so were bringing equipment to them. We have CNC's, 3D printers, scanners and welders."  

As part of the grant, the school also added a new virtual welding machine. It's another tool for them to practice on to increase hand and eye coordination.

"Students are able to learn five different welding techniques," said Blom.

It's really tough the first couple time but once you get it down it's easy," Chapinski.

Blom says he hopes the program can eventually get students into a field where jobs are seriously needed, or at least steer them in a direction so they're prepared once they leave high school.

"I constantly have people looking for high skilled highly trained workers that want to fill these jobs," Blom added."We're trying to get them to figure out what it is that they really like."

The MAC project also includes other local schools such as Hermantown and Denfeld. Proctor has the Welding Program. Denfeld has CNC, Scanner and 3D Technologies. Hermantown has Pneumatics and Industrial Controls. 




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