GWINN — In the past, many industrial technology programs have seen cutbacks. These days, industry is clamoring for up-and-coming technical students to fill numerous positions.
Gwinn Area Community Schools was recently selected to receive a Lowe’s Toolbox for Education grant to help create a welding and metals class for high school students. Industrial Technology Teacher Matthew Barbercheck has enough equipment to let his students dabble in the craft, but the current setup doesn’t allow a full class to go in-depth.
“I can’t reach full class engagement with my current resources,” said Industrial Technology Teacher Matthew Barbercheck. “When you get four kids in a booth for an entire hour, that’s less than ten minutes of seat time per kid — three students watching. It’s not user friendly for the teacher.”
“He’s going to be able to get some welding equipment to at least start the process to get this workshop back into functioning,” said Anthony Filizetti, Director of Finance and Human Resources at Gwinn Area Community Schools.
The five thousand dollar grant will help fund the purchase of enough equipment for a class of twenty. Offering a class like this could help students decide if welding is a career that they would enjoy before they explore further options, such as dual enrollment at NMU.
“You want to go to Northern, you’re going to take up [a] two hour block of your day. Let’s make sure that’s what you want to spend your time at Northern doing, and not something else,” Barbercheck added.
Barbercheck added that industrial education courses can be beneficial to students going into a four-year college program as well as those pursuing other paths such as certifications.