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        Electronic Edition:                                                   Manufacturing Today Wisconsin | fall, 2020 | page 7

                         A-Tech prepares High School Students for the World of Work

                                            chemistry behind the materials they’re working   cal  college  and  business
        Kylie Harwell                       with. Each student’s education track is tailored   leaders,  this  Appleton
        Communications Coordinator          to his or her interests, resulting in more indi-  Area   School   District
        Appleton Area School District       vidual attention.                   (AASD)  charter  school
            If you’ve ever heard a student ask “When   A-Tech was created in response to a need   is  focused  on  provid-
        will I ever use this in real life?” you already   for  workers  to  fill  the  growing  demand  for   ing serious students with
        understand  the  need  for  Appleton  Technical   skilled  manufacturing  positions  in  Northeast   the  skills  needed  for
        Academy  (A-Tech).  Students  learn  practical   Wisconsin. The manufacturing environment in   a  successful  career  in
        skills that get applied to real-world situations,   the region is strong and growing. Additionally,   modern  advanced  manu-
        such  as  math  skills  to  determine  the  proper   as more and more baby boomers retire, busi-  facturing.
        angle for a specific laser cut or weld, writing   nesses  are  finding  it  increasingly  difficult  to   Mark   McQuade,
        skills  to  prepare  a  standout  cover  letter  and   find qualified workers to replace the retirees.  A-Tech  Principal  says,
        resume,  and  science  skills  to  understand  the   In  cooperation  with  the  local  techni-  “What  sets  us  apart
                                                                                from  other  schools  is
                                                                                our  ability  to  offer  over
                  Students forge Ahead with A-Tech                              40  college  credits  that
                                                                                transfer into the program
                                                                                of  study  that  the  student
                                                                                has  chosen.  The  close  relationship  between   nesses  opening  their  doors  to  allow  students
                                                                                the college instructors and A-Tech instructors   to tour their production facilities and to do job
                                                                                allow for a smooth transition.”    shadows with experienced workers. We partner
                                                                                   Using  a  project-based,  hands-on  learn-  with many area manufacturers, a manufactur-
                                                                                ing  approach,  the  school  day  features  a  mix   ing alliance, and the technical college.
                                                                                of  manufacturing  related  courses  in  welding,   Our  students  benefit  from  attending
                                                                                machining,  mechanical  design,  automated   A-Tech  in  a  multitude  of  ways.  They  get  to
                                                                                manufacturing  and  a  mix  of  traditional  core   learn what a career in manufacturing is really
                                                                                classes in math, science, English, social studies.  like. It’s like taking a test drive before buying.
                                                                                   A-Tech  labs  are  second-to-none  with   They  could  make  money  while  learning,
                                                                                brand  new  equipment  that  mirrors  what  the   Seniors enrolled at A-Tech have the opportu-
                                                                                students  will  see  in  industry.  We  have  eight   nity to complete a paid youth apprenticeship for
                                                                                welding booths with 16 welders that will expose   school credit.
                                                                                the students to MIG, TIG and stick welding. We   A-Tech  graduates  gain  advantage  over
                                                                                have six manual lathes, 4 manual mills and a   other applicants entering the workforce. They’ll
                                                                                brand  new  Haas  CNC  machining  center.  Our   already have hands-on experience in a variety
                                                                                fabrication equipment includes a CNC plasma   of  trades  and  skilled  labor,  making  A-Tech
                                                                                cutter and numerous metal forming pieces of   graduates  attractive  to  potential  employers.
                                                                                                                   Lead Teacher Paul Endter says, “Our students
             The clang of the hammer on the anvil   the floors of real-world companies. Instead   equipment  that  will  allow  students  to  create   learn the value and rewards of hard work before
          echoes through the classroom. Two A-Tech   of rows of desks in the metals room, there   meaningful projects.  they graduate.  Thus, they are sought after by
          students  peer  into  the  forge,  watching  the   are  eight  welding  booths  with  16  welders   Students in A-Tech learn about the world   local businesses who are eager to employ our
          steel glow orange. They worked systemati-  that expose the students to MIG, TIG, and   of work in a variety of ways. In the classroom   graduates.”
          cally over two class periods to make the top   stick  welding.  Students  also  have  access   they  are  exposed  to  the  basics  of  machining,   Learn more about A-Tech: http://appleton-
          of a hammer.                      to  6  manual  lathes,  4  manual  mills,  and  a   welding, mechanical design, automation, math
             It takes a lot of patience to make some-  new  Haas  CNC  machining  center.  Fabri-  for the trades, reading blueprints, project-based
          thing  from  a  simple  metal  rod.  It  takes   cation  equipment  includes  a  CNC  plasma   learning,  and  other  classroom  experiences
          teamwork too. One student holds the steel,   cutter  and  numerous  metal  forming  pieces   designed to reflect the world of work.
          occasionally inserting it back into the forge,   of  equipment that  allow  students  to  create   A-Tech  appreciates  the  involvement  of
          while the other hammers the end to flatten   projects that teach them the fundamentals of   manufacturing professionals making classroom   (920) 832-6161
          and shape it.                     metal-working.                      presentations  and  demonstrations  and  busi-
             These two students are both pursuing   A-Tech  students  graduate  ready  for
          welding as a career, so they’re using their   further schooling or to start a full-time job
          last few months of senior year to get more   the week after graduation. They can produce   Welding News from Chippewa falls
          familiar with different techniques and equip-  and assemble structural metal products, read
          ment. One senior already has a full-time job   job orders and blueprints, and set up and use   Continued from page 6
          lined up, courtesy of his apprenticeship, and   equipment to cut, shear, saw, form, roll, and
          the other plans to pursue a welding certifi-  bend metals.            also need those women, to show that we’re   “Definitely  interested  in  the  trades,
          cate in college.                                                      capable.”                          because I think it’s cooler than what most
             The  school  day  features  a  mix  of                                Students say they are inspired by their   girls would do, like the classes they would
          manufacturing-related  courses  in  welding,                          teacher representing a minority in the field   take, so I’m interested in that.”
          machining,  mechanical  design,  automated                            they’re learning about.                Women make up about 5% of welders
          manufacturing  and  a  mix  of  traditional                              “I thought it was really cool that there’s   in the United States. Degenhardt is hoping
          core classes in math, science, English, and                           a female teacher in this department because   to see that number increase.
          social studies. A-Tech students can choose                            it’s not really usual,” says Emily Pomeitlo,
          their own focus in one of these areas in their                        one of her students.
          junior  and  senior  years  and  work  to  com-                          Students  in  Degenhardt’s  class  are
          plete technical college credits.                                      inspired  by  her  and  are  looking  at  careers   (715) 726-2417
             The A-Tech classrooms look more like                               that  they  wouldn’t  have  normally  consid-
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