Area school gives students real world experience manufacturing - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Area school gives students real world experience in manufacturing

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Strum (WQOW) - On Friday, WQOW News 18 talked to the Eleva-Strum School District, who's getting their students a leg-up on the job search. 

"I've probably spent over 2,000 hours in here," says Eleva-Strum High School Senior, Alex Thronson. As a senior, he's is no stranger to the sights, sounds and smells of the Eleva-Strum machine shop. 

"Cardinal Manufacturing is a student-run machine and fabrication shop," says Craig Cegielski, who teaches the class.

The students of Cardinal Manufacturing, are doing a lot more than taking projects home to show mom and dad.

Thronson says, "We actually get to go out and make parts for other companies that will actually be used instead of something that we make and then throw away."

And if you want in, you have to earn it.

"They are working with customers, they learn all the aspects of the business. Jobs come in, we have to quote, we have to order material. Students have to do the work, talk to customers, invoice, use FedEx shipping, receiving, costs, and the whole thing of running a business" says, Cegielski.

"To get into the class they have to first take the prerequisite classes, take all the metal working classes. And then their Junior year they can apply, which is building a resume, a cover letter, references and a portfolio, go through and interview process and we try to mimic it just like a real job," explains Cegielski.

Eleva –Strum, Junior, Dana Kensmoa, says, "I've had four years of experience already and I am only a Junior."

In eighth grade Dana Kensmoa got her first taste of welding when she took a metal shop class.

"I like to create the perfect weld and learn different techniques to make it look good," says Kensmoa. "I'm planning on going into welding and fabrication at CVTC once I graduate and then I am hopefully going to get a job somewhere around here welding."

Cegielski says,"Right now there's an extremely large need in our area for welders and machinist so we need to kind of fill the pipeline and get the students going in that direction if they're interested. It's not for everybody."

The students do get paid for their work and receive reviews.  The program has been around for five years and the school says it keeps growing each year.  

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