Local manufacturing program receives national recognition - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Local manufacturing program receives national recognition

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Strum (WQOW)- A local program was recently nationally recognized by Modern Machine Shop as a great way to educate students in the manufacturing sector.  On Monday, Wisconsin's State Superintendent says it could be a model the rest of the state will follow moving forward.

The number one issue in recent elections has centered on jobs.

Manufacturing is one area where jobs do exist.  The problem is many students don't get the right training to develop the skills needed.  Eleva-Strum High School is trying to change that with its Cardinal Manufacturing Program.

"They have to take several prerequisite classes to be able to apply, which means they are applying with a portfolio, with a cover letter, resume pictures, interview process," explains Tech Ed Instructor Craig Cegielski.  "And then run through the class and are graded on a review sheet much like industry and then paid profit-sharing at the end."

All of the equipment was donated from area businesses through a partnership with the school for the students to use free of charge.

"They can donate to you and then your students will be more likely to go to them when they need future workers," points out Eleva-Strum Senior Jonathan Fry.  "So pretty much, they are just preparing workers to go into their shops."

The school developed the program about five years ago. It consists of only 12 students; working at least two hours a day on their skills so that one day they can enter the manufacturing sector. 

"It's just an excellent model.  They are going to be putting 12 people out every single year that are highly, highly skilled," says State Superintendent Tony Evers.  "They are going to go to technical college; some go to universities, some go right into careers.  Those are the kind of options we want for our kids and it is also good for Wisconsin's economy."

"These kids are exposed to manufacturing techniques from the entire process of applying for and getting a job and then the hands-on experience," says Congressman Ron Kind.  "The public-private partnership that's been developed between the school district and private industry; I think it's a model that needs to be shared throughout the rest of the country."

Each students gets about $1,000 a year after profits are divided up for their participation in the program.

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