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High-tech labs gear teens toward workforce in Wausau

by | Sep 27, 2016 | Stand Up for Public Education Blog | 0 comments

Wausau Daily Herald: Senior Brennen Pozorski learned how to fine tune the new cobalt-blue, manual mills in the Wausau East High School metals lab and was setting them up and leveling their tables a week after classes started this fall.

The 17-year-old likes working with his hands and is thinking about attending Northcentral Technical College, where he already has some credits earned through his high school classes. Pozorski will likely earn more of those credits before graduating and in the process learn how to use the lab’s new computer numerical-controlled — or CNC — mills, which can be programmed to cut things out and drill.

Wausau East and Wausau West high schools have a lot of new equipment and upgraded spaces for technology education. Welding booths, a laser engraver, plasma tables, a maker space, 3-D printers, revived wood and metals labs and a brand-new 9,000-square-foot auto lab all have been added to the schools’ tech-ed department in recent months.

It’s a good time for Wausau high schoolers to get into auto repair, manufacturing, design and other tech-centric electives. And local businesses hope students will be turned on to their industries after exploring them in school.

School district leaders, notably Career and Technical Education Coordinator Jon Winter, worked with businesses in the community to tailor the improvements at the high schools to what manufacturers and other local companies need. Some of those companies chipped in for equipment to help train students in technical-education courses.

“We see that they have a need. We’re trying to fill those pipelines,” Winter said of employers. “We built these facilities for our community.”

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