With the cost of college on the rise and the saturation of many employment markets, Clarke Community Schools and local businesses have come together to help students discover and build career paths that provide better security as well as lower potential costs as they enter the workforce. Dave Lyden, Clarke Community Schools’ Industrial Technology instructor, gave us a few minutes out of his busy schedule recently to show just how much the community and the schools are doing to pave a better path for his students.
In early 2017, with the help of the Clarke County Development Corporation (CCDC), the Clarke Community Industrial Technology Advisory Council was established. The focus of the Advisory Council was to create a support platform for students in the program allowing open access and direction from local manufacturers and industry leaders. From the monthly meetings to organized tours and demos, the advisory council hopes to better prepare Clarke students looking to build a career in the manufacturing and industrial technology trades.
Local businesses that have gotten involved on the Advisory Council have gone further to provide tutorial opportunities for students as well as donations of much-needed equipment for the classroom. As we spoke to Mr. Lyden about the program, he was arranging and unpacking a supply of welders provided by Altec Industries in Osceola, Iowa.
After some discussion of the program’s needs and an evaluation of space, Altec purchased and delivered ten welders to the Industrial Technology department. Seven of the welders, Model 210 MIG welders, offer Lyden and his students the perfect entry point to learn both stick and wire or arc welding skills. Another three welders, 200 TIG models, were provided to round out the base welding curriculum.
The welders will enable our students to enter the work force with more advanced skills.” said Mr. Lyden of the gifts.
Most colleges and universities no longer offer these skilled trade classes making the investment for students looking to move into a skilled trade career path much more expensive, forcing students to take classes through trade schools or community colleges. This also makes hiring options for employers much more challenging, having to train on the job or select from a limited pool of candidates.
The focus of the Advisory Council is to identify needs for better manufacturing practices education as well as provide students with the skills expected from employers like Altec. From job-specific skills like welding and CAD computer use to soft skills like attendance, and an overall awareness of employer expectations.
“We believe with the support from our local manufacturers this program is going to help contribute to a pipeline of young talent coming from the Clarke School District,” Said Bill Trickey, CCDC Executive Director.
Other additions for Clarke’s Industrial Technology program range from upgraded computers for more advanced CAD drafting and schematic research to ventilation improvements and significant equipment upgrades like the addition of a new plasma cutter, which was purchased by the school this semester.
With collaboration and support from local manufacturers and businesses around Osceola, the future success of Clarke students won’t seem as intimidating. And offering a stronger workforce for businesses looking to move to Osceola will be a benefit for the entire community.
For more information on the Clarke Community Schools Industrial Technology Advisory Council, contact Dave Lyden at Clarke Community Schools 800 N Jackson St, Osceola, IA 50213, phone: 641-342-6505, or contact Bill Trickey, Executive Director for CCDC 115 E Washington St, Osceola, IA 50213, phone: 641-342-2944, email: [email protected].