My 11th-12th grade welding class is a great group of motivated young men. They will be working hard in welding class this year and will be learning all different kinds of welding processes. This is the first year that our welding class will be offered for an entire year and not just a semester. For some in this class, this may become where their passion is.
Many of these students could be successful going to a trade school and help fill the skilled workers gap in welding.
Our K-12 rural school of 186 students is a wonderful school with great kids that provides many varieties of classes and activities for our students. Our student body is at about 50% free and reduced lunch but our school consistently outperforms the state average on the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments given every spring. That being said, not all students want, or need, to earn a bachelors degree to make a great living and have a satisfying career. Instead, they want to learn a skill or work at a job that uses their hands as well as their minds.
We need to increase the number of MIG(Metal Inert Gas) welding machines in the school shop. When I started teaching shop, we had one MIG welder(about 40 years old). I talked to all our local manufacturers and was able to get a few 30 year old machines donated to help us out. Right now, we have six(6) welders for eleven(11) students. I have returning students who need to be able to learn to weld with different processes, such as TIG(Tungsten Inert Gas). This new welder has a kit included with it that will allow my returning students to learn TIG processes on mild steel and stainless steel. My budget is small and needed for all of my shop classes to purchase consumables in Construction Technology, Small Engine Mechanics, Welding, and 7th grade Intro to Shop. There just isn't enough room in my shop budget to spend most of it on a welder.
In order for students to become better welders, they need to be able to spend quality time welding!
Right now, students have to sit and wait for their turn to weld and end up getting less machine time, which means less practice! It is my future goal to eventually get enough machines so we have one for each student. I am getting closer to this goal and need your help to get there in a reasonable time frame for the students' sake. I hope to keep getting students excited about welding and give them a great start if they happen to choose it as a career. Even our "farm kids", who may not go on to be welders, will be able to make repairs on the farm with the knowledge and practice gained in our class.
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