Wearing a virtual reality headset, Scottsburg High School teacher Kyle Mullins sits in a Forklift-Simulator at Mid-America Science Park, showing his advanced manufacturing and welding students how to use a forklift. Each student takes a turn to see what it is like to operate a piece of machinery that requires a certification to use on the job site while posing no risk to themselves or others around them.
“It’s as realistic as it gets,” Mullins said.
Scott County high schools are preparing students for jobs in manufacturing and welding after graduation whether they choose to pursue additional education or continue to the workforce. Upon successful completion of the programs, students in the welding program at Austin High School and in the advanced manufacturing and welding programs Scottsburg High School have opportunities to earn college credit through Ivy Tech Community College or industry-specific certifications.
“This program was focused on giving these students opportunities to achieve a skill that will get them a job upon graduation. Not only are they receiving a skill they are receiving nationally-recognized certifications that will set them above the rest when seeking employment,” said Kristy Holsapple, Scottsburg instructional site coordinator and quality assurance manager for Ivy Tech Community College.
At AHS, welding students can earn a welding certificate through Ivy Tech Community College in Indiana. The two-year program provides 21 college credits and focuses only on welding, Holsapple said. Students can also earn OSHA 10 Certification, three nationally-recognized American Welding Society certifications in the processes of Shielded Metal Arc Welding, Gas Metal Arc Welding, and Gas Tungsten Arc Welding.
“Welding certificates open up opportunities in many areas of manufacturing including maintenance, machine shops, fabrication shops, structural steel welding and construction,” Holsapple said.
SHS offers students can earn OSHA 10 Certification and an American Welding Society certification in the process of Shielded Metal Arc Welding. The high school is partnering with the Ivy Tech to provide a new pathway to welding and advanced manufacturing certificates.
“SHS students have the opportunity to earn industry-recognized technical certifications,” Mullins said. “They can participate in internships in Scott County with manufacturing.”
Along with welding, SHS offers advanced manufacturing, where students can earn college credit through the Ivy Tech along with Manufacturing Skill Standards Council in four areas — Safety, Quality Practices and Measurement, Manufacturing Production and Processes, and Maintenance Awareness. Upon successful completion of all four MSSC areas, SHS students receive certification as a Certified Production Technician.
“There are a tremendous amount of benefits for students. It equips them with 21st-century skills they need for manufacturing,” Mullins said.
The students not only receive quality instruction, but they also have the opportunity to use the facilities and equipment at MASP. Mullins said the advanced manufacturing classes use the four 3-D printers, the laser engraver, the Amatrol Industrial Maintenance Program trainers, the Forklift-Simulator, and the HAAS Automation CNC mills and lathes in woodworking and metal. SHS is the first high school in the Midwest to train with the Forklift-Simulator, the manufacturer said.
“We are fortunate to have industrial training equipment through the Scottsburg Redevelopment Commission and Mayor Graham,” Mullins said. “He understands the value of developing these skills to attract new manufacturing [companies].”
Between classroom instruction and hands-on experience with equipment, students will use in the workforce, Scott County students will be ready to start careers or further their education in advanced manufacturing and welding.
“The students coming through this program are being given an opportunity that will place them in a career straight out of high school in a field that is in high demand. The have the opportunity to continue their education, if they choose,” Holsapple said.