2017-08-12 / News

Linking schools with local jobs

A job training plan intended to stem the tide of the younger generation’s continued out-migration from the area was spelled out for Cameron County School Board members last week.

Denny Neal and Steve Aharrah discussed a proposal to integrate manufacturing-related classes into the school’s curriculum.

Neal and Ken Gerg previously addressed board members about the need to resurrect a co-op program with local manufacturers, and to link the education teenagers are receiving with the needs of the powdered metal business and other local industries.

Aharrah and Neal cited a Ridgway Area School District arrangement with Clarion Sintered Metals as a model.

Under their plan, local manufacturers would give students the task of designing and engineering parts and then compare the results to the products manufactured at the plant.

“This would be a great vehicle to pique the interest of students in the powdered metal industry,” said Aharrah, president of Embassy Powdered Metal. “Students right out of high school would be able to come in to our industry with some basic die-setting skills and be better prepared to enter our apprenticeship programs.”

Aharrah said Embassy would be willing to allow its workers to come to the high school to train students during night classes, using equipment the district already has available.

One board member, Rob Aversa, was especially receptive.

“I think it’s a great idea,” he said. “We need to explain the career options available to our kids and let them know what’s out there.”

Aharrah invited school officials to tour Embassy’s facilities to give them a better understanding of what the program would entail.

In other business, network specialist Dave Sullivan reported that two new cameras have been installed outside the high school and two others have been replaced.

Some cameras at Woodland Elementary School are still functional, but need to be repaired, Sullivan added. He has applied for a grant to replace some of the district’s equipment.

Sullivan also reported that work is nearly complete on the technology that will allow Zito Business to provide internet-based telephone service at the high school.

Meanwhile, installation of four new handicapped-accessible doors at Woodland’s front entrance will be completed next month. A call button outside the school will be lowered to allow wheelchair bound individuals access to the building. Hardware Specialties is contractor on the $16,000 project.

Drainage problems behind Woodland are still being reckoned with. Board members are debating what to do with a large area of standing water between the football field and the school, where the district’s tennis courts once stood.

The type of drainage system installed at the site will depend on whether the district wants to make the area usable again or whether the land will be filled with gravel.

Business manager Carl Mitchell reported that the Northwest Foundation from Northwest Bank has agreed to pay $17,500 for a scoreboard at the high school football field. A separate installation fee could reach as high as $10,000. Board members agreed to approach other community organizations for donations.

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