Tech Center upgrade would be another great step

A GOOD EDUCATION ONCE comprised just the three Rs – but not anymore. In today’s world, readin’, ’ritin’ and ’rithmetic have been replaced by STEAM – science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics.

The science, technology, engineering and mathematics components are especially important for young people getting ready to enter the job market needing skills that will enable them to fill job openings today and in the days beyond.

That’s why school districts today are working hard to provide the resources and education to meet the changing needs of a changing world.

Nowhere is that more true than right here in Plymouth, where the school district partnered with Lakeshore Technical College and others in the public and private sectors to create an ahead-of-the-curve Technology Center at Plymouth High School.

The center, which opened four years ago, offers an opportunity for hands-on training for future workers and continuing education for current workers that provides the launching pad for future industrial growth and development in Plymouth and the surrounding area.

The center positions Plymouth High School and LTC to educate a local work force with the skills needed to match local manufacturing requirements, right on the equipment that they will be asked to use by those manufacturers.

The center has proven to be an unqualified success, but the school district hasn’t been content to rest on those laurels.

Fresh on the heels of opening a $1 million Food Science and Agriculture Center – another collaborative effort by the public and private sectors – that provides needed job skills and training in more important fields to the area’s economy, the School Board has authorized the district to move forward in an effort to upgrade the Technology Center.

The district will be applying for a grant from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. to help create a Fabrication Laboratory (Fab Lab) as part of the Technology Center.

A Fab Lab is defined by WEDC as a “medium-scale hightechnology workshop equipped with computer-controlled additive and subtractive manufacturing components including threedimensional printers, laser engravers, computer numeric control (CNC) routers or plasma cutters.”

That’s certainly way beyond the pencils, paper and books of education a generation or two ago.

The CNC router is the only piece of equipment the Technology Center lacks to become a fully-equipped Fab Lab and the $25,000 grant from the WEDC, if it is received, would provide up to half the cost of the machine – which would then lace the woods/construction curriculum on par with the other technology education and engineering programs in the center.

More importantly, it would enhance the already outstanding job the district is doing in preparing our young people to enter the work world and enhance our local economy.

All in all, that’s pretty fab – as in fabulous.


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