Kohler donation to PHS strengthens partnership

THE PARTNERSHIP BETWEEN THE Plymouth School District and local industries continues to be strong – and beneficial to both sides.

The latest example is the recent donation by the Kohler Co. of a $65,000 industrial robot to Plymouth High School to aid in educating students for a wide variety of industrial robotic jobs that need to be filled now and in the future.

It’s just the latest in a series of collaborations between the county’s largest employer and the Plymouth School District. And the partnership between Kohler and the district is just one of many such partnerships between the schools and local industries.

As Kohler Co. executive Mark Feick said in announcing the donation at last month’s School Board meeting, all of this recognizes the truth that “Strong schools make for a strong community.”

The center piece of this public-private educational effort is the six-year-old Science and Technology Center at Plymouth High School, utilized by both the high school and Lakeshore Technical College to ensure that local industries – such as Sargento, Johnsonville and many more – can rely on a steady stream of trained workers well into the future.

Kohler, along with many of its industrial counterparts throughout the county, has been a strong supporter of the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) curricula both at Plymouth and in other area districts.

That has included offering job shadowing, intern and apprenticeship opportunities; supporting hands-on STEM activities and events at local schools; and opening their doors to student tours and field trips to introduce future employers to the range of jobs they can train for and fill in the future.

All of that takes the education of our young people beyond textbooks and discussion into the realm of real world possibilities and hands-on experience.

“This is the way of the future,” Feick told the board about the donated robot, but his words go well beyond just a single donated robot and sets the blueprint for the education of the future today.

When the Science and Technology Center opened in 2012, it was an all-too-rare example of how the public and private sectors, education and government, can and should all work together for their common benefit – and for the good of the community in which we all live and work.

“We’re working together to build a strong community for our kids,” school district Assistant Superintendent Dan Mella summarized.

And Plymouth’s example is spreading well beyond the borders of Sheboygan County and Wisconsin. Kohler Co. has a faucet plant in Sheridan, Ark. Company and school officials have seen the success and benefits of the Kohler-Plymouth collaboration and will be sending a team here to Plymouth High School this month to observe that program with the goal of duplicating it there in the heart of Arkansas.

That would be further affirmation of the example Plymouth schools and local industry have set.

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