Adams Friendship High School students explore high-paying technical careers through Mid-State industrial maintenance course

Adams Friendship High School students explore high-paying technical careers through Mid-State industrial maintenance course

January 16, 2019

What exactly does an industrial mechanical technician do? Eight Adams Friendship High School (AFHS) students recently found out with a 12-week, hands-on introduction to industrial maintenance course offered by Mid-State Technical College. The students earned a Mid-State college credit while learning about soldering copper pipe to create useful objects like laptop stands and coat hooks, using torches and aspects of torch safety, pressing industrial size bearings and their functions and performing a chain alignment to keep factory machines humming.

Industrial mechanical technicians install, maintain, repair, and troubleshoot sophisticated machinery used in modern manufacturing, with recent graduates of Mid-State’s Industrial Mechanical Technician associate degree program earning a median starting wage of $20 an hour. According to Mid-State’s industrial mechanical technician instructor, Michael Schultz, the special course aimed to give students a “close encounter with one of central Wisconsin’s most lucrative technical careers while expanding their knowledge of technical career opportunities in general.”

The class met once a week on the AFHS campus and was co-taught by Schultz and Adams Friendship High School’s Technology Education Manufacturing Academy (TEMA) instructor, Krystian Weglarz. Six sophomores and two seniors from AFHS enrolled and completed the course. All are active participants in the TEMA Academy, and the course fee for each student was entirely funded by sponsorships from A Bigger World Foundation, a non-profit organization serving 9th–12th grade students in and around Chicago.

Weglarz is always looking for innovative ways to increase TEMA opportunities for his students. He started the “academy” three years ago at AFHS to give rural pre-engineering students different engineering opportunities, character education, soft-skills training and college-and-career preparation. “When we sat down with Mid-State to develop this course, we incorporated communication and other soft skills to make sure it would have broad application for students as they narrow their career choice after high school,” he said.

Some of the students who signed up for the class weren’t sure what to expect, but in the end their comments revealed it was a unanimous hit. “The class was an amazing opportunity to broaden my horizons about the engineering field and jobs that involve industrial maintenance and machines—it gave me a lot of skills that I never would have practiced…like soldering and cutting metal with the oxy-fuel torch,” said one student who completed the course. Another student enjoyed it so much he is now leaning toward earning an Industrial Mechanical Technician associate degree after high school. A third spoke to the broader value, saying, “This class, being a college course, provided me with a thorough look into the future and altered my perception of what is to come.”

Mid-State is actively growing its offerings in the Adams area, including the recent expansion of its Adams County Learning Center to a full campus. The success of this first introductory course on the AFHS campus has the College already planning additional career exploration offerings for high school students in partnership with AFHS and TEMA.

Learn more about Mid-State’s Industrial Mechanical Technician program at mstc.edu/programs.

Introduction to Industrial Maintenance students gather for a group photo during a tour of WestRock’s manufacturing facility in Adams. Pictured (left to right) are Daedra Currie, Kallysa Farrell, Ayden Miller, Sam Bassan, Jarek Frank, Jonas Hicks and Casey Nicholls.

Introduction to Industrial Maintenance students gather for a group photo during a tour of WestRock’s manufacturing facility in Adams. Pictured (left to right) are Daedra Currie, Kallysa Farrell, Ayden Miller, Sam Bassan, Jarek Frank, Jonas Hicks and Casey Nicholls.

 

Students Daedra Currie (left) and Ayden Miller perform a chain alignment in the automotive lab on the Adams Friendship High School campus. The activity was one of many learned in the Introduction to Industrial Maintenance course they took through Mid-State Technical College.

Students Daedra Currie (left) and Ayden Miller perform a chain alignment in the automotive lab on the Adams Friendship High School campus. The activity was one of many learned in the Introduction to Industrial Maintenance course they took through Mid-State Technical College.