Since 2018, the Industrial Arts classes at Clarke Community Schools has come together at the end of each school year to showcase student achievements in an annual welding event. In partnership with the Clarke County Development Corporation (CCDC) and the Clarke Industrial Technology Advisory Board, the students team up with local manufacturing professionals to learn about real life scenarios found in the art of welding. Each year, the event has evolved, involving more participants and more detailed projects, while spreading beyond the school and into the surrounding community.
“Working with local manufacturing professionals gives the students outstanding mentoring opportunities.” Said Michael Spalding, Clarke’s Industrial Technology Instructor.
This year, with more students involved than ever before, several teams of four to five students partnered with representatives from the Clarke Industrial Technology Advisory board, including mentors from Altec, Hormel Foods (Osceola Foods), Iowa Steel, Miller Products Company, Mueller Products, Co., SIMCO Drilling Equipment, Inc., and Salford Group.
Each team was presented with a custom-designed park bench fabrication project, prepared by advisory board member companies, designed to test the industrial arts students.
“This year was unique.” said Spalding. “These projects came in with different measurements, meaning the students had to work around some real-world problem solving with measurement variations and customization to make the fabrication work.”
On top of the measurement challenges, each student was presented with a variety of skill tests, from basic weld-tacking and grinding to MIG (metal inert gas) welding and TIG (tungsten inert gas) welding. With the guidance of advisory board mentors, the students were given the opportunity to exercise their skills at each level and learn best practices for welding various kinds of metals.
“This is a tremendous opportunity for these students,” said Bill Trickey, CCDC Executive Director. “The impact the Tech Advisory Board has on the students and the skills they can pick up in these events will enable them to move on to bright futures within our manufacturing community.”
Ultimately, the teams each finished their bench customized with their sponsors’ name. After being sandblasted and painted by the team at Salford, the benches will be given to the City of Osceola Parks department to be stationed around the trail system throughout the city.