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AHS may add Manufacturing/Engineering Tech to courses for next school year
ARLINGTON While Arlington Mayor Margaret Larson has proclaimed February Career and Technical Education Month, Arlington School District Deputy Superintendent Warren Hopkins has requested the approval of four new courses for the Arlington High School Vocational Department, and AHS Vocational Director Brett Sarver spoke with The Arlington Times about the process that led to the recommendation of one of those courses, Manufacturing and Engineering Technology.
According to Sarver, last year he was tasked by Hopkins and ASD Superintendent Lynda Byrnes with looking to Arlington-area businesses, and beyond, for ideas regarding courses. After researching Snohomish County employment statistics, he determined that manufacturing and engineering are exploding in this area, citing the regional Trident submarine bases and Boeing 787 airplane production, and he received feedback from several local businesses that were looking for trained, qualified students that they can hire right away.
Sarver consulted with representatives of companies such as Absolute Manufacturing, ABW Technologies, AWC, HCI Steel Building Systems and the Newell Corporation, before checking out the manufacturing and engineering program at Snohomish High School, which boasts both manufacturing equipment and employees from manufacturing companies, in order to train students on how to use their equipment in the school itself.
Theyre really outside the box, Sarver said. They took a bold step toward what was needed.
Along with courses on the Fundamentals of Video Production, the Science of the Horse and Pre-Veterinary Science, the Manufacturing and Engineering Technology course is currently scheduled to make its debut at AHS next school year, and Sarver hopes area residents and local businesses alike will pitch in to make this happen.
We plan to follow Snohomish High Schools model of partnering with the community, Sarver said. By providing training that makes our students employable, employers will help students earn livable wages, while helping to earn themselves employees. Its a perfect fit.
Sarver acknowledged that Snohomish High School had to raise as much hundreds of thousands of dollars to get their manufacturing and engineering program up and running, but he believes that AHS can successfully generate a similar amount by going straight to the community.
To illustrate the type of progress that AHS could make by focusing further on manufacturing and engineering, Sarver turned to AHS teacher Scott Striegel, to point out one of the ways in which the school has already been able to incorporate manufacturing and engineering into its curriculum.
Striegel trains his pupils on SolidWorks, which he described as one of the most widely-used Computer-Aided Design and Drafting programs in industry today. Using this solid-modeling software, students perform mechanical and automation design entirely on their computer screens, allowing them to share and revise those files with a series of mouse-clicks, before employing the 3-D printer to create plastic test pieces of their designs.
You can create solid or hollow pieces, Striegel said of the 3-D printer. When you send your designs through, you can determine right there whether theres a fault in your design, instead of losing metal, you just lose plastic, which not only saves you time and money, it saves you machines.