On November third our class of STAR Achievers were given a class in Advanced Manufacturing and Welding at the Kirkwood Linn County Regional Center. Mr John Hassen is the instructor that led the event and he enlisted the aid of two Kirkwood students, Joey Shoemaker and Corbin Burg to help with the presentation. Our STAR Achievers saw a video which showed a CNC (Computer Numerical Control) machine convert square block of metal into a motorcycle helmet. They then watched an actual CNC machine in the classroom turn out identical machined parts and each student was allowed to take one home. The “virtual welder” was a big hit with our group. They had a contest to see who could achieve the highest score and 77 was the top. After the virtual welder, they went into a welding booth and saw a real welder in use.
Students at the junior and senior level can take these courses while in high school and earn 3 national metal working and industry certifications with no expense to the student. They are then eligible for immediate entry-level employment upon graduation from high school. Average starting hourly wage in Iowa for certified employees are Machinist: $17.19, Welder: $16.22, CNC machine programmer: $21.98.