U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Springfield, was at Hampshire High School Tuesday to tour the school’s accredited welding program and learn about opportunities for students studying these skills.
One of the former students he spoke to was Zack Baumgartner, 18, who recently became one of two nationally accredited welders out of Hampshire High School and now works for Omni Containment Systems in Elgin.
There are 105 students enrolled in the welding program at Hampshire High School, according to Anthony McGinn, School District 300 director of public relations and communication services.
“I can’t get over the number of students [participating],” Durbin said.
Durbin added that some data suggests that two-thirds of high school graduates are not ready for college, which is why it was important to see high school courses where students can pick up skills in class to broaden their opportunities after graduation.
“Students need to be counseled and cared for,” he said.
Durbin also visited machinery and automotive classrooms at the school, which instructors said have growing interest.
The industrial education program at Hampshire includes Career and Technical Education courses that cover welding, robotics, automatic technology, manufacturing and computer aided design.
The welding lab is an accredited testing facility from the American Welding Society, making it one of three high schools of its kind in the country. Elgin High School, which opened a newly renovated welding lab earlier this year, has one of the other accredited programs.
Representatives from the American Welding Society examine the structure and resources of eligible schools’ welding labs and compare those with AWS standards to ensure students are receiving the level of training that will help them succeed in the industry.
Durbin said on his recent endorsement of 14th Congressional District candidate Lauren Underwood, who challenges Rep. Randy Hultgren, R-Plano, that she and her campaign has really caught on, especially for someone who has never run for office.
“When I go around her district, she has these spontaneous meetings they just ask everybody who’s interested in helping to show up at a coffee shop and she’ll walk in the door and see 30 or 40 people ready to knock on doors she’s never met before,” Durbin said. “So there is a spark in her campaign that I think has caught the attention of Washington.”
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Region: NW Herald,Local,Region: Suburbs
via Northwest Herald http://www.nwherald.com
September 11, 2018 at 06:28PM