Welding Students Learn the Machine of the Future
Most welding is done using the machines you would normally find in the industry—MIG welders, TIG welders, and other heavy equipment—but sometimes you need a part that requires a higher level of finesse and detail. That’s where the PlasmaCAM system comes in.
This system consists of a manual machine that can be used on its own or connected to a computer system; while using it as a Computer Automated Machine, the cuts are far more precise (up to 0.005 inch!) and capable of producing anything from duct fittings for HVAC units to intricate designs, such as the one shown at left.
“I’ve used it to cut things like fittings for Diesel,” said Dakota, a senior from Cumberland Valley School District. “But you can also use it to cut out specific pieces, like a small cut too precise to cut on other machines. Mostly, we use this to cut out designs, like the back pieces for the benches we’re making.”
The student-made benches depict beautiful scenes, such as a deer standing amidst some foliage and butterflies flitting in a field of flowers. All of these require precise cuts that simply wouldn’t be as smooth when created on a different machine.
Said instructor Keith Hammond, “It’s the most advanced computer-controlled machine we have, and heavily design-based too, so it adds diversity to their skill set. Weld shops all over are starting to add these machines to their workshops.”
There is still a high need for parts produced on traditional welding machines, but the PlasmaCAM allows for even more versatility. It’s a complex machine, so students are forced to use their own problem solving skills to operate it; it’s a learning experience that will provide them with experience on these machines that are quickly becoming an important part in the future of the manufacturing industry.
Cooperative Education Spotlight- Hunter Cleveland
Hunter Cleveland, a senior from Mechanicsburg High School, has a career plan in place adults should envy! As a 9th grade student, he completed an application for the Welding Program at Cumberland Perry AVTS, was accepted later that year, and jumped right to work as a 10th grader. After 2 years of classwork and hands-on-training, Hunter decided to put his skillset to good use through the Cooperative Education Program: He applied for a position with H.B. McClure in August and is now gainfully employed. Each day on the shop floor at H.B. McClure brings a new adventure for Hunter. He can often be seen MIG and Stick welding plates, pipe, and structural steel; and with H.B McClure being in the HVAC business, we can’t forget soldering copper pipe, manipulating duct work, and threading pipe. Training supervisor Dan Scuble raves about the knowledge and work ethic that Hunter bring to work each and every day. Dan states that Hunter is ‘one of the guys’ and barring any unforeseen circumstances, looks forward to having him around full time after graduation. Hunter envisions running his own business some day and is definitely setting up the foundation for such a vision. Not many high school seniors or young adults have their careers mapped out as well as Hunter: Only success awaits this young man!
Program Spotlight- Logistics and Warehouse Management
Teacher Spotlight- Mr. Knouse
What is the most significant new or different aspect to your program this year?
“Developing internship opportunities for students to gain experience in a large distribution center.”
What are some of the more common pathways your students take when they leave CPAVTS?
“Forklift operators, order pickers, and dock workers.”
What particular training is offered that employers seek, that in turn helps students “get a foot in the door”?
“Forklift training and use of RFID- Radio Frequency Identification Scanners.”
Explain a typical day in your program.
“Receiving packages from UPS and FedEx shipments, loading and unloading tractor trailers, “picking” orders for teachers and practicing using the forklifts.”
What unit/topic do your students seem to struggle with the most, and why do you think that is?
“Performing the inventory on our stock, and for most of them it’s a lack of math skills.”
How many years have you been at CPAVTS?
“This is my 16th year at CPAVTS.”
“What was your experience before coming to CPAVTS?
“Cartage Supervisor for a large express delivery company. Warehouse Manager for an industrial supplier. Training Instructor for the U. S. Air Force.”
What advice would you give students who have completed your program?
“If you are able to operate a forklift, you will never be out of a job in Cumberland County.”
Program Spotlight- Students
Summarize what you learn in your program in one sentence.
“I learn a lot from my teacher and he is nice to us.”
“I learn about warehousing and the equipment used in a warehouse.”
“I learn how to work in the warehouses safely and know all the dangers within warehouses.”
“I learn proper lifting techniques and how to drive different forklifts.”
What is the hardest part of your program?
“Learning the different types of packages.”
“Wrapping boxed pallets.”
“Inventory is the hardest part.”
What is the most fun part of your program?
“Delivering packages throughout the building.”
What would be some recent technology that you are learning to use in your program?
“The scanner. Because you can put purchase order numbers into the computer. It is a lot easier than doing it on paper.”
What is your plan for after high school?
“After I graduate, I plan to go into the marines for four years, for combat logistics. I then plan to go to college to study something that relates to Logistics.”
“Get a house, a job, and then settle down to raise a family.”
“The plan right now is to get a job and save money.”
“I want to get my certification in Logistics and then work in a warehouse for a shipping company.”
What will be the highlight of the year in your program?
“Getting to go out on Co-op.”
“Getting my forklift certifications.”
“Hopefully it will be getting named Student of the Quarter.”
What are you proud of learning how to do in your program?
“The process of receiving and delivering packages.”
“Putting PO’s in the computer.”
“How to work with others.”
Explain a typical day in your program.
“Doing a little bit of classwork, including a warm-up, in the beginning of the day, and then for the remainder we are out working in the warehouse.”
How is your program at CPAVTS different from the classes you have had in the past?
“The class is more hands on, and it’s a longer period of doing what you are interested in, and learning a life skill.”
“I’ve never had a class like this, you really go in depth about the topic and skills.”
“It is real work compared to classes at your other school.”
What advice would you give to beginning Level 1 students starting out or to a student considering enrolling in the program?
“Pay attention, be respectful, and don’t drive like a careless person. You can learn a lot.”
“It is a lot of fun. As long as you are not afraid of hard work you will be fine.”
“Just work hard and stay determined.”
Senior Seminar Prepares Students for Work and for Life
CPAVTS prides itself on preparing its students to land good jobs after high school, but getting a job and keeping a job are two completely different things. That’s why, new this school year, all seniors attending Cumberland Perry are required to attend Senior Seminar, which seeks to make sure students not only gain employment, but also maintain it.
“The goal is to make them productive members of society,” said Lindsey Franson, the Senior Seminar instructor. “There are about twenty class sessions throughout the school year. The first half focuses on employability skills—interviewing (and how to dress for it!), constructing a resume, professionalism in the workplace, and other topics that will help them succeed. The second half is all about financial literacy—how to interpret paychecks, how to make a budget, how to live on your own, and other items.”
Students are treated as they would be in the real world, which means they’re responsible for all of their work without as much prodding as they might have received from their teachers in the past. But of course, that doesn’t mean Mrs. Franson isn’t standing by to offer advice or guidance! She also makes sure that her voice isn’t the only one her students hear in the classroom.
“In the second half of the year, I bring in guest speakers who are experts in their fields. For example, this year we have a representative from PSECU scheduled to talk to students about investing their money wisely, and Mr. Berkstresser (our Cooperative Education coordinator) will be offering my students the instruction he gives to his co-op students on understanding their paychecks, as well as understanding and paying taxes.”
If you think this course sounds dry despite its usefulness, think again! Students, like Dhara from Cumberland Valley School District, are excited to learn more about the topics covered.
“I’ve started recognizing that I think I have a lot of references, but I actually don’t. It’s encouraged me to develop better relationships with my teachers and classmates,” said Dhara. “And I’ve only had one job. I put together a resume, but I’m hoping to get my CNA after this, so learning how to actually write a resume is exciting!”
As part of the first half of the year, seniors put together a portfolio, which compiles all of their references, accomplishments, and other items needed to construct a good resume. Mrs. Franson helps them assemble the best possible portfolio by coordinating with the students’ program instructors and learning what certifications and other accomplishments they’ve achieved. In the second half, students create their own budget to live on and they hunt for apartments they can afford online so they not only have the tools to excel in the workplace, but also to thrive while living on their own. The ultimate goal of the class is to treat the students like adults so they are prepared to be adults after they graduate.
“I’m most interested in learning about managing finances,” Dhara said. “I’ve never had to do that before, but I will soon; it will be really useful to me!”
Whether they go straight into the workforce or pursue postsecondary education, CPAVTS wants to ensure that all of its students are prepared for wherever life takes them. Through Senior Seminar, they won’t just be ready to work and learn—they’ll be ready to take on any challenge!
October 2017 Rotary Students of the Month
Haley Weakland is a Cumberland Valley High School student in the Dental Assisting Program. She is a member of Health Students of America (HOSA), where she serves as Vice President, and is currently employed with Mack Hospitality. She is part of the Mini-thon at Cumberland Valley High School, has earned the Student of the Quarter commendation at CPAVTS, and made Honor Roll (also at CPAVTS). Haley plans to pursue her career further by attending Harrisburg Area Community College (HACC), and continuing her education in Dental Hygiene.
Anthony Cleary is a Big Spring High School student in the Electronics Technology Program. He is an officer in SkillsUSA at CPAVTS; as part of his involvement in the organization, he took 1st place in the SkillsUSA State Competition, and 12th place in the SkillsUSA National Competition. He has been named Student of the Quarter at CPAVTS and made Honor Roll. Anthony plans to further his career by attending the Pennsylvania College of Technology and majoring in Electronics and Computer Engineering Technology.
Hailey Dunn is a Red Land High School student in the Culinary Arts Program. She is a member of the West Shore School District Color Guard and CPAVTS’s National Technical Honor Society (NTHS). Her education at CPAVTS has also resulted in serving as a Student Ambassador, earning Student of the Quarter, and making Honor Roll. Hailey plans to follow her career pathway by applying to Penn Tech, Johnson & Wales, IUP, and the Culinary Institute of America. She will major in Culinary Arts.