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Josiah Kelley, a master trainer in SEDCOR's Industrial Maintenance Operator/Mechanic program unloads a welder Dec. 6 in Perrydale.
December 31, 2012
PERRYDALE -- This winter, Perrydale's metal shop class will be creating more than just assignments.
Students could be building the start of a career through a unique partnership with Salem's Strategic Economic Development Corporation (SEDCOR) and machinery manufacturer GK Machine.
Based in Donald, GK Machine donated stainless steel welders to three schools, Perrydale being one, through SEDCOR's Industrial Maintenance Operator/Mechanic Training (IMOM) program.
The program was created in partnership with Chemeketa Community College to help train the region's next generation of industrial workforce members.
More than 30 businesses were interviewed through the program to identify skills needed for future workers. Those skills are taught through the program's "master trainers" to potential workers, in this case Perrydale High School students.
"It's all based on skill development," said Nick Harville, SEDCOR's IMOM manager.
Harville said manufacturing businesses in the area will soon be lacking qualified workers as baby boomers retire. The goal of the program is to build interest among young workers in the kinds of jobs those businesses are offering.
"Companies are starting to feel it," Harville said. "People are starting to retire. There is an incredible opportunity now. We are getting their workforce ready."
The welders will be used to manufacture carts used to carry materials in GK's factory. Students in Perrydale's metal shop class will build them, gaining experience with heavy-duty stainless steel welding, while providing GK with a key element to its manufacturing process. GK will also provide the steel necessary to build the carts, Harville said.
Master Trainer Josiah Kelley, the president of Silverton's Seven Brides Brewing, will teach the students to weld using stainless steel.
Kelley said he got involved in the IMOM program to help drive student interest in local career possibilities.
"It's something I feel pretty strongly about," he said. "There may be more opportunity for them than they've ever been exposed to."
He added there are a surprising number of manufacturers in Polk and Marion counties working on projects most people are unaware of. He said one example is a company in West Salem building parts for military aircraft.
"That goes unnoticed, but all of them have jobs," he said.
Ashley Richards, Perrydale's agriculture teacher, said students in the school's metal shop class will begin working on the carts later this winter.
The donated welder, the school's third, will provide students with more opportunity to work on projects and skill building, she said.
Richards added the IMOM partnership project in particular is exciting because it is more than just a class assignment.
"They (students) will have that ownership and be able to say they built carts for GK Machine," she said.