SOUTH WHITLEY — Offering students the chance to gain real-world trade skills is a mission of Jay Ocken, a vocational instructor for Whitko High School’s Industrial Technology program.
A new machine, donated by a local manufacturing company, will take Ocken one step closer to his goal.
“We are helping students become work ready,” said Ocken at a May school board meeting. “A lot of these students will have earned credit to help them further their education in college. Some of them will have learned enough here that they can start working right after to school and make a decent wage.”
Students recently assembled the newly donated tool called a GoTorch.
The torch is a CNC plasma cutting machine cuts virtually any flat shape out of sheet metal or heavy plate.
With help from the Whitley County Community Foundation’s HANDS organization, WHS was able to upgrade the current hand held plasma cutting machine to use with the GoTorch system.
However, not all is finished. According to Ocken, the Industrial Technology program still needs and exhaust system to vent air in the work area, a water table to be placed underneath the machine to catch sparks and dust, a computer tower to run software among other things.
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