Students Forge Ahead with A-Tech

Students Forge Ahead with A-Tech
Posted on 03/09/2020
The clang of the hammer on the anvil echoes through the classroom. Two A-Tech students peer into the forge, watching the steel glow orange. They worked systematically over two class periods to make the top of a hammer.  Hammer

It takes a lot of patience to make something from a simple metal rod. It takes teamwork too.

One student holds the steel, occasionally inserting it back into the forge, while the other hammers the end to flatten and shape it.

These two students are both pursuing welding as a career, so they’re using their last few months of senior year to get more familiar with different techniques and equipment.

One senior already has a full-time job lined up, courtesy of his apprenticeship, and the other plans to pursue a welding certificate at Fox Valley Technical College.
A-Tech offers FVTC credits that directly transfer into the program of study that the student has chosen. The close relationship between FVTC instructors and A-Tech instructors allows for a smooth transition to FVTC beyond high school.

The school day features a mix of manufacturing-related courses in welding, machining, mechanical design, automated manufacturing and a mix of traditional core classes in math, science, English, and social studies. A-Tech students can choose their own focus in one of these areas in their junior and senior years and work to complete technical college credits. 
The A-Tech classrooms look more like the floors of real-world companies. Instead of rows of desks in the metals room, there are eight welding booths with 16 welders that expose the students to MIG, TIG, and stick welding. Students also have access to 6 manual lathes, 4 manual mills, and a new Haas CNC machining center. Fabrication equipment includes a CNC plasma cutter and numerous metal forming pieces of equipment that allow students to create projects that teach them the fundamentals of metal-working.

A-Tech students graduate ready for further schooling or to start a full-time job the week after graduation. They can produce and assemble structural metal products, read job orders and blueprints, and set up and use equipment to cut, shear, saw, form, roll, and bend metals.