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St. Thomas More High School awarded $50,000 grant to establish new manufacturing hub

St. Thomas More High School
Posted at 4:08 PM, Jan 25, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-25 17:08:10-05

MILWAUKEE — Students at St. Thomas More High School will soon be able to try their hands at manufacturing.

St. Thomas More was awarded a $50,000 grant by the Bucyrus Foundation of the Greater Milwaukee Foundation. That money will allow the school to establish the "Bucyrus Manufacturing Center" as the hub for the school's S.M.A.R.T. Manufacturing Program.

S.M.A.R.T. stands for Safety, Mechatronics, Automation, Robotics and Tools. The S.M.A.R.T. Program started up in 2020 and introduces students to manufacturing skills and processes, such as mechatronics, computer-aided design, laser engraving and 3-D printing.

It's a pretty popular course for St. Thomas More students, with about 80 students participating that first year.

"This generous grant from the Bucyrus Foundation will allow us to expand the program, providing students with additional hands-on opportunities in an environment that more closely resembles what they will experience in the professional world," says manufacturing teacher Ryan Laessig.

South Milwaukee has historically been a manufacturing center, with Bucyrus-Erie and Bucyrus International producing surfacing mining equipment there for 118 years. While manufacturing jobs look different today, staff at St. Thomas More say they want to ensure students are still prepared for those jobs.

After completing the course requirements and passing a proficiency exam, S.M.A.R.T. Manufacturing students can earn the Certified Production Technician Safety Certificate, which helps demonstrate to employers that they possess the knowledge and real world experiences needed for entry-level manufacturing jobs.

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