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Southmont, Ivy Tech roll out welding program for students

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A welding program developed by Southmont High School and Ivy Tech Community College is attracting more participants than expected.

Mike Tricker, director of operations of Ivy Tech Crawfordsville, said Monday at Southmont’s most recent public session that the budding program has twice as many students enrolled as planned.

And it’s a good problem to have, he said.

“The enrollment continues to increase, so it’s going to be exciting to see what that count will be. And it’s definitely nice to see this go from a concept to a reality,” Tricker said. “Not only in the current position I have, but in the former position I had as the principal at Southmont, I’ve seen that there was a group of our students that needed to benefit from what this instruction will offer. There’s a lot of positive things that will be occurring.”

Originally designed for about four students, the class currently has eight participants enrolled with more anticipated before it begins Jan. 16.

Alan Clifton, industrial technology at Southmont, will instruct the course.

“When we look at the adult workforce, I think we’re going to be able to give the opportunity to develop a whole new skill set for unskilled workers,” he said in December.

The course, set to run 16 weeks, was initially proposed in February 2019 as a way to help interested Southmont students pursue a career in welding. And with manufacturing comprising nearly a quarter of Montgomery County’s workforce, Tricker said this program is one way to ensure successful careers.

“It’s a long-term investment, and I believe we will start seeing some of the benefits,” Tricker said. “When we’re looking at attracting industry to our community, the ability for our school board to reach out and say that we are looking to invest in what’s needed, will be the first portion of many things to come.”

The partnership between the two schools may produce a number of programs in time, he added. From Manufacturing to maintenance, there are many ways to help students develop the necessary skills to be successful in life.

Board member George Spencer asked if welding trays and other safety equipment had been installed, citing potential damage to the facility floor or injuries to the students.

“Nucor has stepped up to offer the metal needed for that,” Tricker replied, “and with powered connections that could be a risk factor. That will definitely be on the fast-track to be taken care of. It’s coming together quite nicely.”

Ivy Tech will be providing the curriculum and any materials involved in the program. Tricker and others involved will also be reaching out to local businesses as potential sponsors.

Classes begin Thursday, Jan. 16 with a capacity of 15 participants. For more information about the program, contact Ivy Tech at 765-359-0570 or Southmont at 765-866-2023.

In other business, the board:

• Conducted its annual election of officers. They include: Brad Monts, president; Daryl Hutson, vice president; Jerry Kinkead, secretary; and Julie Hess, assistant secretary. Others include: Kristin Charles, corporation treasurer; Dan Taylor of Taylor, Chadd, Minnette, Schneider and Clutter PC, corporation attorney; Dr. John Roberts, medical advisor; Hess, Indiana School Board Association liaison; and Eric Mason, policy liaison.

• The board approved the use of Southmont’s fieldhouse and gymnasium from May 8-10 for prom and after prom.

• Heard the first reading of NEOLA policy updates.

• Approved a donation to Walnut Elementary in the amount of $540.87.

• Approved the hire, transfer, resignation and termination of respective employees Monday. They include: Jordan Hatch, terminated as high school paid assistant swim coach and junior high paid head swim coach; Joani Stetler, resignation from Walnut Little Mountie Preschool; Kelly Shannon, transfer from New Market Elementary to Walnut Little Mountie Preschool; Meghan Hall, hire as New Market Elementary teacher; and Lavanna Perdue, hire as transportation assistant. Coaches hired or approved as volunteers included: Erin McCandless, junior high swimming and diving assistant; Stefanie Line, junior high swimming and diving coach assistant; Desson Hannum, varsity boys’ and girls’ track head coach; Brad Acton, varsity track assistant coach; Phillip Keller, varsity track assistant coach; Jeremiah Sparks, varsity track assistant coach; Dan Taylor, varsity softball head coach; Chet Remley, varsity softball assistant coach; Kathryn Yoakum, junior varsity softball head coach; John Warren, varsity softball assistant coach; Barry Lewis, varsity softball assistant coach; Rob Reimondo, varsity girls’ tennis head coach; Pat Reimondo, varsity girls’ tennis assistant coach; Bill Whalen, varsity boys head coach; and Brad Wininger, varsity baseball head coach.

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