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Written by CAROL POMEDAY   
Wednesday, 28 December 2011 18:04

Cedarburg company donates $26,000 lathe to technical-ed center

The new technical-education center at Cedar Grove-Belgium High School will soon have a new $26,000 computerized Haas TL Series lathe courtesy of Carlson Tool in Cedarburg.

The lathe is similar to the one Carlson uses to train its employees. Over the past three years, the company has donated more than $3,000 in measurement tools.A BROCHURE DESCRIBING the Haas TL Series CNC lathe donated by Carlson Tool of Cedarburg was admired by (from left) Cedar Grove-Belgium School Supt. Steve Shaw, Carlson Tool plant manager Ron Klas, technical-education teacher Fred Nicora and High School Principal Larry Theis. The lathe, which will arrive in January, is similar to one used by Carlson Tool to train its machinists. The company also participates in the school’s co-op work-experience program.           Photo by Sam Arendt

“When you think of all the schools around Carlson, it’s so cool that they’re helping us,” Supt. Steve Shaw said. “They have been great. They’ve placed our students there and now they give us this. We have to buy the tools for it, which is less than $1,000.

“What M&R (Service Center in Cedar Grove) did for us (by donating a vehicle lift) and now Carlson Tool. They must like what we do.”

They do like what the school district is doing, said Ron Klas, Carlson’s plant manager who recently toured the school’s new technical-education center.   

“We’ve been working with the co-op program for several years and it’s really working out for us,” Klas said. “Four of their students are here now. The kids talk to their friends and there are students who aren’t in the co-op program working here.

“Carlson Tool is dedicated to getting manufacturing back in the schools again. We knew they had the tech-ed center put up there and we wanted to help.”

Finding trained machinists is difficult, Klas said.

“Years ago, we used to have a lot of machinists out there,” he said. “But for a long time, high schools have been prepping students for college, and a lot of kids fell by the wayside. We need to make sure we have a good workforce.

“One nice thing about Cedar Grove is it’s growing, and it seems they’re focused on getting the program going.”

While the machine is expensive for the school district, Klas said, the cost pales in comparison to the machines that cost $1 million or more that the company uses.

“Those kids need good equipment to work with. Working with old beat-up equipment isn’t going to get them anywhere,” Klas said.

He expects the lathe to arrive in late January.

Klas is working with the technical-education staff in developing curriculum.

In addition to the Carlson donation, an anonymous donor provided a large, flat-screen TV for the high-school cafeteria that serves as a message board and a $50 cash card to purchase DVDs, including one on World War II and another on 9/11, Shaw said.

The donor also gave supplies to each school to give to students who cannot afford the items. Shaw estimated the supplies cost $500.

“He periodically comes up to me and says, ‘What can we do now?’” Shaw said.

“This is truly the best time of the year. We must be doing something right, and people are noticing.”

 
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