The SCILL Center vocational welding students are diligently working to improve on their new trade, and Executive Director Jerry Gurrado explained that 10 of the 16 vocational welding students have earned their certifications – something Gurrado said he’s very thrilled about. The students are currently about six months ahead in their training and Gurrado attributed their success in their studies to instructor Andy Odle.
For those interested in picking up a new skill, the SCILL Center is now taking applications for their next adult welding class, which Executive Director Jerry Gurrado said is right around the corner. The class kicks off on May 6, and Gurrado said that the local WorkOne office has already received a number of applications. Applications can be obtained by calling the SCILL Center or WorkOne, and Gurrado strongly encourages everyone to contact WorkOne to take advantage of training dollars available to lessen the expense.
The House of Representatives recently passed a bill seeking to make it easier for high school students to find high-wage, high-demand jobs through career, vocational, and technical educational opportunities, but one area vocational director has his concerns about the bill.
Governor Mike Pence hailed the passage of the Indiana Works Councils Bill, which he said demonstrates the commitment of Hoosiers to make career and vocational education a priority in every high school. The bill integrates local and state resources by creating regional Indiana Works Councils with membership including representation from employers and educators.
The SCILL Center has announced that it will soon begin its classes on computer software, including PowerPoint, Word, and Quick Books. The classes will be held at the Starke County Economic Development Foundation at 1915 S. Heaton St. in Knox, and registration is required.
The Introduction to Quick Books class kicks off on Friday, Feb. 1 and 8, from 8:30 a.m. to noon. The second class will take place on Friday, April 12 and 19, from 8:30 a.m. to noon as well. The training doesn’t stop there, however, as the SCILL Center is also offering an intermediate class for Quick Books software on Friday, March 15 from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Lunch is provided for the intermediate class.
The SCILL Center announced this week that in the short time since they became a GED testing site and held their first test on Oct. 27, they’ve had four more test sessions with 27 people seeking their GEDs. Executive Director Jerry Gurrado explained the next test is Feb. 6 and 7 from 5 to 9 p.m. at the SCILL Center, and registration is required ahead of time.
Welding students in the SCILL Center’s vocational welding program will soon be traveling from the classroom to internship programs, as several of the students will begin their internships at local businesses within the next week. Director Jerry Gurrado said that he wasn’t expecting any of the students to take any kind of certification test until around April, but he has already seen three high school students obtain their first certification.
The SCILL Center has announced one of its proudest accomplishments to date: Director Jerry Gurrado said that 10 of the 10 students that enrolled in the adult welding class have received their American Welding Society certificates. While the national average is somewhere between 47 and 52 percent, Gurrado said the center is currently boasting a 100 percent average of those who completed the course and went on to receive their certification.
Next time you go to wipe the snow off your car, be courteous – get all of the snow off your vehicle to prevent it from whipping around your car as you drive down the road, worsening the visibility for those behind you.
Ron Dawson of the SCILL Center said one of the key things that most people do not do in the winter time that could prevent an accident is to clean off the car completely. Snow flying off your car can obstruct the view of drivers behind you and cause an accident. On top of that, Dawson encourages drivers to wipe their lights clean from snow and ice to improve visibility.
A Culver Community High School student was honored recently as the SCILL Center vocational welding class Student of the Month. Isaac Haimbaugh was selected based on classroom performance in addition to performance in the welding lab, a great attendance record, stellar cooperation with other students, and all the hard work he’s put into the program.
Welding Instructor Andrew Odle said the decision was tough, but Haimbaugh really set the bar high for the other students. With a number of very gifted students in the running, Odle said any of them would have been a great selection, but Haimbaugh earned his award.
The SCILL Center in cooperation with Vincennes University hosted an open house yesterday evening at the Knox Middle School for their welding program. Director Jerry Gurrado was quick to decline any credit for the program; rather, Gurrado said it was an unbelievable cooperative effort that made the welding program a possibility.
Gurrado explained that an overwhelming number of organizations and businesses came together to bring the welding program to life. The Starke County Economic Development Foundation, the welding subcommittee, the superintendents of area schools, the Vocational Co-Op, SCILL board members, the Center for Workforce Innovation – the list goes on and on. Even Vincennes University helped to make the program a success, as the provided not only a day instructor, but also a night instructor and textbooks for the course. The Starke County Commissioners played a role; KVREMC, NIPSCO, and factories like Sabre, Kruze, Galbreath, Braun, and countless others helped shape the welding program.
The SCILL Center made quite an impact on the shelves of the Starke County Food Pantry during their food drive held last month. Director Jerry Gurrado said they raised a total of 500 pounds for the pantry through their Car Care Clinic and through the assistance of students and staff, as well as several local businesses who decided to join in on the effort.
Gurrado explained that they received a financial contribution from First Farmers Bank in Knox, and Save A Lot donated a massive amount of canned goods as well. Gurrado said it was a very touching moment when they delivered the quarter-ton of goods to the pantry.
It may be warmer than usual for November, but that doesn’t mean bitter winter weather is far. In light of that, the SCILL Center is extending their coat drive through the second week of December to allow more coats to be donated for those in need throughout the area.
SCILL Center Director Jerry Gurrado said that they set a record last year with 751 coats collected, despite the fact that it was a mild winter. Because a number of coats had been left over, the SCILL Center gave the extra coats to local churches for distribution. Gurrado said it would be fantastic to have that overwhelming support again this year, but he’s got his concerns.
The SCILL Center is staying busy, and this week they’re kicking off their Commercial Driver’s License classes. SCILL Center Director Jerry Gurrado said the six-week program will assist those who are interested in earning their CDL, with two weeks of in-classroom learning followed by two weeks of truck operation. The final two weeks, Gurrado explained, would consist of learning on the road.
The SCILL Center students are set to rake leaves for residents who are elderly or physically handicapped. This community project will be on Saturday, November 3.
If you would like to be on the list, call Knox Mayor Rick Chambers at 772-4553 to submit your name. The students will rake up to 15 yards. Your residence will be taken care of on a first come, first served basis that day.
The SCILL Center is definitely staying busy with events planned throughout the end of the year. This week, the center is hosting a Food For Friends Car Care Clinic, which Director Jerry Gurrado said serves a double purpose: it raises money for the Starke County Food Pantry and gives drivers the chance to have their vehicle checked out for free!
“It’s actually a pretty unique and very neat situation, where you can come in here to the SCILL Center any time between 8 o’clock and 4 p.m., central time, we put a diagnostic on your vehicle, run a complete check-up, we’ll top off the fluids, we’ll give you a checklist of whatever the necessity might be. And then you get the option of taking it to wherever your own dealership or garage is,” explained Gurrado.
The SCILL Center is pleased to announce the Student-of-the-Month recipients for the month of September.
Mason Barlow, a home-schooled student and Meagan Ray from Knox High School were the AM class recipients of the award. Michael Day from Argos High School and Mikinzie Wilson from Knox High School were the PM class recipients of the award.
The Student-of-the-Month is chosen by the AutoTech instructors, Rodney Dawson and Mark Anderson, based on the student’s test scores, class participation, attitude, attendance and initiative in the shop.
During their meeting this week, the Knox Community School Board spotlighted the welding program. The newly-designed program is being taught in the Knox Middle School.
Superintendent A.J. Gappa said Jerry Gurrado from the SCILL Center gave a report on the program which is getting off to a good start.
The SCILL Center will be partnering with WKVI and First Farmer’s Bank on Oct. 16 and 18 to present the “Food for Friends” Car Check.
All proceeds from this event will benefit the Community Services of Starke County Food Pantry. Bring in one can or package of food to the SCILL Center and receive a free pre-winter inspection from SCILL Center students. This inspection will include an anti-freeze, battery, belt, and tire wear check. Attendees will also receive coupons from local auto supply stores.
The SCILL Center students will be participating in their annual community project on Saturday, Oct. 13.
Knox Mayor Rick Chambers said that the students will be raking leaves for those who are physically unable to do so. The students have raked yards for the elderly and the physically challenged in the past and will do so again on Oct. 13.
If you would like to have the students help you at your house, call Knox Mayor Rick Chambers at 772-4553 to put your name on the list. Fifteen households will be included in this project and it is conducted on a first come, first served basis.
The SCILL Center auto tech class is in full swing, with more than 50 kids taking the class split between morning and afternoon sessions. SCILL Center Director Jerry Gurrado says their enrollment is up this year from roughly 40 kids last year, but that’s not the only good news coming from the center.
Gurrado says they’ve also begun their welding vocational classes with a full enrollment. He says the class started on Aug. 14, and boasts a total of 16 students for its first year. On Sept. 10, the welding lab will host adult welding classes on Mondays and Wednesdays, which Gurrado says will ultimately end with a certification test for the students. Gurrado says this is a very important class, as there is an acute need for welders in this area, the immediate surrounding area, and nationally.