The Engineering & Technical Education classrooms at Portage High School will be receiving a makeover, thanks to a generous grant awarded by the City of Portage Redevelopment Commission.
The $100,000 grant will outfit the PHS Manufacturing Lab, Construction Lab, and STEM Multi-Lab. Upgrades to the labs include tools, machinery, and technology to benefit the manufacturing, construction, Project Lead the Way, engineering, computer integrated manufacturing, industrial technology, advanced manufacturing, and automation and robotics pathways and courses. There are 1,700 students enrolled in these courses in grades 6-12.
The Portage RDC 2021 Education Challenge Grant Program supports projects that “enhance problem solving, collaboration, and analytical skills needed for 21st Century global economy jobs,” according to the grant application. PHS Engineering & Technical Education department chair John Kappes said the grant was written to mirror the community and address the need for skilled workers in our Portage-based businesses.
Their labs, Kappes said, are currently outdated with equipment that has reached the end of its lifespan. With the new equipment, Kappes and his fellow ETE teachers can appropriately train and prepare PHS students to obtain jobs within our local manufacturing, construction, and engineering industries.
Kappes said his department, which includes fellow PHS teachers Matthew Barbosa, Brenden Horner, Jakob Kerr, James Kirk, and Nathaniel Thompson, are excited for the possibilities that the grant has brought to their program.
“The teachers understand their purpose,” Kappes said. “They get to bolster the Portage community and help the students stay here and get going after high school.”
Ultimately, Kappes hopes that the facility upgrade will “open opportunities for students to earn and acquire professional industry certifications, experience and solve real-world problems, partner with local business and industry for collaborative product ventures, and develop marketable skill sets transportable to many areas upon graduation.”
The replacement project for the three ETE labs is set to begin this school year.