My last blog post was addressed to Crook County (Oregon) High School officials and others who could help decide the fate of vocational and technical programs in the U.S., which often are the first items on the chopping block when funding for education is tight. It featured an item from News/Talk 1110 KBND, Bend, Ore., about a high school metal and welding class that likely will be cut in next year's budget. The Oregon State champs (pictured) in the Skills USA Competition came from this class.
That post ended with a request to forward it to those who might be able to help preserve voc-tech programs not only in Crook County, but all across the U.S. In one of those coincidences that remind us just how small our world is, one of my colleagues received an e-mail yesterday from the Crook County High School metals/welding instructor quoted in my post. His current students have a more immediate need than preserving the program. Maybe you can help.
The e-mail said, "My name is Dan Holland, and I am the metals/welding shop instructor at Crook County High School in Prineville, Ore. Recently three of my students competed in the team fabrication competition at the state Skills USA competition in Albany, Ore. These students won first place out of 18 teams from Oregon that competed. This win qualified them to compete at Skills USA nationals in Kansas City, Mo., in June.
"We need help to get them there and have been looking for local contributions, but as you know, the economy is against us and as the unemployment rate is over 21 percent in Crook County, we are reaching out to the industry leaders in the trade. We need to raise $6,000 to get us there to compete. We would greatly appreciate any contribution that you feel your company could make to this cause. Let's support our tradesmen of the future. We thank you for your consideration."
As we all know, school budgets aren't the only budgets under the paring knives. Companies and households worldwide are looking for ways to decrease expenditures. Running a lean business or household, even in the most affluent times, is always wise. Throwing the baby out with the bath water isn't. In this case, the baby is voc-tech programs, along with their students, our future tradesmen and women. Instead of getting rid of the programs, we should be supporting them and supporting those who are enthusiastically pursuing careers in welding and metalworking. They are part of our family, and family takes care of its own.
Here's the deal. If you can contribute toward helping these students compete in the national Skills USA competition, send your contribution, payable to Crook County High School Welding Fund, to Dan Holland, Crook County High School, 1100 SE Lynn Blvd., Prineville, OR 97754. You may reach Holland by phone at 541-416-6900, ext. 3133, or by e-mail at email@example.com.
If you can't contribute, you can help by forwarding this blog post to your industry contacts. Click the "Send to a Friend" button at the top of the right-hand column on this page. Any person or company that contributes and lets me know will be mentioned in a future blog post. I don't need to know the amount of your contribution—just that you helped these students and our industry. In my opinion, those who help deserve a standing ovation.