As a result of a proposal written by metals teacher Mr. Alejandro Rodriguez, the Oswego High School Metals Department was granted $18,700 from the Tooling and Manufacturing Association (TMA). This money will be used to purchase two lathes, which are large machines used to shape metal. This grant will allow the program to thrive for many years to come.

Mr. Rodriguez, head of the metals program, currently teaches Metals 1, Metals 2, and Advanced Metals at OHS. His extensive background in the field helps him effectively teach students, as he has been teaching metals for five years and automotive technology for 15.

Rodriguez has allowed the metals program to expand greatly in recent years.

“He’s just done an incredible job. Our enrollment has skyrocketed and we are running our advanced level course now, which we never used to,” Mr. Dan Okoren, Division Chair for Career and Technical Education, said.

Senior Allan Ross shared similar feelings about Rodriguez’s positive impact on the program.

“The environment is nothing but positivity, because with a lot of people working comes a lot of teamwork,” Ross said.

Mr. Okoren credited Rodriguez with bringing the grant to OHS, speaking of his work ethic and determination with high regard.

“[Mr. Rodriguez] did everything. He sought it out, he found this grant through the TMA, he wrote the grant, etc,” Okoren said. “He worked with myself and other employees of our school district to make sure that it was going to give himself the best chance of being awarded the grant.”

Rodriguez estimates that the new lathes will last 30 to 40 years, showing how meaningful this grant is. With the addition of new machinery, the metals program will be able to continue operation far into the future.

“Every kid at every level will get to use them for generations to come,” Rodriguez said.

Ross recognized the great impact that this grant will have on students in the metals program, increasing the quality of their education.

“I feel very happy for the program… because give us better opportunities. We have used the same lathes for a very long time and to work with new ones will help us feel better due to how much we can appreciate what we are given,” Ross said.

Rodriguez also expressed great gratitude when speaking of the TMA and recognized their extensive work in the field.

“I just want to thank the TMA. They’ve been training and supporting machining since 1920,” Rodriguez said.

Okoren encourages students to explore the metals program and the promising future that the industry brings.

“Manufacturing is a really hot industry right now because the economy is doing well. There is a shortage of skilled laborers, so there is a lot of demand for skilled workers in manufacturing,” Okoren said.

For information on how to get involved with the OHS metals department, contact Alejandro Rodriguez at arodriguez@sd308.org.

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