A new program at Sparta High School will allow students the opportunity to earn a CNC Operators Certificate from Western Technical College during their senior year. Those enrolled in Custom Fabrication would receive the Western diploma and their Sparta High diploma at the time of their high school graduation.
This is the second program the Sparta Area School District has partnered with Western and local industry leaders to train high school students in high demand fields and provide mentorship and field experiences. The school district also offers Partners in Prosperity, a high school welding program that graduated its first cohort in 2016.
“We understand that the pursuit of a four year college degree is not desirable or appropriate for every high school graduate, and that there are excellent opportunities in skilled trades that are in high demand,” Superintendent John Hendricks said. “The Sparta Area School District is proud to provide a convenient pathway to some of these careers for students.”
“The offering of these technical programs in collaboration with Western Technical College represents the Sparta Area School District’s belief that all education and training beyond the high school diploma helps students and the community. The six-credit CNC certificate provides essential training to enter the workforce and allows students to apply credits toward an additional diploma or associate degree program after high school,” said Elizabeth Dostal, District Director of Instruction.
The new computer numerical control operator program is partially funded by a $75,000 Wisconsin Fast Forward Blueprint for Prosperity High School Pupil Workforce Training grant awarded to the Sparta Area School District from the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development. Additional funding will come from the District’s referendum dollars and other District funds.
A classroom renovation is underway that includes the purchase of a new CNC machine and upgrades to existing equipment as well as new computers for lab use. Industry partners helped to form an advisory board to ensure students would be working with equipment found in technical colleges and on shop floors.
The first cohort will begin Sept. 2.
Sparta Area School District teachers will be trained to teach the Western Technical College curriculum.