REYNOLDSVILLE – State Rep. and Speaker of the House Sam Smith was at Jeff Tech on Feb. 14 for a luncheon and tour of several of the CTE programs.
Smith played an integral role in creating a grant opportunity, which provided new equipment for the school. The luncheon was held in the restaurant operated by the culinary CTE program at Jeff Tech.
Marsha Welsh, director of the school, invited four students who were enrolled in the programs that benefitted from grants to attend the luncheon. They talked about the value of receiving the equipment. Following the luncheon, Smith and the group toured the programs to see a demonstration of the equipment.
Jasmine Smith, a junior culinary student, showed Smith the Hobart Legacy mixer that was purchased for her program with the grant money. She explained that the size of mixer was ideal for a variety of uses and could be automated using a timer so that while ingredients were mixing, students could complete other tasks and save time.
In Machine Trades, Dylan Berkey, a sophomore machine shop student, showed Smith the new surface grinder purchased for his shop. This piece of equipment is used in precision finishing and is found at some local powdered metal companies. It is a benefit to the students to be learning on the same type of equipment they will be expected to operate when they enter the job force.
The group toured the welding and metal fabrication shop, where a student, sophomore Calvin Palmer, discussed with Smith the Pipe Worx Welding System that his shop will be purchasing with the second equipment grant. The Pipe Worx Welding System is faster and produces higher quality pipe welds.
Fabrication companies that work with the welding and metal fabrication program have encouraged the instructor to consider purchasing this piece of welding equipment. They felt it was advantageous for the students to know how to operate this equipment.
In the computer technology program, junior Luke Shaffer showed Smith the computer cart and 25 Android tablets purchased for his CTE program. These tablets are being used by the students to build mobile applications.
When Shaffer was asked why this purchase was necessary, he stated that, “mobile is the future,” and preparing students for the future is exactly what Jeff Tech had in mind when they applied for the grant.
Each piece of equipment was purchased to update the technology that the students use so that they are trained to use equipment and have skills that are relevant in today’s competitive job market.
Smith stated that he was pleased to see the money being used to keep students current in their CTE programs. He also stated that, “We’re excited about vocational education.” Smith’s dedication to vocational education has been apparent throughout his career and he continues to show his support by helping to create equipment grants, such as the one received by Jeff Tech and by taking time out of his busy schedule to meet with the students and staff who are directly benefitting from the grant.
To show appreciation to Smith, he was presented with a 50-pound metal groundhog sculpture and thank you plaque, which was hand-crafted by the welding and metal fabrication students.