The program is the first of a host of potential planned partnerships, and it's being trumpeted as a big win for the school district and local manufacturers.
District officials say it gives students a jump on learning real-life job skills. Business owners say the program grooms students for potential future careers in the local workforce at a time when industries nationally are battling the "skills gap"—a critical shortage of workers with the talents needed for precision work in manufacturing and technology fields.
"In our industry, there's just a great difficulty in getting people with CNC (computer numerical control) and other machining skills proficiency," Componex owner Cal Couillard said. "We're hiring people who are 25 years old who walk in, and they really don't have the skills. We have to start training them from scratch."
He said Edgerton's new school program could help close the skills gap by creating a solid local labor pool that starts with students who've mastered manufacturing skills early in life.