The welding program at Central Lakes College in Brainerd received steel valued at more than $9,000 from two area businesses, Clow Stamping of Merrifield and Graphics Packaging of Crosby.
"We couldn't operate without these contributions of both stainless and regular steel, as well as aluminum regularly donated by Crestliner in Little Falls," said Russ Jenkins, instructor. "Year in and year out it adds up to about $100,000 worth of material."
Jenkins said the latest donations are especially appreciated because of the higher price of steel.
"The savings for the college enables our program to purchase new technology," Jenkins said. "In the last six years, I've been able to upgrade equipment, adding such tools as the computerized plasma cutter."
Welding students Scott Martin (left) of Brainerd and Zak Enberg of Aitkin selected steel recently donated to the Central Lakes College program that benefits from the generosity of area businesses.
Students benefiting include those in regular welding classes, as well as those from programs such as marine and small engine and the evening courses offered through the Business and Industry Center.
"It is in our best interest - Clow Stamping - and manufacturers in general to continue to support the two-year technical schools," said Reggie Clow. "We need future graduates to come work with us."
The Welding Advisory Board of area business partners continues to contribute input on program improvement, Jenkins said. State inspection officials have credited the large welding shop for its cleanliness, a reputation Jenkins said is important in sustaining community support for material donations and advisory board volunteers.
The latest donations include $4,000 in steel from Clow Stamping directed by Steve Bible and $5,200 worth of stainless steel from Graphic Packaging with the help of Ken Miller.
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