- Sponsorship -

At KTC manufacturing lab, students learn job skills by doing them

Products donated to schools


Tyler Senneker, a junior student in the Manufacturing Program at the Kent Transition Center, comes from a long line of tradesmen. It was at home that he first embraced his passion for hands-on learning.

“Ever since I was little, I liked to build and work with materials,” Tyler said. “It’s what I want to do forever.”

Tyler dreams of a professional trade, a dream that instructor David Albert understands on a personal level. With more than 20 years of building experience, a manufacturing business and a background in woodshop education, Albert wants to give students the opportunity to build skills before heading to employers.

The 18-month-old manufacturing lab simulates the experience of being on-the-job to help students (many with learning disabilities or special needs) get ready for an entry level manufacturing position. During each class period, participants learn the use of professional tools, communication, safety and shop floor expectations.

The curriculum focuses around community service projects throughout the year, with the current project being standing desks for fidgeting learners. All of the desks made in the classroom are then donated to schools in Kent County.

“The desks allow students to jiggle and move parts of the desks without disturbing others around them,” Albert said. “We’re getting a lot of interest in these.”

So far, students in the program have made and donated 130 wiggle-friendly desks.

“They’re not just building something and taking it apart and then putting it back together again,” Albert said. “They’re building a community service project.”

Tyler Senneker sands down his board in the lab

Using Their Products

Students also use these desks themselves. Instead of sitting in their classroom, they stand at desks they created to get used to the physical requirements of this field.

“I thought there was going to be a lot of backlash from students because they would have to stand for hours, but we haven’t had a single complaint yet,” Albert said. “They know that all of this is industry-related.”

For Tyler Jackson, junior, his learning in the classroom is already impacting his life outside.

“We learn how to fix things in the shop and then I’m able to help fix things at home because of it,” he said. “This class makes me even more excited for the mechanical field I want to join.”

Albert’s favorite part about the class is watching the teaching moments between students.

“We could go in there and teach the students how to do everything, but when students help other students, they’re learning from both showing and doing things themselves,” he said. “You can learn all about the manufacturing industry, but until you’re in the shop, hearing the noise and feel the machines, it’s not real.

“These are kids who want to be here and who want to learn,” he added. “In turn, these are the kids that we want to send off to employers.”

Now near the end of the year, students have almost finished making toy lawn mowers and baby strollers for members of the community in need.

Duane Kiley, building administrator, has noticed the progress of the new program.

“Albert is working on some really great things with these students,” Kiley said. “They are passionate and it shows.”

“They’re having a good time and learning, that’s the goal.” Albert said. “That’s why I’m here, for the kids.”

CONNECT

Kent Transition Center

- Sponsorship -
Hannah Lentz
Hannah Lentz
A 2017 graduate of Grand Valley State University and a lifelong teacher’s kid, Hannah Lentz has worked as a journalist in and outside the Grand Rapids area for more than five years. After serving as editor-in-chief at the GVSU student newspaper, Hannah interned at the Leelanau Enterprise where she learned a lot about community journalism. In addition to her work for School News Network, Hannah has worked as a freelance blogger in the furniture industry, focusing on design trends, and as a social media manager for World Medical Relief in Detroit.

LATEST ARTICLES

Longtime volunteer does whatever’s needed for school: ‘I love being here’

A 24-year parent and grandparent volunteer tends to student and family needs at Martin Luther King Jr. Leadership Academy...

Lessons from a pandemic: ‘agile learners’ need ‘agile adults’

Reflecting on the end of fall semester and 2020, Superintendent Dedrick Martin sat down with School News Network to discuss how Caledonia adapted to school closures, virtual learning and social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic...

It’s all about getting students back to classrooms, Supt. Shibler says of the vaccine

Superintendent Michael Shibler hopes the more people get vaccinated, the closer we are to the end of the pandemic...

Young constitutional scholars view current events, politics through historical lens

East Grand Rapids and East Kentwood high school We the People team members have qualified for the national competition, becoming well versed in civics and critical thinking along the way...

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Related Articles

‘Hope on the horizon’ as local teachers start getting COVID-19 vaccine

Lincoln School special education teacher, Ann Post believes there is 'hope on the horizon' for Kent ISD teachers and educators across Kent County after receiving her first round of the COVID-19 vaccine...

Partnership continues focus on student emotional, mental health

A group is working to identify trauma and provide support early in order to increase student success...

A familiar face returns to lead Kent ISD

Retired Kent ISD Assistant Superintendent Ron Koehler officially took the helm as interim superintendent on Jan. 1...
- Sponsorship -

HOW'S SCHOOL TODAY?

Engagement: The Most Important Measure of Student Success

Polls find that students’ engagement in their school work declines as they ascend the grades. Tests that don’t relate to their real-life experiences exacerbate the problem...

RADEMACHER & FRIENDS

Food ‘angels’ support hungry kids through pandemic

They work all across Kent County, guardian angels with peanut butter on their hands and crumbs on their shirtsleeves...
- Sponsorship -

MEDIA PARTNERS

Maranda Where You LiveWGVU

SUSTAINING SPONSORS