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Donation to Expand Clear Lake Schools' Industrial Program

A $195,000 donation from a local senior citizens center will help Clear Lake Community School District in Iowa add an instructor to its industrial program, which offers technical training in a skilled-trades field.

Students in technical vocational training with teacher
(TNS) — Funds from the sale of the Senior Citizens Center building in Clear Lake, Iowa, are being used to support the expansion of a STEM-related program at the high school.

Clear Lake Superintendent Doug Gee was recently approached by board members of the local Senior Citizens Center, who asked what areas within the district could use a boost in funding. With that, the board took note, and the district's industrial tech program will receive $195,000.

Clear Lake's industrial and apprenticeship programs have been growing in popularity, providing learning opportunities to students in the fields of welding, construction, and mechanics. Currently, there are a handful of students who participate in onsite training through Dean Snyder Construction and IMT in Garner.

Gee said the plan is to use the money to hire another instructor for the program.

Instructor Dave Brown teaches all of the industrial classes for Clear Lake schools and manages the students in the apprenticeship program. Brown said a new hire would help take a few things off of his workload.

"(The donation) will allow us to hire another instructor and give more opportunities to students," said Brown.

Brown and Gee said the industrial programs provide resources to kids who aren't interested in pursuing a four-year degree, but would prefer receiving technical training in a skilled-trades field.

"[The board] likes the idea (of the industrial program). The majority of the board members grew up on a farm, so they liked the idea of [supporting] kids who didn't want to go to college and [would rather] go into construction," said Gee.

Both Brown and Gee hope that a new hire could actually help expand industrial classes within Clear Lake Middle School. Brown said these courses would give kids basic skills, even if they have no interest in going into the program in high school.

Gee added as the industrial programs expand, there are also hopes to expand in agricultural education. "I told them we are getting to a point where we might need another Ag teacher. Not yet, but some day," said Gee.

Brown said his hope for the future of the industrial program is for it to just continue to grow. "I just want to send as many kids to IMT and Dean Snyder as possible. A good problem would be them saying 'we can't take any more kids,'" said Brown.

Alongside the donation to the industrial tech program, the district will receive an additional $100,000 to help fund educational field trips for students. Remaining proceeds from the building sale will be used to establish scholarships for Clear Lake students.

"I think the donation is a true testament to the support that Clear Lake schools has from the community," said Gee. "If there was a program that needed help, the community has come through."

©2021 Globe Gazette, Mason City, Iowa. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.