On the Road with Lauren: How a Door County High School Is Putting Jobs Back in the Community#District Stories
On a beautiful October day in Wisconsin, the On the Road team packed up the car and drove to Door County to visit Sevastopol School District. We traveled there to learn about the Door County Machining Program lab and see for ourselves how this program is benefiting both Door County students and the community.
Check out the video!
When we arrived, we met Garrett Sowl, the instructor who runs the program. As he showed us around the lab and began to explain the program, his passion for helping students grow and develop in this field was contagious.
We asked Garrett about his background and how he entered the machining industry. He shared that he’d served in the Navy as a machinist on an aircraft carrier. (It’s an important job—after all, if something breaks at sea, you can’t just Amazon Prime it there!)
Garrett went on to share the vision behind the Door County Machining Program—how it was designed to offer big wins for both students and the community. Thanks to its position on Lake Michigan, Door County is a prime location for shipbuilding. (You can learn more about its maritime history in this video.) This means computer numerical control (CNC) machining, which is used to build ships, is one of the fastest-growing industries in the county. But there are more jobs available than people qualified to fill them.
Through Sevastopol’s machining program, students can get hands-on experience learning to operate the machinery used in this field. They can find out if machining is a career they’d like to pursue and earn a full semester of college credits—all for free! With more students learning about this career path and gaining entry-level skills, it should help fill this employment gap in the county.
Garrett also told us about Sevastopol’s partnership with Northeast Wisconsin Technical College and several local businesses, which brought the dream of creating a machining program for high school students to reality. The program is not limited to students in Sevastopol—students from all Door County high schools are welcome to enroll.
We also talked with several students about their experience in the class. They were excited to share what they were learning and eager to demonstrate how to use the machines in the lab. We had a chance to watch them work and the projects they tackled were quite impressive. For instance, some students created parts on manual mills, while others entered codes into CNC machines to tell the machine how to make the parts.
We left Sevastopol feeling inspired by the passion of the staff, the excitement of the students, and the way the district saw a need in the community and created a unique opportunity for students to help fill it.
We wish this partnership between the district and the community all the best and encourage any students in the Door County area to check out the program!