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Supporting education: an AFS chapter's story.

Throughout its 56-year history, the Wisconsin Chapter of the American Foundrymen's Society has been active in supporting education at a variety of levels, both within and outside normal chapter activities

One example of the group's ongoing endorsement of continuing education for its members is a series of chapter sponsored general management seminars. These seminars are offered prior to five of the seven regular chapter meetings held each year.

In addition, each spring the chapter sponsors a one-day seminar that focuses on an in-depth topic such as sand control, casting defects or supervisory techniques. The chapter also annually sponsors at least one course taught by the AFS/Cast Metals Institute in the Milwaukee area. Scholarships and Contributions

Besides these educational services for its members, the Wisconsin Chapter provides scholarships and other donations to various educational institutions and individuals. The Annual George A. Barker Memorial Scholarship Fund for graduate students was established by the chapter in honor of the former professor from the University of WisconsinMadison and past chapter president.

The group, which regularly contributes to the Foundry Educational Foundation, also donated laboratory materials to the University of Wisconsin-Madison recently. The Past Presidents' Scholarship Fund was introduced this year, as well. Organized by past chapter leaders, the fund helps students who are pursuing vocational training or two-year degrees. Current foundry employees also are eligible for these scholarships. In addition, the Wisconsin Chapter supports a local training program that is aimed at 'teaching the teachers" about metalcasting. The chapter recognizes that educators are invaluable guides for young students with vocational goals. However, many of these educators possess limited knowledge of the foundry industry. To remedy this, an eight-week metalcasting course for local educators was offered in conjunction with the Milwaukee Area Technical College (MATC). Participants attend lectures and receive hands-on experience in the school's foundry. Since 1968, 300-400 educators have participated in the program. The chapter also provides judges for the metalcasting section of a one-day "skills olympics program" at MATC in which vocationally oriented high school students compete in various discipline

areas such as carpentry, machining and cooking.

Each year, the Vocational and Industrial Clubs of America (VICA) sponsors a similar event statewide. Again, the chapter not only provides judges but foundry equipment (flasks, molding tools, etc.) as well. The group also donates savings bonds for the award winners.

A few years ago, a "Youth Educator of the Year" award was established. This honor is given to a teacher, counselor or administrator who has been instrumental in guiding young students toward careers in metalcasting. New Challenges

Recently, the Mitwaukee Public Schools asked the chapter for help in developing a new manufacturing curriculum. Jerry Dziedzic of Pelton Casteel, Inc., the chapter's liaison with community school groups, and Gene O'Kelly of Maynard Steel, chairman of the chapter's education committee, formulated a program.

For many years, the Milwaukee Public Schools had a traditional vocational training program that included woodworking, machining, drafting and welding. Over the years, cutbacks in funding and teachers for vocational training left the program seriously weakened. One reason for the cutback was that the state mandated that students pass basic reading and mathematics tests before signing up for elective vocational classes.

The administration countered with a manufacturing program that is centralized in three city schools. The program's approach allows students to produce a product all the way from the design stage through manufacturing.

One school's manufacturing program, under the direction of South Division High School teacher Jerry DeLeeuw, has been receiving guidance from business. Foundries, plastics, graphic arts and other manufacturing groups also have been involved with the program.

A three-day program was organized by the Wisconsin Chapter and South Division High School. On the first day, members of the chapter's education committee (Bill Schultz, Milchap Products; Steve Scheil, Kohler Co.; and Jerry Dziedzic) made presentations to five different classes.

A videotape on "The Process of Metalcasting" was supplied by AFS headquarters and shown to students. One speaker described the different foundry jobs available while another discussed the transition of foundries from a "smokestack" to "high-tech" industry.

Sample castings were shown along with CAD slides on casting applications. Another speaker described the educational requirements, typical wages and salaries, and employment opportunities available in the metalcasting field.

During the second day of the program Jerry Miller of MATC provided a demonstration of the school's foundry, including the actual molding and pouring of castings. Later that month, three busloads of students took a field trip to Maynard Steel Casting Co., where tour guides led them through the foundry. An Ongoing Program

Like many businesses, the Wisconsin Chapter foresees a shortage of qualified workers in the metalcasting industry. Attracting young students enthusiastic about metalcasting has to begin early and schools are more than willing to cooperate. The chapter expects to continue its aggressive program of training and education at all levels.

The chapter has long recognized that its mission is to provide educational opportunities to its members and the community. It intends to continue that mission well into the future.
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Title Annotation:Wisconsin Chapter of the American Foundrymen's Society
Publication:Modern Casting
Date:May 1, 1991
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