Magazine article The Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education

When Training Programs Unleash Success Tech Program Makes Reluctant Student Productive

Magazine article The Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education

When Training Programs Unleash Success Tech Program Makes Reluctant Student Productive

Article excerpt

GRANITE CITY, 111. (AP) - Lucas Cooper admits sitting in a classroom hasn't always been his favorite thing to do.

"I never liked school a lot until I came here," the 20-year-old from Edwardsville said. "I like working with my hands and finding a place where I could make something of myself."

Lucas is a student at the Sam Wolf Granite City Campus of Southwestern Illinois College. He plans to graduate in December with an associate degree in precision machining technolog)'.

Students in the program receive training to operate equipment such as lathes, mills, drill presses and grinders. They also learn computer software programs to design parts and create programs used on what are called CNC (Computerized Numerical Control) machines used in business and industry.

Last spring, Lucas was part of a team of three students who won second place in the Automated Manufacturing Technolog)' category at an annual state competition called Illinois SkillsUSA, held in Springfield.

Before finding his career path, though, he spent a year at another community college taking general studies. "But I didn't do very well," Lucas said. "I struggled with regular classes."

A friend of his father's told him about the Precision Machining Technolog)' program at SWIC (which wasn't offered at the other school), and there's been no looking back since.

"I liked it from the beginning. I actually am productive - I like to work on machines," Lucas said. "It gives me pride in what I do, and I feel accomplished."

SWIC's Industrial Technolog)' Program Coordinator Mark Bosworth said Lucas quickly stood out in the two-year program. …

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