District molds changes at tech center

Jake Stockton, a senior at Corry Area High School, works on a piece of metal on an engine lathe for a radius project in the metalworking program at Corry Area Career and Technical Center. The metalworking/welding and machining programs have been upgraded with the past few months. Journal photo by Maryann Mook

Editor’s note: This is Part 1 of a two-part story on recent improvements at the Corry Career and Technical Center.

When changes needed to be made in the Corry Area Career and Technical Center's machining and metalworking/welding programs, Brian Dougherty, superintendent of the Corry Area School District and acting director of the CTC, knew whose help he could enlist.

Dougherty went to the experts in the field of manufacturing — people like Mike Biedrzycki, president of Corry Manufacturing; Tim Marti, plant manager at Corry Manufacturing; Brian Bills, president of Tonnard Manufacturing; and Brenda Biedrzycki, a representative and trainer for Corry Manufacturing.

“They've done a tremendous job for us,” Dougherty said. “Anytime I'd call, Mike Biedrzycki would come over with a team of people, and they had good input about the physical design. And Brian Bills brought a lot to the table.”

Dougherty said Corry's industrial leaders stepped up to the plate with their expertise, direction and donation of equipment.

Mike and Brenda Biedrzycki, Marti, Bills and other representatives from local manufacturing and industry were members of an Occupational Advisory Committee that reviewed the machining and metalworking/welding programs — and they didn't like what they saw. The committee raised several questions about the programs not meeting standards required in today's manufacturing industry.

The advisory committee found that machinery was antiquated and outdated compared with equipment used in today's manufacturing. The advisory committee also found the machining area and classrooms were unsanitary, and lacked proper ventilation and air quality standards.

In addition, the programs were not producing students who would be desirable employees in today's job market.

As a result of the advisory committee's findings, committee members set several goals to improve the operation of the programs.

Over the past few months, several changes — physical and academic — have been made or are in the process of being made at the CTC. Physical changes in the machining and metalworking/welding area include separating the work space (classrooms) into two rooms, knocking out a wall between the metalworking and a former robotics area, and allowing more room for equipment, like the Haas TL-1 lathe and other supplies donated by members of Corry's industries.

Mike Biedrzycki and Marti were members of a team that recently toured the CTC to review the renovations. Mike Biedrzycki liked what he saw this time around.

“They needed to get it cleaned up, painted and the equipment replaced, and it's all happening now,” he said.

Mike Biedrzycki added that the machining area is "orderly and neat,” and the welding program “has always been a pretty good class.”

Brenda Biedrzycki also is happy the changes are finally being made in the CTC.

“Mike and I are both very pleased with the changes that have take place in the metalworking and machining departments, and we hope it continues as it has begin,” Brenda Biedrzycki said.

See the Journal's Monday, March 1st edition for full story.

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