During Let’s Build ItSM 2023, teachers visited La Mirada High School to observe and hear from welding students involved in the Los Angeles County Skilled Trades Summer Program, funded by Harbor Freight Tools for Schools®. La Mirada High School is one of six sites participating in the program, which gives students the opportunity to earn high school and college credit and valuable industry credentials in automotive tech, carpentry, construction, solar installation, and welding.
A panel of six students (three high schoolers and three middle schoolers) shared their insights on what they liked best about the summer program, what they learned, and how the skills they picked up will help them in the future. The high school students shared that they enjoyed the leadership experience they gained as mentors and trainers on projects with the middle schoolers. The middle school students, all young women, shared that they feel empowered learning from their peer mentors and have become fearless using tools.
Outside the panel, teachers toured the high school’s welding shop, where students were hard at work putting their skills into practice. A couple of the projects included welding metal toolboxes and building barbecue grills. One high school student manned the shop’s virtual welding equipment, letting teachers take turns trying out the system. The software is used to help students put techniques they have learned to the test, getting comfortable with the motions before graduating to a welding booth.