Together with Wisconsin-based Oconto High School, Nercon Conveyors (nerconconveyors.com) has been working to assure that Oconto students are positioned for success. In addition to offering field trips, donating metal for student projects, and cutting steel coupons for student practice in welding and fabrication, Nercon has also donated parts to Oconto High School to be used for new welding booths and demo stations.
Travis Falkowski, Oconto Unified School District technology education teacher and youth apprenticeship coordinator, has been working with Nercon. Falkowski says, “Nercon has been great to work with and they have gone out of their way to work with us and help us maximize what we were able to do with the referendum money. We want to show our appreciation to Nercon for being a good business and giving back to the community.”
Most recently, some Technology Education students wanted to get embroidered Oconto Tech Ed coats and beanies. Falkowski pitched the idea to Nercon and, together, they decided that any student willing to invest 6 to 8 hours building two utility trailers would receive money to pay for the coats and beanies from the money raised by the sale of the trailers.
Falkowski states, “I wanted to show those students who could not afford a coat that they could earn one by working for it. At the same time, I did not want those students who had money to be able to go and just buy it. I made them work for it! The problem was, so many students wanted in, that two trailers – with school paying for the steel, axles, lights, lumber, paint and tires – would not buy enough coats. I asked Nercon and, without missing a beat, they stepped up and donated the steel; how nice to have Nercon for neighbors literally right down the street.”
Nercon has also participated in the Youth Apprenticeship Program, placing one student in a welding apprenticeship and another in electro-mechanical apprenticeship. The apprenticeships start shortly after school ends for the summer. Students have to put in 450 hours of field-related work and take a minimum of two program-related college level credits each year. The program is designed to fill the gap between high school and the real world of work.