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Sidney CSD and Raymond collaborate to help shrink the skills gap
 Ribbon cutting ceremony at Sidney CSD welding room
The six Sidney CSD seniors during the official unveiling of the new welding room at Sidney. 
 
With a snip of some scissors, Sidney Central School senior Ryan Harris and five classmates celebrated the opening of the new Raymond Welding Skills Development Program (RWSDP) at Sidney High School. 

The collaboration between Sidney CSD and The Raymond Corporation will better prepare students for a welding career. The ribbon cutting officially opened the new welding room at Sidney High School, a former wood shop that the six students helped transform with the help from Raymond. 

“The goal of this business partnership between Raymond and Sidney is to give students the chance to be ready for a highly competitive trades market,” said Sidney High School Principal Eben Bullock. “There is a big need for the trades and this helps them gain the skills. The partnership with Raymond gives us an opportunity to create great employees who weld; not just welders who are employees.

“Sidney Central School is excited to continue to strengthen the program and build upon this partnership,” he continued.

The RWSDP was created to take the skills students learned through the Delaware-Chenango-Madison-Otsego BOCES welding curriculum, and elevate them by also teaching continuous improvement principles and advanced technical skills – all of which the students will utilize in a real-world welding position. 

“Raymond is proud to collaborate with educational institutions — like Sidney High School and DCMO BOCES — that support the next generation of our workforce,” said The Raymond Corporation Senior Director of Operations Tony Topencik. “Shrinking the skills gap is a priority for Raymond. We are excited to be able to provide any additional support and education to allow students to excel.”

In collaborating on the program, Raymond also assisted in supporting Sidney in transforming the new in-school welding center, providing improvement training with the Toyota Production System (TPS) principles and supplying materials, including more than 300 lbs. of scrap metal for students to practice on.

“Our intent is to further build on our technical education, aligned with industry standards, in order to provide students with the additional opportunity to improve and refine their skills,” said Sidney Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum, Instruction, and Special Programs Kerrie Johnston. “In collaborating with Raymond, we are better able to prepare students for the welding expectations at Raymond and other manufacturing employers, as well as reinforce ’soft skills’ that are needed in any job.”

Tuesday’s ribbon cutting ceremony included comments from Bullock and Topencik, as well as the presentation of plaques to the six Sidney students. The six students are: Tanner Gifford, Michael Gravelin, Ryan Harris, Dylan Lowe, Phoenix MacGrabie-Groat, and Reed Scott. 
 
Also before the event, a sign was placed outside of the room. The sign was created by Dan Quiter Jr., who is a welding assistant team leader and Raymond as well as the RWSDP welding advisor.

The students did a lot of the work inside the room, taking ownership of being the first group. They built much-needed items, such as welding tables, racks, and scrap bins. 

Bullock did give the students a homework assignment before the end of the year – to weld their own name plaques that will be hung on the wall near the new sign. In future years, Bullock said he hopes more Sidney students in the program will add their own name plaque. 

“This will be great for upcoming students to be able to come here and practice and hopefully work toward a career in welding,” Sidney senior Ryan Harris said. “I would like to see it also be for kids to check out before going to BOCES so they can see what it’s all about. 

“It will be nice to come back and see what other kids create,” he continued. “It’s cool to be part of starting something like this and to maybe come back some day with my own kids and say ‘I was part of starting this.’” 

Senior Michael Gravelin said it’s been a solid experience being part of building this up and that the legacy of being part of the group to start this program is important.

“It’s great that people will look back at the plaques and see what we made and think that these guys gave us a lot to work with,” he said. “It’s been a great experience to learn how to fabricate things, fix things, and to come up with creative results.”

For a gallery of photos from the event, please see below. 
Sidney Central School District
95 West Main Street  |  Sidney, NY 13838  |   Phone: 607.563.2135  |   Fax: 607.563.2386
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