MANITOWOC – Start your engines. High School students in Manitowoc got their motors running Friday. After months of work some mini masterpieces were unveiled.
It was part of the 6th annual Manitowoc County High School Mini Chopper Manufacturing program.
For these 80-some high school students, the sound of engines revving is the sound of success.
“Oh, it’s great. I mean, you start in the beginning with all those different concepts and ideas and then they come together and it’s just great to see,” said Two Rivers High School Senior Shawn Horner.
Teams from five different Manitowoc County High Schools designed and built six mini motorcycles.
The work started in September and it’s been a long road, with bumps along the way.
“I think mainly working as a team, because everybody’s got their own opinions and ideas and that’s what kinda made it difficult,” Horner explained.
But the teams managed to work together with the help of teachers and local corporate sponsors.
Sponsors told FOX 11 the goal is to get young people interested in manufacturing jobs.
“There’s a big need out there. So this type of local high school education only helps us,” said Andy Jacobson, Vice President of Engineering for Miller-St. Nazianz, an agricultural manufacturing company.
Jacobson told us, aside from being a sponsor, the company has also hired students from the program.
“So we directly see the benefit of the education,” he explained.
Another goal is to keep this young talent local.
“So we wanna let them know before they go off to college that things are good here in Manitowoc and they can come back and work for us,” explained Karen Syzman, executive director of the Chamber of Manitowoc County.
And for some of the students, the project is working its magic.
“I really found my love, kind of like my love for fabrication and metal work,” said Jordan Johnson, a junior at Mishicot High School.
But what Johnson learned goes beyond finding that love.
“The skills that I learned through it. It’s not all just fabrication. It’s engineering, drafting and budget management, managerial skills,” he explained, skills that can really rev up a career.
The student teams were given a budget of $2,500 each for the choppers. They also got some parts and equipment donated from area businesses.