Manufacturing pathway opens to all PPS students

Posted by Dr. Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat on 3/22/2019 11:00:00 AM

Peoria Public Schools will open the Manual Academy Dual-Credit Manufacturing Pathway to all district high school students beginning in the 2019-2020 year. Thanks to the investment of state-of-the-art equipment from Caterpillar, Inc., our partnership with Illinois Central College (ICC) and the work of Industrial technology teacher Andrew Rice, the manufacturing education facility at Manual Academy is second to none. This pathway offers outstanding opportunities for our students. 


For example, a student who wants to be a welder – a skill that is in high demand – will learn industry compatible MIG, Stick and TIG welding through this program and earn ICC credit for those courses. After high school and further education at ICC, that student will enter a profession that, according to the Association for Manufacturing Technology and U.S. Labor Dept., anticipated five percent growth through 2026, with salaries that will provide a solidly middle-class lifestyle. Because the student earns college credit while attending Manual Academy, they will enter their profession with minimal or no student loan debt.


For students who wish to continue to a Bachelor’s degree, the earning potential is even greater. The skills learned in the Manufacturing Pathway can lead to even greater income potential.  For example, a production manager or plant engineering manager can expect to be earning a six-figure income after completing a bachelor’s degree.  They will graduate from high school knowing how to use computer-aided design software (CAD) and three-D printing and with college credit, which will reduce the cost of continuing their education.


Finally, students in the Manufacturing Pathway can possibly pursue a one-semester internship at a Cat facility during their senior year to earn academic credit and an hourly wage.  This is invaluable hands-on, real-world experience.


Our country’s manufacturing workforce, like our skilled trade workforce, is aging and retiring. We will need skilled and trained young people ready to fill those positions.


Peoria Public School administrators, high school principals and Mr. Rice will host two information meetings for parents and students on Wednesday, April 3 in the Peoria High School library from 6 – 7 p.m. and another at the Richwoods High School library on April 4 from 6 – 7 p.m. We highly enourage you to join us at those sessions.