The welding lab at Milwaukee Public Schools’ Harry and Lynde Bradley Technology and Trade High School will be expanding thanks to a $250,000 gift announced Wednesday from the Bucyrus Foundation to the Bradley Tech Foundation. The Bucyrus Foundation is a donor-advised fund of the Greater Milwaukee Foundation.
“We’re proud to offer welding in a number of our high schools including Bradley Tech,” MPS Superintendent Gregory Thornton said. “This generous donation to expand the welding lab at Bradley Tech helps more students explore this career pathway as we seek to prepare graduates to be college and career ready.”
Milwaukee Public Schools’ Career and Technical Education offerings – which include welding – are based in part on current labor market information. CTE programs of study are offered in 12 MPS high schools and the district offers welding in four high schools: Bradley Tech, Casimir Pulaski High School, the School of Career and Technical Education and Harold S. Vincent High School.
Bradley Tech students working with instructor Mark Hoedel designed and created a fabricated metal sign marking the welding lab’s new name: the Bucyrus Foundation Welding Lab.
“The Bucyrus Foundation is committed to keeping the Bucyrus name associated with efforts to promote manufacturing in the Milwaukee community. In this spirit, the Bucyrus Foundation’s trustees are thrilled that Bradley Tech is expanding its welding facilities to meet new student demand,” said Tim Sullivan, Bucyrus Foundation director and president/CEO of Gardner Denver. “We are particularly enthused that student demand has created the impetus for this expansion. The message that manufacturing is a good and noble profession providing family sustaining income is finally getting through to the youth in our community. These young people will become tomorrow’s welders throughout Greater Milwaukee. I welcome them to a great future in our industry.”
Greater Milwaukee Foundation President and CEO Ellen Gilligan said the GMF and its donors have invested in programs to help students achieve success in education and life “throughout our history. We are pleased to join with our partners, the Bucyrus Foundation, in investing in Bradley Tech’s goal of helping young people identify and pursue career paths critical to their future employment opportunities.”
The gift will add four welding stations to the lab to accommodate the “ever-growing student demand for welding instruction,” said Susie Stein, philanthropic counsel for the Bradley Tech Foundation.
“On behalf of the Bradley Tech Foundation board of directors, I want to thank Tim Sullivan and his co-trustees at the Bucyrus Foundation for this outstanding gift of $250,000 to name the Bucyrus welding lab,” she said.
In addition to adding four welding stations, Bucyrus will contribute to the operations of the welding department during 2015 and 2016.
“This is the largest gift received by Bradley Tech Foundation in a decade and portends well for the Foundation’s ability to support the needs of continued student achievement at Bradley Tech,” Stein said.
In addition to being supported by the district and the Bradley Tech Foundation, Bradley Tech High School receives operational oversight from the Bradley Tech Commission, which includes post-secondary education leaders, business representatives, the Milwaukee Teachers Education Association and workforce development groups.
Earl Buford, a Bradley Tech commissioner and CEO of WRTP/BIG STEP, said the commission is “honored by the generosity of the trustees of the Bucyrus Foundation and their foresight in expanding the welding lab to meet student demand. We all believe strongly that our students at Bradley Tech are the future for Milwaukee’s re-industrialization. The Commission is pleased that the Bucyrus Foundation has set the pace for others in the community to help Bradley Tech and its Foundation continue to improve upon the programs and facilities available to more than 1,000 students and 81 faculty members.”
Bradley Tech Principal Jody Bloyer said she is “humbled by the generosity of Tim Sullivan and the Bucyrus Foundation. Their gift will help provide more educational opportunities for our students. Words cannot express how much this support means to our students today and for the future. I also want to thank Mark Hoedel for providing so much time, effort and leadership in this, his first year as welding teacher at our school. His perseverance is helping to transform our welding program.”
Once students recognize their talent for welding and understand the demand, more students become interested in a possible career in the field, Hoedel said.