Feb. 27, 2023
(Sault Ste Marie, ON) Algoma District School Board (ADSB) is grateful to acknowledge a generous donation from Tenaris. Earlier this school year, Tenaris donated $88,500 to Algoma District School Board through the CWB Welding Foundation (CWBWF) as an investment in “Sparking Success”, an initiative designed to impact the educational and career choices of ADSB students. The initial investment of $88,500 has been further leveraged by recent and further new contributions made by CWBWF and ADSB for a total impact investment of $450,000.
The funds have been used in the upgrading of welding machinery and equipment at all nine of ADSB’s secondary schools allowing for the delivery of improved and advanced welding education programs across the district. This means modern, safe, and industry compliant learning environments for ADSB’s technology students at Central Algoma Secondary School in Desbarats, Chapleau JK-12 School, Elliot Lake Secondary School, Hornepayne JK-12 School, Korah, Superior Heights and White Pines in Sault Ste Marie, Michipicoten High School in Wawa, and W.C. Eaket Secondary School in Blind River.
Tenaris President in Canada Ricardo Prosperi and Joe Saundercook, Manager of Fund & Partnership Development with CWBWF, saw their funding dollars in action as they toured an ADSB Grade 12 manufacturing class in Sault Ste Marie on February 27th. They were joined by ADSB Chair Jennifer Sarlo and other special guests, as they observed equipment in use and spoke with staff and students about how the equipment is impacting their teaching and learning.
The new equipment is providing more options and greater flexibility for both teachers and students. The tools have allowed for better use of time within shops and an opportunity for students to learn and practice techniques they were unable to on older equipment. Most equipment was installed for the 22/23 school year and is being utilized for classroom training and special events.
Recently, one ADSB school organized a metal and wood workshop for female students in grades 7 through 12. The students were introduced to the brand new CNC plasma machines. These machines allow students to make intricate cuts in metal, including detailed shapes, allowing for unique designs and projects. The students created a take home shelving project and loved the artistry of the pieces they were able to design. This was a whole new level of experience for both students and staff.
Miller Electric Mig-Multi-Process welding machines have been installed in many ADSB schools. As the name implies, they allow the user to perform different types of welds (ie: flat, horizontal, mig, stick) almost with the turn of a dial. Previously, students learned individual techniques on individual machines with teachers taking time to train on each machine. Now with a “fleet” of the same machine in one shop, students spend less time waiting for a turn and more time working on projects. One manufacturing teacher shared, “We can teach them how one machine works and now they can use any one of the 8 machines in the shop.”
This spring, ADSB Grade 11 student Avery Jones will compete at Skills Ontario in welding. She has been so pleased to practice on the new welders and thanked Tenaris and CWB Welding Foundation saying “We’re all happy we aren’t on (old) equipment anymore! I first used the plasma cutter, which was one of the easier things to do. Then (another student) showed me some tips on making my welds look better, for example a proper arm or angle position to lay beads.”
Two ADSB international students shared that, while they learned a great deal of theory about welding in their home country, they had not enjoyed the hands-on experience until enrolling in an ADSB school and taking a welding course. They are now enthusiastically making use of the tools and equipment to enhance their learning.
Metal Cutting Band saws have been purchased and installed in several ADSB schools allowing teachers to cut materials into student-ready pieces. In the past, these materials would have to have been provided and/or ordered ahead of time. Without having to pre-order materials, these saws offer manufacturing staff flexibility around what projects they undertake and when.
Several schools have purchased additional Personal Protective Equipment including welding helmets, gloves, and jackets allowing more students the opportunity to participate in welding programming and events. One student shared, “I’m not a good welder but having all the proper safety gear helps me to get past the fear of possibly getting injured so I can focus on trying to improve my welding abilities.”
Funding from Tenaris also allowed ADSB to run three CWB Welding Foundation “Mind Over Metal”™ Welding Awareness Building camps this past summer in partnership with CWBWF and United Autoworkers Local 800. The camps provided students, ages 12-15, with a hands-on introduction to welding in a facility with industry experts. One of the summer camps was designed for young women and another for Indigenous youth. Thirty ADSB students signed up for the three camps, including 10 for the welding camp for young women and all spoke highly of the experience.
ADSB has recently embarked on a multi-year project to design, renovate and refurbish the existing technical shops at White Pines into a state-of-the-art ADSB Technology Centre. ADSB recognizes that the investment from Tenaris and CWBWF fits seamlessly into the vision of this learning centre. Students at White Pines are already making use of equipment and tools purchased through the Sparking Success funding and these materials will serve to compliment what will be coming to White Pines in the next year or two.
“We are strong supporters of education and the opportunities it offers, to gain know-how, to challenge, to innovate and to develop. Partnerships and programs such as these, through the Algoma District School Board and CWBWF, provide students with the resources, hands-on experiences, and guidance to strengthen their skills. It’s exciting to see the investments in action,” said Ricardo Prosperi, Tenaris President in Canada.
“Welding is a critical skill for many trades and industries, and the CWB Welding Foundation is thrilled to award this grant with Tenaris to the Algoma District School Board to aid in the purchase of new welding equipment for their schools. Learning on modern welding equipment helps prepare students for success in their future careers and gain the skills they need to thrive in the workforce,” said Susan Crowley, Executive Director, CWB Welding Foundation.
Algoma District School Board Chair Jennifer Sarlo said of the funding: “ADSB continues to look at innovative ways to introduce our students and their families to skilled trades as a viable and lucrative post-secondary option. Tenaris and the CWB Welding Foundation’s generous donation allows students across the Algoma District to experience authentic learning opportunities in welding, working with the latest equipment and tools. We are very grateful, knowing that these resources and experiences may spark an interest for a student who could very well help to fill critical vacancies.”