ROSEBURG, Ore. -- As partnerships have grown between Roseburg High School and local businesses, so too has the scale of projects presented to students in the school’s welding and manufacturing program. And a few advanced students have taken on the biggest challenge yet.
Three students recently finished building a 14-foot by 7-foot hydraulic dump trailer. They finished up in May having started on it in late January.
RHS instructor Craig Stinnett said the trailer is the largest piece of equipment his students have completed in his seven years overseeing the program. The project was made possible thanks to Fabform Industries Inc. of Roseburg.
“It’s a large project with multiple stages of parts building, proper fit-up and then assembly,” Stinnett said. “This had been a very good industry connection for our Intermediate I, all the way through Advanced students to give them real-life industry experience.”
Fabform Vice President Brandon Ikola, whose family owns the trailer manufacturing business, was happy to help with the large-scale project. The business has been partnering with RHS for the past three years, with students building parts for the company as well as the company donating box trailers that the students build and sell to raise funds for the program.
“For us, it takes some of the production load off of our guys,” Ikola said. “And then for them, it gives students projects to be able to perfect their skills and to improve their skills on a weekly basis.”
The dump trailer took some extra steps, with Ikola agreeing to record “how to” videos for the students to watch in class and then apply. The program purchased all the materials from Fabform at cost. Once Fabform paints the trailer and provides quality checks, the trailer will go to a buyer the RHS program has lined up.
Juniors Gage Hines and Wyatt Bitterman took the lead on the project with the help of sophomore Eli Mignola. The students expressed gratitude for the partnership with Fabform, and said the dump trailer brought new challenges for them to tackle.
“It’s been fun, but it’s also been frustrating,” Hines said. “It’s one of the hardest things I’ve built.”
All three agree that the school’s CTE offerings help keep them motivated, and they encourage fellow students to find their passions at school.
Fabform also partners with Umpqua Community College and Glide High School, while RHS has also partnered with Great Northern Trailer Works, North River and Whit-Log Trailers.
“Those companies have been really, really instrumental in building this program,” Stinnett said. “It’s been fantastic to see local industry want to help us succeed, and we just look forward to moving on from there.”
Ikola said CTE programs like Roseburg’s provide a boon for local industry and for students looking for full-time employment out of high school.
“The labor pool that we pull from is shrinking each year, so we look at creative ways to, one, be able to give back to the community and, two, to be able to develop different avenues of resources that we can pull from,” he said.