At Skyline High School, the new school year came with new opportunities—and some nifty gadgets, too. Funded by a grant from the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office, the Skilled Trades FabLab opened up on the first day of school. Students can take classes in construction technology, skilled trades such as plumbing and carpentry, and design in the lab. The goal of the lab and the classes is to expose students to opportunities in the skilled trades professions and connect them to apprenticeship programs that can serve as an alternative to a college degree.
The students are starting with the basics: how to use a handsaw, how to properly measure angles, and best practices for safety with equipment. But, as the year goes on, they’ll dig into design and fabrication—and that’s where the gadgets come in. The lab acquired two 3-D printers, a laser cutter, and a Computer Numeric Control machine that will allow students to complete more complex work.