Friday, June 29, 2012

Tech Talk: What's New at Austin Polytechnical Academy

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Tech Talk: What's New at APA

May / June 2012 

In This Issue
Congratulations Class of 2012
Introducing the Career Path Pioneers
" Whistle While You Work" (and Learn) at Austin Polytech
A Lesson in Self Determination
Summer Jobs Are Here Again!

Thank you! 

Thank you to these partners who through the payment of their membership fees help our program provide high-quality career & technical education for the next generation of leaders in manufacturing:


American Mold Builders Assoc. (AMBA) Chicago Chapter

Belden, Inc


Bison Gear & Engineering Corp. 

C. Cretors & Co. 

Chicago Metal Fabricators 

Chicago Paper Tube & Can Co. 

Columbia Metal Spinning

Cragin Metals

DeCardy Diecasting

Freedman Seating

Graymills Company

Iverson & Company

Label Master

Laystrom Manufacturing Co.

Matrix Tooling, Inc. 


Overton Chicago Gear

P-K Tool & Mfrg Co.

Paasche Airbrush Co.

Plymouth Tube Co.  

Quality Control Corp

Saporito Finishing Co. 

Sunstar Americas Inc

Swiss Precision Machining

Tempel Steel 

WaterSaver Faucet  
Winzeler Gear Company

We also receive generous support from:  

The Chicago Community Trust

The JP Morgan Chase Foundation

The Lloyd A. Fry Foundation

The Kendeda Fund

The Kresge Foundation

The Nathan Cummings Foundation

The Polk Brothers Foundation

Surdna Foundation   

Society for Manufacturing   Engineers Education Foundation
Tooling and Manufacturing      Association Education Foundation


For more information about participating in the APA Partner Program, please contact Bill Vogel and Norwin Merens, Industry Coordinators, at or

About Austin Polytech 

Austin Polytechnical Academy is an engineering- and manufacturing-focused and college prep public high school on Chicago's West Side.

Thanks to the support of nearly 60 partner companies, our students learn about the many different career opportunities in manufacturing through field trips, guest speaker visits, job shadowing opportunities, internships, and more.

Austin Polytech's Career Program is a project of the Chicago Manufacturing Renaissance Council. Our career program is operated by the Center for Labor and Community Research.

Learn more at 

Support our Students 

It takes more than a traditional high school budget to help our students engineer their future.

Please help by sending us a check, payable to the Center for Labor and Community Research, at 3411 West Diversey, Suite 10, Chicago, Illinois 60647.

You can also contribute online securely through PayPal by clicking below:

Your donation is tax deductible. For more information about giving to APA, contact:
Erica Swinney, Program Director, at or 773-534-6326. 

Tech Talk Archive 


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Austin Polytechnical Academy
231 N. Pine Ave.
Chicago, Illinois 60644

Main Office: (773) 534-6301
Career Services: (773) 534-6326 

Congratulations Class of 2012!

On June 9, 2012, 58 Austin Polytech Seniors crossed the stage to become graduates. It was a wonderful event with inspirational music from the APA Choir and moving speech from Keynote Speaker Mr. Melvin Slater, former Austin Polytech Engineering Teacher. This dynamic group of young people overcame many obstacles to earn the honor of Austin Polytech Graduate. The Class of 2012 persevered through 3 changes in APA administration and did so demonstrating great strength of character and determination to succeed. Nearly all of our graduates have plans to attend college, nearly 90% of the graduates had earned at least one NIMS credential, 20% of graduates are actively pursuing career tracks in manufacturing and engineering either through full-time employment and part-time school or through the majors they are interested in studying while attending college full-time. 
We hope to keep in touch with alumni through our APAlumn Network and continue to provide career services and support as they navigate the next steps in starting their careers.  
Introducing the Career Path Pioneers 

Let us introduce you to APA Graduate Alex West. He is a Career Path Pioneer, one of the expanding groups of APA alumni. Career Path Pioneers are the APA Alumni who are intending on combining full-time work in manufacturing and part-time college after high school. Alex

 just joined the Atlas Tool & Die Works, Inc. team in June 2012 as a full-time apprentice machinist. Along with key benefits like health insurance and 401k plans, most APA partner companies offer some kind of tuition reimbursement to their employees, which provides high school graduates, like Alex, a real chance at a college education that would have otherwise been financially out-of- reach. 


Alex along with 20% of APA's graduating class participated in our Career Coaching program. The Career Coaching program works with students to perfect their resumes while prepping them for job interviews through a combination of counseling and mock interviews. Career Dept. staff also met with both the student and their parent to make sure they have a full understanding of the employment opportunity and what it will take to be successful. After a student completes the program Bill Vogel, our Industry Coordinator, takes the student to interview with one or more of our hiring APA partner companies. This is why we are proud to introduce you to Alex West who was one of the first graduating seniors to secure a full-time job offer. We will continue to follow-up with Alex and the other 7 Career Path Pioneers who have received job offers as they pave their path to success.  


Stay Tuned!


" Whistle While You Work" (and Learn) at Austin Polytech 

APA Students Shiquan and Diquan Weaver-- a formidable brother and sister team-- recently represented
Austin Polytech Academy at the Project Lead The Way Capstone event held at Chicago's Illinois Institute of Technology.  APA was one of 10 schools represented with exhibits showcasing the latest student-directed projects in advanced manufacturing technologies.  The Austin Polytech entry traced the evolution and devlopment of APA's higly-acclaimed whistle project.  The program involves the machining and turning of metal slugs into whistles that were subsequently  anodized by APA partner company, Saporito Finishing Co., Cicero, IL.


Our thanks to the Shiquan and Diquan for their efforts.  Also, special kudos to the dynamic faculty team of
Tom O'Brien and Pablo Varela for spearheading the whistle and comunicating its significance to APA students
as part of their classroom experiences.
A Lesson in Self Determination
by Pablo Varela, 
Manufacturing Training Center (AMTC) Instructor 
Self-directed learning at the AMTC facility focuses on the process by which adults take command of their own learning goals, find the right resources, and evaluate their growth.


All seven participants of the current AMTC National Institute for Metalworking Skills (NIMS) machining class have earned 3/5 NIMS credentials possible and are one a steady pace to earn the final 2. The adult students engaged in self-directed learning and are using social networks, encouragement from their peers, emotional and educational counseling from staff and classmates to accomplish the expectations set by CLCR. The results of our approach include the credentials our students have accomplished so far and in the consistent pace they follow as described in the course syllabus and curriculum. 
This training program is the first step to what will potentially be long and interesting career in the advanced manufacturing sector for our trainees. Credentials cannot replace the work experience necessary to grow within a given company, which they have still yet to earn. Our participants understand the effort and skills needed to achieve greatness and thus are completely prepared to make a contribution to the manufacturing companies they will ultimately choose to work for. 

 Summer Jobs Are Here Again!

It's summer time again and as always our students are diligently working away; gaining experience and having fun at the same time. Among the 18 students placed at jobs this summer a lucky few get spend their time making whistles at Austin Polytech's WaterSaver Faucet Manufacturing Technology Center.
APA Junior Michael Evans prepares to cut a rod down to start making whistles.
Summer Jobs
APA Junior William Cocroft installs a plug onto a whistle.
APA Junior Brittney Parker de-burs a whistle after making the air window in the CNC Machine.
Stay tuned for more information about our Summer Jobs program in our next issue of Tech Talk.  
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Austin Polytechnical Academy | 231 N. Pine Ave. | Chicago | IL | 60644

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