Kutztown School District and SOLO Labs. Part I

When SOLO Labs donated its gently-used 3D printer, we knew it would help the next generation of our workforce to be better prepared for the future. “By interacting with the school and learning more about their teaching, we found new opportunities to work together,” noted Jonathan Naugle, owner and director of operations at SOLO Labs.  

Many of the manufacturing jobs at SOLO involve skilled manual labor. It can take months to years to learn a job at SOLO. We want to be sure potential candidates are interested in learning it and willing to invest the time into learning the trade. “We needed videos to show new team members how to do the specific job,” said Jonathan.  That’s when he contacted Mr. Josh Chambers, instructor of Language Arts and Film at Kutztown Area High School. “We agreed to work on this project to help out SOLO as well as show our appreciation for the donation of the 3D printer. I also see this as an excellent opportunity for my students,” added Josh.

Forming a Partnership

“It’s great for our school district to be able to work with a locally established business and assist them in producing training materials. I see coming to SOLO to document a workstation’s function as one that is beneficial to everyone involved,” said Josh. He notes that this endeavor assists students by giving them field experiences and a more practical application of the skills they’ve learned in the media production course.   

What was once called Film Production, the Contemporary and Experimental Media courses at Kutztown Area High School are a pair of mass media electives that begin with studying existing forms of film and television in the classroom and then transitioning them into active projects. The second half of the year focuses on how to use newer technologies to tell a story. “This short documentary addresses both parts of the course as they are venturing into relatively unknown territory and constructing both an informational piece as well as learning how to adapt to an environment they have no control over,” said Josh. This hands-on experience achieves the existing curricular goals and provides career-readiness training for students who may be entering the broadcast/media field.

Creating Real Word Experiences

Giving high school students more exposure to other technical fields and job opportunities through off-campus time is a great benefit to the students. “Most of our classroom experiences are events and projects that we do within the confines of a school day and inside the building. I am convinced that my kids learn more when they get field experiences and get the chance to get out of their comfort zone,” said Josh.   

By inviting students into SOLO, we have the opportunity to train, inspire and educate the future generation of our workforce. Since 1983, SOLO stands for “Serve Others, Love Others.” Providing educational opportunities for students in our area is just another way we put our mission into action.

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