Craftsman with Character

Beloit students offered hands-on experience through Craftsman with Character program

By SARA MYERS Staff Writer, Beloit Daily News |  Updated 

CCI hosts Craftsman with Character students

Dustin Foss poses with two employees at CCI where he was shadowing through the Craftsman with Character program at Beloit Memorial High School. Submitted by Deb Prowse

BELOIT- This fall semester, Beloit Memorial High School introduced a new program called Craftsmen with Character, which is a job shadow/job skill course that partners with multiple local businesses including Frito Lay, Edgerton Gear, CCI, The Morse Group, Scot Forge, City of Beloit and Blackhawk Technical College.

The program currently has seven students who spend a portion of their day at one of the partner sites. Deb Prowse, Beloit Memorial High School Academy Coach, teaches the class. She first got the idea to start the program after attending a presentation at Edgerton Gear, where owner Dave Hataj starts this program.

“He started the program years ago, when he realized that he couldn’t control the positions he had, morale wasn’t spectacular,” Prowse said. “He started this program to grow his own workers.”

After Prowse saw Hataj’s presentation, she spoke with Rob Hendrickson from Frito Lay and Kelly Crosby from Scot Forge who both wanted to do the program with Beloit Memorial High School students job shadowing at their sites.

Each site hosts the students for three weeks, usually one or two students at a time. Blackhawk Technical College supplied a bus for students to get to the sites and back to high school for the rest of their classes during the school day.

“We have companies that have stepped forward,” said Jeffrey Stenroos, director of career, technical and alternative education at Beloit Memorial. “They don’t show the kids, instead they have the kids doing it and the companies have put forth the funds to cover the bus.”

The seven students in the program are Ayden Armao, Dustin Foss, Armando Gonzalez, Kaleef Hobson-Thomas, Curtez McAllister, Mitchell Stuessy and Trinity Winfield. All students are juniors, except Armao who is a sophomore.

Armao said what attracted him to the program was the job experience and to “see what’s out there and see what I might want to do and what I don’t want to do.”

“I really enjoyed it because I felt like it was a good opportunity,” McAlister said. “It gave me a variety of different fields to look at, especially if you’re not sure which specific one you want to go into yet and it allows you to look at different things you could possibly do. It gives you a good education that you may not get for free.”