KEWANEE, IL (November 21, 2023) – Great Dane has supported many Kewanee High School projects over the years, but recently, company officials participated in a ribbon-cutting ceremony officially opening the Great Dane Welding Center on the industrial arts campus at the school.
The state-of-the-art center features modern equipment where students can learn various types of welding, as well as essential life skills. More than 90 students have already taken classes at the facility.
“Great Dane has always stepped up to help our community. Our partnership first began in 2000 when they helped with remodeling the school’s weight room and continued in 2008 when we remodeled our industrial arts lab,” said Dr. Chris Sullens, Kewanee School District Superintendent. “When there’s a need, they are the first to say, ‘How can we help?’ “
Jacob Meyer, Kewanee High School’s welding instructor, said the addition of the Center provides an incredible opportunity for the students, especially for those who’ve never been exposed to welding.
“I’ve been in many welding facilities, and I’ve never seen one like this,” Meyer said. “The facility itself is outstanding and to have this right here so students can make potential career connections, as well as learn some employability skills, is incredible.”
The addition of the Center has also had a positive impact at the Great Dane Kewanee manufacturing plant.
“We have many Kewanee High School alumnae working at our manufacturing facility and it means a lot to our team when we support KHS students,” explained Derek Dunlap, Great Dane Kewanee Plant Manager. “Welding is in high demand in our area, both in the manufacturing and agriculture industries, so helping these students learn welding and employment skills gives them a really good start.”
Superintendent Sullens said he hopes the skills students learn at the Center will be put to use close to home.
“Welding is a skill our students can use for the rest of their lives, but the classes at this Center are also teaching the science that goes behind welding as well as critical thinking and how to fix things,” Sullens continued. “We hope our students are inspired so they don’t have to move to a big city to find a job, but they can be employed right here in their hometown.”