Program pairs local manufacturing students, employers - KXXV-TV News Channel 25 - Central Texas News and Weather for Waco, Temple, Killeen |

Program pairs local manufacturing students, employers

WACO, TX (KXXV) - The traditional classroom isn't for everyone.  That's why a one-of-a-kind manufacturing program is drawing in students from all over Central Texas.       

The Greater Waco Area Manufacturing Academy, known as GWAMA, offers a hands-on learning experience.  What makes it stand out is the partnership with local companies.

Gavino Aguilar is a senior at University High School in Waco.  He spends half the school day at GWAMA.

Aguilar says, "I actually want to be a welder so I knew this opportunity was for me... For the most part, everyone loves it.  You get a break, you get to work with your hands, you're not sitting at a desk all day.  So it's better than regular school."

At GWAMA. students fulfill all their math and science requirements, plus they get hands on experience in the areas of welding, metal manufacturing, electronics and robotics.

GWAMA's Family Community Liaison  Jonathan Price says, "We get them out of their seats. They're building, they're constructing, they're learning the same information. But they're using their hands to get it into their brain and it sticks that way. That's proven."

Nearly three dozen local companies like Space-X, Caterpillar and Mars Chocolate helped build the curriculum and have promised to offer students jobs right after high school.

Price says, "If we've got a welder that is interested in going to work for Central Texas Ironworks and they match up, then those job offers are going to be there."

As for Gavino Aguilar, he's heading to college in the Fall.  But first, he plans to spend the summer working as a welder.

Aguilar says, "I get actual connections to the real world and to businesses and whatnot, so it's cool."

GWAMA is still accepting applications for next fall.  

Here's the link to the application: http://gwama.wacoisd.org/cms/One.aspx?portalId=14645&pageId=187869
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