‘Hands-on’ Learning Gives Miller Students Insight into Careers in the Industrial Arts | News, Sports, Jobs

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TR PHOTO BY MIKE DONAHEY Miller Middle School eighth grader Wesley Hofert, wearing a mask, works Wednesday on a simulated welding machine at the school under the direction of John Deere Co. welder Jovani Rubio of Davenport Works.

There is the learning which can be acquired by listening and then there is the learning by doing.

On Wednesday, dozens of Grades 7 and 8 students at Miller Middle School (MMS) had the opportunity to learn through virtual reality apps and five John Deere Co. employees.

The group had expertise in craftsmanship, from information technology to moving heavy equipment to welding.

Welder Jovani Rubio from Davenport Works was one of them.

His job was to show students how to weld a straight line using a welding simulator.

The students attached a welder-style virtual reality mask, grabbed a welder, and did their best to draw a straight, narrow, computer-generated line, mimicking an actual weld.

“Today’s program is going very well” said Rubio. “All the students are here, learning and having fun. The welding demonstration is practical compared to listening.

Rubio has worked for the company for two and a half years.

Eighth-grade student Wesley Hofert was the first to put on a welding mask and try his hand at welding a straight line while Rubio watched and offered advice.

After almost 15 minutes on the simulator, Hofert received praise from Rubio.

Hofert said he had parents who solder, so he was somewhat familiar with the process.

Other skill sets offered by John Deere drew students to other virtual reality simulators.

Students were also able to take the virtual reins of heavy excavation equipment, guiding

the machine through a series of tasks while trying to avoid damaging

the equipment.

Virtual reality glasses showed students different scenarios in which

the equipment could be used.

Information technology specialist Dan Rodriquez told students his work took him not only to the United States, but also to John Deere’s operations in Argentina and China.

Rubio told the strong mix of college students and students that his work is high tech – using lasers and robots.

Another John Deere welder encouraged female students to seriously consider the profession.

“John Deere welders are very skilled and earn a good salary and benefits,” he said. “The starting salary is $ 19.96 an hour. They know how to follow directions, which makes them better than some men. Some of us don’t like to follow directions but just dig into the job.

MMS counselor Rachel Meckley said the school had made an effort to include all eighth graders in Wednesday’s schedule which consisted of six 40-minute sessions.

“Eighth grade students will be in high school next year and brainstorm career plans.” she said. “We were able to fit 99.9% of them into that today and a lot of seventh graders. “

On Tuesday, the John Deere team had spent all day working and discussing career opportunities with students at Marshalltown High School.

John Deere is a manufacturer of agricultural, construction, forestry and lawn care equipment.

Founded in 1837, it employs thousands of people around the world and is headquartered in Moline, Illinois.

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Contact Mike Donahey at 641-753-6611 or mdonahey@timesrepublican.com

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