During a unique ribbon cutting ceremony, Smithfield High School and Liebherr Mining Equipment Newport News Co. opened a welding lab for the school’s welding program. Since the program currently has growing interest from its students, Liebherr decided to contribute to the program. Liebherr donated equipment, classroom signage for the new welding lab and developed the curriculum for the high school, located in the Isle of Wight County Public School System.
Ceremonial opening of the welding lab
Cort Reiser, Liebherr executive vice president of manufacturing and warehouse logistics, commemorated the opening of the welding lab by “cutting” a steel ribbon made by Liebherr employees. Reiser began by cutting one side and then “passed the torch,” to a student who finished the job. “By opening this welding lab we are creating more opportunities for our students,” said Dr. Jim Thornton, superintendent of Isle of Wight County Schools.
“The grand opening of the new welding program at Smithfield High School will have a positive impact throughout our community,” Ryan Wood, Liebherr Mining Equipment Newport News Co. Human Resource manager, sums up. “Not only is it a great opportunity for young adults to learn a much needed skilled trade in our local job market, but it can stimulate the interest for technical and manufacturing jobs among the students. The collaboration gives the students a better understanding of our company and the various career opportunities offered at Liebherr.”
Preparing students for their future
Liebherr Mining Equipment Newport News, Co. believes in building tomorrows leaders today. For over a decade, the company has been collaborating with area schools to strengthen the welding curriculums and offer support for Career and Technology Education (CTE) programs, which prepare students for college and careers. “We at Liebherr see a huge benefit from the skills that students need to have, whether they enter the workforce after high school or continue on to college,” said Reiser.
Reiser explained that Liebherr has a strong belief in supporting apprenticeship programs and
also sponsors the Skills USA competition, a local, regional and national welding competition. Liebherr designs, judges, and chairs the local level and sponsors student welders in each level of the competition. “To be a part of programs that help kids understand what they want to do and see them succeed is limitless,” said Reiser. “It’s about giving kids hope as they are our future.”