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Classroom Business Picks Up in Brown County High School

Some students work with 3D printers, CNC drilling and plasma cutters at Eagle Manufacturing. (Zach Herndon, WFIU/WTIU News)

A new business is growing inside Brown County High School.

Eagle Manufacturing started as a pilot program last year, giving students the opportunity to make everything from t-shirts to 3D printed objects. They then sell those items to clients.

Roarke Ireland is among them, and served as the pilot student for the program. He also helped launch Eagle Manufacturing earlier this year.

Ireland now heads the engineering department for the business. Much of his job focuses on improving the quality of their work.

“We have a vinyl cutter and you have to use a box cutter to cut off the excess vinyl or the graphic that you just cut,” Ireland says. “So I made an insert for the backing of that so that you’re not damaging the actual cutter.”

Student workers say the program gives them more than just job skills. It also provides valuable real life experience. For Shelby York, that means breaking out of her shell.

“I’m talking to people more cause usually I’m really shy, introverted. So I’m not used to talking a whole lot,” York says. “I have to do leadership skills. So I have to go tell people ‘okay, this is what you need to do.’”

The students are producing apparel for the school corporation and making custom orders for a few clients. Their advisor Chris Townsend says those projects benefit the entire community.

“Not only manufacturing but defense with Crane and biomedical and all those areas in our region are really hurting for people,” Townsend says. “So we’re hoping to get these kids some skills and keep them hopefully in our area and help, you know, provide a work force.”

The first class of Eagle Manufacturing students graduate next year.

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