Industrial Arts Institute has a reputation for building skilled trades workers that are focused creating quality workmanship and having a sense of civic responsibility. So, when Awaken Church in Onaway wanted to build a swing set from scratch for their new family playground, IAI was quick to take on the project as part of their summer welding program.

Area high school students Ella Wanke, Tyler Turnbull, and Kendall Pedersen were enrolled in a summer work-based learning program focused on helping them build welding skills.  While many of the 15 students had never picked up a torch, these three students were among those that already had some welding experience.  They were ready for a more challenging assignment.

Instructors Hunter Stinger and Jeff Brown rolled out the school’s new Lincoln Electric Power Wave 350 and set it to “rapid arc.”

“We used solid wire MIG [gas metal arc] welding on these swing set pieces, which wasn’t anything new for Ella, Tyler, and Kendall,” Stinger explained.  “But we decided we’d test out a new function on one of our advanced welders.  It was a great learning experience for them on using different kinds of wave forms.”

The students were thrilled to take the new technology out for a spin.  They completed welding on the pieces under instructor supervision and the swing set was galvanized and assembled for installation. 

Welding swing set pieces was a rewarding task for our students, knowing that children would be entertained by their work for years to come.

The Industrial Arts Institute / Awaken Church collaboration grew out of a relationship Pastor Kamron Oberlin had with IAI founder Tom Moran.  Pastor Oberlin was delighted to hear that his community project had benefits beyond what he’d set out to do. “We wanted to build a space where families could connect,” Oberlin explained.  “We’re delighted with the results and happy to hear that, because of our swing set, students were able to build welding skills they can take into the working world.”

“We are looking forward to continuing to give back to our Onaway community by involving our welders in additional projects at the Awaken Church Community Playground,” remarked IAI Executive Director, Tamara Ward.  

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