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A-Tech Provides Students a Jump Start into Manufacturing Industries

March 1, 2017

The Appleton Technical Academy, known as A-Tech is a charter school operated by the Appleton Area School District. A-Tech provides high school students with a jump-start toward successful and rewarding careers within the manufacturing and industrial technology industries through a blend of hands-on learning and academics.

A-Tech was created to bring more awareness of the importance of manufacturing careers and the need for a well educated and skilled workforce to fill the shortage caused by retiring baby boomers and the advancement of technology in current manufacturing processes.

Eagle Performance Plastics, Inc has been closely involved with A-Tech since the school’s founding in 2014. In cooperation with Fox Valley Technical College and other local businesses, A-Tech gives students the skills and experience needed to get stable, high-paying jobs available now due to an increasing shortage of skilled workers for manufacturing positions.

A-Tech provides instruction that goes beyond the traditional classroom. Students have a mix of classroom and hands-on learning. Traditional subjects, such as math, science, English, and social studies are often taught as part of the manufacturing related courses such as welding, machining, mechanical design and automated manufacturing.

A-Tech is located at Appleton West High School and all classes are taught by AASD staff members. The facilities are modern and include late model manual mills and lathes with digital readouts, CMM, state-of-the-art Miller Electric welding equipment as well as other metal bending and cutting equipment that is representative of what is used in industry. There are plans to add a Haas CNC Machining Center in the next school year.

As a charter school, A-Tech is able to develop a “hands-on” learning approach and a curriculum that aligns more closely with the expectations of the local manufacturing community. Seniors at A-Tech are expected to participate in the Youth Apprenticeship Program to get actual work experience in manufacturing. This usually results in continued employment for the student.

Starting with an initial enrollment of about 40 students in the first year, A-Tech has been growing steadily. In 2017-2018 school year the expected enrollment will be more than 80 students in grades 9 through 12.

Most graduates of A-Tech continue their education by pursuing a 2 year Associates Degree from a technical college or directly enter the workforce.

Any student entering 9th – 12th grade can apply, including students from other school districts.

Interested businesses, parents, and students are welcome to arrange an informational visit with A-Tech staff and tour the facility.

For more information about A-Tech, visit

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