Letter to the editor: Vote yes and pay it forward for PHS students

Current and future needs have outgrown the current industrial tech classroom, built in 1965. School district voters will decide whether to finance a new facility in the Feb. 5 referendum.

To the editor:

My fellow Perry Community School District citizens and taxpayers, as a 15-year, third-generation Perry resident and a person actively engaged in economic development and helping our fine city to continue to grow and thrive, I’d like to express my support and tell you why I feel it’s in our best interest as a community to Vote Yes¬†on Feb. 5 to approve the Perry Community School District’s $6.5 million bond referendum.

Approval will allow the construction of (1) an addition and renovation of Perry High School’s Industrial Tech Facility and (2) a multi-purpose, padded gymnasium — with new locker rooms — that will be used for a variety of purposes, including wrestling, special needs activities, therapy and aerobics.

As co-chair of Perry Economic Development’s Community Development Pillar, this fall we’ve begun working with Perry Community School District, Perry High School and DMACC Leadership teams and a few of Perry’s leading industrial manufacturers to begin the task of creating apprenticeships in high-demand, good-paying, skilled and semi-skilled technical jobs, such as tool and die, industrial maintenance, building trades, automotive and diesel mechanics and welding.

These apprenticeships will allow Perry students to learn the skills necessary to compete for solid, middle-class positions with some of Perry’s leading manufacturers, including but not limited to Osmundson¬†Manufacturing, Progressive Foundry and many other companies in Iowa and the U.S.

Each of our local companies named is thriving and is currently, actively seeking new employees with skills vital to helping them compete in today’s global economy. The expansion and renovation of the PHS Industrial Tech classroom will allow PHS to better serve an expanding student population who is electing to work in the skilled trades.

With the addition of state-of-the-art equipment — including 3-D printers, plasma cutters, CNC machines and similar — and on-the-job training, Perry’s students will be prepared to meet the rigorous demands of employers and to out-compete other students as they continue their education at technical colleges post-graduation.

Perry’s Industrial Tech Program allows students to earn dual high school and college credit for coursework through the Perry Community School District’s partnership with DMACC, and the program is highly regarded as a perennial winner of numerous awards at Skills USA State and National Competitions. The expanded facility will allow PHS to train more students, safely, for the technical jobs of today and be prepared for those of the future.

Whether you feel it or have observed Perry’s growth, our community is thriving. There are commercial and residenti√§l building projects all over Perry. Entrepreneurs are breathing new life into existing buildings and opening new businesses. Our existing businesses are expanding lines of production. Our population is growing, and our schools are producing the leaders of tomorrow in both professional and technical fields.

It is up to us as citizens to continue doing our part to provide our students with the education, tools and resources necessary to compete for the jobs of today and tomorrow. I’m asking you to continue literally paying it forward to our students, as our parents and grandparents have done before us, by voting yes in support of Perry Community School District’s Feb. 5 bond referendum.

For mor information on the project, visit the Vote Yes for Perry Kids Facebook page.

Matt McDevitt


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