KINGMAN - Instructor Calvin Kupser knows there's no point in sending graduating students into the real world with outdated skills.
Over the 14 years he's been teaching at Kingman High School, he's worked diligently to update his woodworking classes so those who take them are prepared to join today's manufacturing workforce. That includes purchasing state-of-the-art equipment and tools that teach students the latest techniques that will help them obtain good jobs in Mohave County.
While his Woodworking III classes currently have access to a large Shopbot Computer Numerical Control router, which has a 5-foot-by-8-foot cutting surface, Kupser is looking to lift his students to the next level.
He recently went before the Western Arizona Vocational Education/ Joint Technical Education District Board of Directors to ask for $50,000 to purchase six Shopbot desktop routers that will provide more opportunities for students.
"The old-school method of cutting boards with a table saw and other traditional woodworking tools is a lost art," said Kupser, whose request was granted. "Using a CNC is cutting edge, because everything is automated on it. More companies are using them, and students can venture into all kinds of career areas if they know how to use them.
"Their futures are endless because companies always need those skills."
The desktop CNC routers, which have a 24-inch-by-18-inch cutting surface, will allow students to design and create more technical objects. They will increase machining time because more units will be operating at once. While the students currently receive a very basic training on the larger CNC and its computer software, Kupser said the advanced training on the smaller equipment is the next step in preparing them for skilled CNC-based jobs.
CSI: The next generation
The board also heard and granted a request from Kerry Schanaman, who has 40 students taking the Forensic Law Enforcement class at the high school, for a $5,000 grant.
Schanaman, a Mohave County Sheriff's Office deputy and K-9 officer who has been teaching for 12 years, asked for two cameras, 32 lab coats, a locking cabinet to hold equipment, a freezer, two portable fuming systems, 32 sets of eye protection and six Glock 9mm training replicas.
A portable fuming system allows investigators to obtain fingerprints from items that are more difficult to dust. The fuming system heats up superglue that can be placed on a print until it dries and then be lifted.
The "guns" are non-operational, solid replicas of the Glock 9mm firearms used by police departments, and they weigh the same so users can see how they feel and move in different situations.
"We all know that forensics is why people are getting into law enforcement, especially females," said Schanaman, who recently received equipment that separates DNA. "I've seen those numbers go up. So the more things I can purchase to show these students what can be done in forensics, the better it is for them.
"If you just teach the basics in a classroom, it's not enough. You've got to give them hands-on experiences these days."
The forensic class teaches crime scene investigation, collection and processing of DNA, firearm safety, arrest and search tactics and the use of less-lethal equipment and tactics.
It is part of a WAVE/JTED program called Administration of Justice that is offered through Mohave Community College and provides six college dual-enrollment credits.
Jack Pozenel, a WAVE/JTED board member, said all the classes and programs throughout the area funded by various levels of grants are vital to the schools, students and communites. They're also an integral part of what WAVE/JTED is doing with its vocational education, he said, which is making it applicable in today's world.
"We've had extreme success with the woodworking class and businesses at the airport hiring the students," said Pozenel. "That technology is what the industry is using and it's very important.
"And forensics is very popular today and there's a huge interest in that career field, so we want to support that program with the necessary technology."