Lauzhane Green flips down the face shield on her helmet and grabs hold of a welding torch, her hands covered with heavy protective gloves. Coveralls safeguard her body from molten metal, heat and other dangers.
Sparks cascade from Green’s workstation in a lab at Lynde and Harry Bradley Technology and Trade High School in Walker’s Point.
Green landed at Bradley Tech after being placed on a waiting list at two other Milwaukee public high schools. The technology and trade education offered at Tech hadn’t been a priority for Green, but the 16-year-old junior isn’t looking back.
“I like it,” she says. “I wouldn’t want to go to any other school.”
Bradley Tech’s mission includes preparing many of its 1,000 students for jobs in manufacturing on their way to becoming part of the city’s deep industrial history. It o ers a variety of courses, from machine tooling and carpentry to web design and graphic arts. There’s even a course in aviation mechanics, with a small plane right there in the classroom
Getting students involved in internships and apprenticeships with local industrial companies is a key part of the curriculum, according to Bradley Tech principal and Milwaukee native Aaron Shapiro.
“There is a lot at stake for our partners because what they need is for our kids to be ready as workers for them,” he explains. “It’s exciting to see our young people out in the workplace, showing off their craft.”
Green has explored a variety of course options at the school. Now she’s considering welding as a potential career path.
“Welding is very challenging and was very hard at first,” Green says. “But I kept doing it and kept practicing, and I’ve gotten better.”