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Letter to the Editor: Practical education is a good thing

Well, Well.  Look here!  According to the Plumas News, FRC Superintendent Trutna just accepted a $5K donation from the Sierra Pacific Foundation to “expand its Welding & Manufacturing program.”  A step I applaud and there are lots of high paying jobs in California for qualified industrial welders. However, it seems this is something of a rediscovery experience for the Superintendent.

An old timer has related to me that some years back, Superintendent Trutna ordered the removal of a set of high quality, professional welding hoods at the same time he ordered the removal of all the college’s vocational building trade’s and equipment.  That was so he could have the Vocational Tech building redone as an Art and Outdoor Rec facility (home to the expensive and little used climbing wall).  You might wonder why he wanted to replace traditional vocational skills with art, but that’s not the kind of question that’s asked at FRC.  One, who did ask, was assured that the welding hoods were being appropriately stored. Anyway, the result has been that the growing Ag and Equine program has shouldered the bulk of Career and Technical education at FRC.  Reportedly, they did continue a field-welding course with portable equipment as part of the Ag program. Better than nothing, I suppose,

You might say it is a good thing if FRC is considering some “practical” education in a needed field.  However, given the history, it’s also fair to question the extent of FRC’s commitment.  Will there be new courses in industrial welding?  Will a professional instructor be hired?  What new equipment is needed and are the removed welding hoods coming back?   What is this Welding & Manufacturing program?

I hope that Superintendent Trutna’s commitment to this and other trades education is serious as there is a need for skilled workers in Plumas County.  I have said this for two plus years, we have kids who would benefit from the chance to earn a certificate in industrial trades as well as other fields. If Superintendent Trutna is serious, I can only say, “Welcome back to your mission.”  The other four Trustees need to become as woke!   If not, well, we’ll all know that by next year.

Dr. Trent Saxton,

FRC Trustee, District One


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