State Superintendent of Public Instruction Dr. Tony Evers and other local politicians and industry leaders attended.
"CT programs across the county are changing," Rewey said. "They're evolving and we are really taking this to heart in the Beloit School District. We know that students have to have relevant and rigorous experiences and part of getting that done means having updated equipment and facilities."
The improvements go hand in hand with the multitude of partnerships that the school district has forged with local industries and nearby colleges like Blackhawk Technical College. The goal of the department's facelift is to get students applicable work experience to increase their level of job readiness by graduation. The community partnerships give students the opportunity to physically be out in the working world.
"Our culinary arts program is a partnership between ourselves and Aramark, a food service vendor, and we have 12-14 kids out working with them in our community," said Beloit School District Superintendent Steve McNeal. "The kids design and cook the meals each day. Everything we have done is driven by local industry. There is nothing we are doing in isolation, everything is within partnerships."
After the presentation Rewey lead a tour through the various updated departments, including the welding lab, machining lab and construction lab. Students in class had a chance to meet and discuss what they were working on with Walker and Evers.
Student Cyler Meiers, at work on a project in the machining lab, was excited to be using the new equipment as he feels that it will help prepare him for his future aspirations.
"Working in here is pretty sweet," said Meiers. "The machines are hard to learn how to use, but I suppose anything worthwhile is. When I get out of school I want to work in a field with heavy machining."
Meiers also is enrolled in a welding course and an auto tech class in which he leaves campus to work in a professional garage. He said he enjoys devoting a large portion of his school days to perusing his interests and gaining experience in his chosen field.
Evers and Walker praised the districts' efforts.
"This is great for the school district," Evers said. "What I see here is the city of Beloit and the Beloit area really collaborating to make this happen, not only offering opportunities for kids but opportunities for employers as well, giving them the chance to hire skilled employees right out of high school. It's the city of Beloit re-imagining itself."
"You're making an effort right here in Beloit," Walker said. "An effort that hopefully others can replicate or piggyback onto. These are the sort of things at the state and local level where there are no partisan lines, we've got Democrats and Republicans coming together on this to make it happen."