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Published: Wednesday, 12/6/2000

Association rewards work of tech school

BY TOM TROY
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Junior Kristi Dawson uses a setup that teaches about different types of switches for pneumatics. Her class will be the first to complete the Toledo Technology Academy's four-year program. Junior Kristi Dawson uses a setup that teaches about different types of switches for pneumatics. Her class will be the first to complete the Toledo Technology Academy's four-year program.
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The Toledo Technology Academy has gained recognition from an industrial association that could mean college scholarships and other benefits for local students.

The four-year technical school based at the DeVilbiss Academic and Technology Center has been named a “key school” by the Fluid Power Educational Foundation.

The foundation represents manufacturers and distributors of hydraulic and pneumatic power equipment and engineering.

John Groots, president of the foundation, estimated that two or three scholarships worth thousands of dollars would be available annually to TTA graduates.

He said the foundation gives between $50,000 and $60,000 a year in scholarships to college students.

The foundation has supported colleges for 40 years and recently turned its attention to high schools to influence students to consider careers in engineering, and fluid power engineering in particular.

Toledo Technology Academy and Seaholm High School in Birmingham, Mich., a suburb of Detroit, are the first to receive the “key school” designation.

Denise Onyia, director of the Toledo school, said the foundation board held a daylong meeting at the school in September.

“They took a tour of the building, and they were so impressed with the degree of fluid power instruction,” Mrs. Onyia said.

“Our students will have access to scholarships supported by the foundation and companies that are members of the foundation,” she said. “It also gives inroads to colleges and universities that are key schools.”

TTA has about 100 students. Mrs. Onyia said more than 90 per cent go into college or technical jobs. Between 60 and 70 per cent go to college.

Fluid power is one of three ways that machinery can be made to move; the other two being electrical and mechanical, Mr. Groot said. Fluid power is commonly used in heavy equipment such as garbage trucks, front-end loaders, and backhoes.

Fluid power also is commonly used in factories to move items from one point to another.

Mr. Groot, who owns a distributorship in New Jersey, said it is often the simplest and cheapest alternative but sometimes is ignored.

“The number of people registering [in fluid power engineering programs] is very low because kids in high school have never heard of fluid power,” Mr. Groot said. “We hope that by using TTA or Seaholm as a model we can influence other schools to push their students to go more into technology.”

He called the foundation's outreach “enlightened self-interest.”

He said Larry Peterson, president of Midwest Fluid Power Co. in Toledo, and a member of the foundation's board of trustees was responsible for organizing the board's meeting at Toledo Technology Academy.

The designation will help the Toledo Technology Academy's students with scholarships to universities, including Purdue University and Ohio State University.

Mr. Groot couldn't predict the amount and number of scholarships that could be funded.

Also, the foundation will pay for 10 TTA students each year to obtain their certifications in fluid power. The fee to the Fluid Power Society is $70 normally, he said.

The foundation will announce its key school award in a ceremony at the school on Friday.



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