Starting at the beginning of the 2017-2018 school year, Slinger High School Social Studies and Technical Education Students used a mini-grant from the Wisconsin Humanities Council to study local workers in construction and trades (past to present). With help from the Wisconsin Humanities Council Working Lives Project website, UW-Oshkosh Sociology professor Paul Van Auken, video producer Dean Leisgang, teachers at Slinger High School, and local volunteers with the History Center of Washington County, the Hartford History Room, and the Slinger Advancement Association, students created a list of potential interviewees and core questions for inquiry. Students then surveyed, photographed, and interviewed many regional community members, Slinger School District alumni, students, workers, and business owners to collect their data. The intersection of people and place, the often hidden human hands behind construction jobs, and the impact of construction and trades on the community were emphasized. Some of the data is reported on this website.
The renovation that took place within the Slinger School District during the 2017-2018 school year coincided with the data collection window for students and, therefore, some students were able to meet with some of these workers in a job shadow or interview context close to or within the school where they were able to document the work being done. Some of this data is shared on this website. We hope it helps raise awareness of the many steps it takes to create buildings for public use, the impact the work can have on worker's lives, the work and workers that often aren't externally visible, and the impact completed buildings can have on clients and community.
Many of the sociology students were able to compare their work with studies emphasized in class: Sociologist Douglas Harper's Cultural Study of Work (2003), UW-Oshkosh Professor Dr. Paul Van Auken's emphasis on Extended Interaction Theory of Community (2010), Hudson and Hudson's emphasis on hidden human hands (2003), and Flora, Flora, and Fey's various capital types that work in cohesion to sustain communities (2004). Some were able to broaden their research to include local, state, and national work force development trends.
In particular, we'd like to thank Heartland Construction, J.H. Hassinger, Inc, Miron Construction Co, Inc, Catalyst Construction, the Slinger Super Speedway, Memorial Go-Kart, Inc, Bray Architecture, Schweitzer Electric, Dale Anderson Masonry, Germantown Iron and Steel, Quest Engineering, E.H. Wolf and Sons, and Keller Construction, Inc. for allowing students to immerse themselves into your work or providing a video or audio interview. Special thanks to all the individual workers and community members who took time to help students and the community learn about the nature of their work. There are too many to acknowledge in this space, but many are listed here.
The Wisconsin Humanities Council is funded in part by the National Endowment of the Humanities and the State of Wisconsin. Click here for more information about the Wisconsin Humanities Council.
2017-18 SCHOOL RENOVATION CONNECTIONS
Click here for a map of where contractors came from to collaborate on the 2017-2018 Slinger School Renovation Project
SLINGER SCHOOL RENOVATION 2017-2018: WORKING LIVES
SLinger HS: ApprenticeS
This 2017-2018 video short shows the importance of school-to-work opportunities for employer and student in the Slinger area and features a teacher, a local businessman, and a recent Slinger graduate who started completed an apprenticeship program.
Racing, MEntoring, Trades, WOrking LIves
tech ed opportunities AT SLINGER HS
This 2017-2018 video short shows aspects of the technical education experience for several students at Slinger High School with a particular emphasis on the importance of hands-on experiences and a pathway to a career.
SHS SCHOOL STORE: IMPACT OF RENOVATION
This 2017-2108 video shows the impact of a newly renovated school store on teachers and students as the Slinger High School business department and administration continues to look for ways for students to get experience on a pathway to a career.
-click here for Working Lives student paper
Nathan Schieve, architect for Bray Architects in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, helps high school students understand his basic job responsibilities and a typical day at work. Bray Architects was working at Slinger High School in 2017-2018.
WORKING LIVES: SCHWEITZER ELECTRIC
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Electrician and Slinger graduate Adam Schweitzer of Schweitzer Electric in Allenton, Wisconsin helps social studies and technical education students understand his basic work responsibilities.
WORKING LIVES: HEARTLAND CONSTRUCTION
Mike Stroik, president of Heartland Construction, lists some of the projects that his company has been involved with in the Slinger area and beyond as he helps educate students about the construction field.
WORKING LIVES:MIRON CONSTRUCTION Company, InC.
Miron Construction Company, Inc. Project Superintendent for the Slinger School District renovation project in 2017-2018, Jason Lemke, explains to high school students what his job requires.
Videos above were created by video producer Dean Leisgang with help from Slinger High School teachers and students. Dean works well with students, teachers, and community partners to produce video stories that meet project goals. For more information on Dean's work, please email him at or call him at 920-360-3235.
STUDENT DATA FROM PROJECTS
"There is a lot of behind the scenes work done in order to make construction sites external/visible. There are so many jobs that go behind the actual construction work. There are product managers, architects, interior designers, financial people, and marketers just to name a few. A construction job cannot be done without all the pieces of the puzzle working together to make one successful project." Slinger Sociology student, Joe Neumann, after a site visits to talk to workers at construction sites (April 2018)
"From the outside you see a building in the process of going up, then it's done, just like we see the forest as a whole, but not each individual tree involved. Its important to get in, to talk to people and observe behind the scenes, and see what is all involved to make that huge creation. There are so many hands involved that most people don't even realize, from the site pick, creation online, blueprints for workers, and so much more." Slinger sociology student after spring site visits to construction sites (April 2018)
"Going behind the scenes to talk to design and construction workers helps us to understand how the community functions and works together to stay functioning. We can see how different businesses come together and collaborate and create a balanced economy so when you're driving down the road and you see a building you can think about all the people involved in making that come together." Slinger sociology student after spring site visits to construction sites (April 2018)
"Craftsmanship consists of the desire to do something well for it's own sake. You recognize that the world has been transformed in some way by your work. Tinkering is a way that young people can make their world intelligible. If you don't feel like you can affect the world, you are likely to not feel responsibility for it. Matt Crawford talking about individual agency in his TED talk (May 9, 2011)