CLEVELAND — Shop classes used to be a mainstay in high school curriculum, but they're quickly disappearing.
Shrinking budgets and the emphasis on college are partially to blame, but right now, the demand for workers in skilled trades is climbing, and those careers can pay very well, too.
Enter Motogo, a non-profit bringing shop class back to local schools.
"The idea is by using your hands, you are waking up a different part of your brain that could change the trajectory of your future," Molly Vaughan, who with her partner founded Motogo in 2018, explained.
Today, the organization works directly with schools across Northeast Ohio and throughout the Cleveland Metropolitan School District. To date, more than 500 students have experienced this unique program.
"They are learning that failure is not a step on the road to success," Vaughan said of the program that encourages students to get dirty, experiment, work together, and become comfortable using tools. "Sometimes, failing is the success. You need to mess it up before that motorcycle runs."
"Our engine had a lot of problems," Bella Carey, a student at Laurel School in Shaker Heights, described. "We had to replace the things that shouldn't have broken in the first place."
Some schools offer credit for the program, but all who support Motogo see its lasting benefit, regardless of future plans.
"It's really collaborative and hands on," student Ella Espiritu said. "I feel like a lot of these are practical skills, because you are using your hands and learn how to do all these things. You can actually see the fruits of your labors."
Satisfaction guaranteed, especially when the motorcycle engine fires up for the first time. Right now, their work is on display in the "Open Road: Lure of Motorcycling in Ohio" exhibit at the Crawford Auto-Aviation Museum at the Western Reserve Historical Society.
"Oh, it's cool," Vaughn gushed. "To think that the general public in Cleveland is going to see shop class on display as a piece of artwork in a museum, just as in should be."