A nonprofit and its business partners are supporting a new manufacturing program launching at White Bear Lake Area High School next fall.
The White Bear Lake school district accepted a $250,000 grant in 2014 from the Greater Twin Cities United Way to purchase manufacturing equipment. The organization also is providing funds for a “career navigator” to teach job readiness skills and help students obtain internships.
A number of area manufacturing business representatives are helping develop the manufacturing curriculum and will provide the work experiences.
Technology education teacher Delroy Nyren is leading the initiative and secured the grant funding.
“It's through his networking and legwork that the manufacturing pathway that we are rolling out next year is possible,” South Campus Principal Tim Wald told the District 624 School Board last week.
The school is calling the new offerings the “manufacturing pathway” because it is targeted toward students considering manufacturing as a career.
A two-semester course called “manufacturing and applied engineering” will be offered next year at South Campus. In 2016-17, this course will be offered at both campuses and an advanced yearlong course called “precision manufacturing” will be offered at South Campus.
Pupils who complete the course that will be offered starting next year can earn a level one credential from the National Institute for Metalworking Skills. Students who complete the precision course can earn a level two credential. WBLAHS is the only school in the Twin Cities offering the certifications, Nyren said.
The curriculum is still in development. Pupils will learn computer-aided design and modeling and how to operate equipment such as CNC mills. National Institute for Metalworking Skills requirements will guide much of the curriculum, but suggestions from area business leaders are also being incorporated, Nyren said. He noted that he has been meeting with business volunteers to discuss the skills their workers need and said he is striving to incorporate many of those skills into the classes.
“I can't say enough about how this course will support the manufacturing companies in our area,” said Jim Stephan of DuFresne Manufacturing, who has volunteered as one of the business advisors. “This course is going to create skilled workers that will trickle into the workforce.”