By Drew West
DASSEL, COKATO, MN After months of weekly meetings, special sessions, and several open forums with the community, the career and technical education (CTE) team offered its findings regarding the expansion of CTE programming throughout the district during Tuesday’s Dassel-Cokato School Board meeting.
The community meetings helped outline several top priorities, such as business partnerships, career exploration, industry standard technical training, and technical skill development in each CTE area.
These areas include FACS, business, industrial tech, agriculture, and work experience.
The initiative will aim to accomplish most of its goals over the next three years while simultaneously building a program that is sustainably funded and capable of succeeding well into the future.
Primary actions for 2015-2016 include the purchase of a computer numerical control (CNC) machine, 3D printing upgrades, and saw stops for the table saws.
Upgrades to the FACS facilities and equipment would be another major goal, as well as the separation of the small engines and welding shops.
The focus for 2016-2017 would shift to agriculture, business, and industrial tech classes.
The agriculture department would like to provide an advanced engines course for heavy machinery, which would also require the proper space for such a class.
Agronomy is another subject of interest, and related materials could either be embedded into the existing horticulture curriculum or replace the course entirely.
Business classes would focus on IT, programming, and coding, as well as advanced personal finance, AP accounting, and CIS micro/macro.
The industrial tech overhaul would include replacing old equipment to achieve industry standards, exploring commercial construction opportunities, and offering a female-only shop class to encourage more females to train for and seek out industrial tech careers.
Looking ahead to 2017 and beyond, the district’s goals would revolve around expansions to buildings and equipment.
This would include the creation of an ag mechanics lab, reworking the industrial tech ventilation systems, and expanding the FACS facilities.
Additional actions for the short term and future include increasing the number of work experience sections to two per trimester, considering the institution of cross-department credits, and providing training for industry certifications such as OSHA 10, CCA, and Certified Pesticide Applicator.
High School Principal Dean Jennissen stated “We do have the input and support of our stakeholders. I think we have a community that is very excited about this type of opportunity . . . This fits very well with what Dassel-Cokato is, and what Dassel-Cokato produces.”
Jennissen asked the board for direction.
Superintendent Jeff Powers explained that financial estimates for the program are hard to come by, but said it would most certainly be “in the millions.” He informed the board that a bond vote will be required in the fall of 2016 for the major facility changes that would debut in the fall of 2017.