Minnesota West to host open house
WORTHINGTON — The Worthington campus of Minnesota West Community and Technical College is hosting an open house at the Center for Career Education, 1215 Third Ave. from 9 to 10 a.m. Thursday.
A short ribbon-cutting ceremony will begin at 9 a.m., with a tour of the facility available to the public afterward. Attendees will be able to listen in on the new classes and see the facility’s interior renovations.
Minnesota West purchased the old Worthington fire hall building in July. In a quick turnaround, the facility was prepared for the 2013-2014 school year.
“This has been a long time coming,” said Dennis Hampel, Dean of Career and Technical Programs at Minnesota West’s Jackson campus. “I looked at about four or five sites in Worthington to start this program. The new center allows us an opportunity to have a vocational school presence in Worthington.”
The space is now divided between customized training for JBS employees and technical classes for high school students to earn college credits.
Currently, JBS is doing customized training in electronic controls, hydraulics and pneumatics for its maintenance employees. The classes are coordinated to meet the timeframe for the company.
“Right now the classes are only 48 hours in pneumatics and hydraulics, but we’d like to double that in the future,” said Joel Timm, an instructor for JBS employees at the new center.
Worthington High School students are also using the space for automotive classes.
“We see it as an extension to their shop at the high school,” said Dawn Regnier, director of customized training and continuing education at Minnesota West’s Canby campus. “Right now they have the auto classes, but if the high school wants a different program in place they can do that. Rather than use the space for a single purpose, we want it to fit the needs that the high school and other businesses have.”
When looking into adding technical classes for high school students, Hampel discovered there was a great need.
“(WHS) Principal (Paul) Karelis and I have had many conversations about this and we saw that there are a lot of kids interested in technical classes,” Hampel said. “With this center, we are now able to reach those kids and offer these kinds of classes.”
The new Center for Career Education is currently only for high school students and JBS employees, but the addition is a valuable added feature for the college.
“It’s hard to get space at the college for these types of classes,” Regnier said. “Especially with the renovated work shop, this gives individuals hands on experience.
For more information, call 372-3472.