Ribbon cutting at Center for Career Education

WORTHINGTON – Visitors were welcomed into Minnesota West’s Center for Career Education Thursday for an open house and ribbon cutting ceremony. The Center, located in the former Worthington Fire Hall, now houses an auto mechanics class for Worthington High School students and Minnesota West’s Customized Training.

According to District 518 Superintendent John Landgaard, this is the first time students have had an auto mechanics class in more than seven years. While the classes are taught by the college, the students come from the high school. Landgaard said the arrangement is working well, and the collaboration gives students an opportunity to learn they could not provide. The class, taught by instructor Terry DeNeui, currently has approximately 20 students.

The vehicles the class works on include those owned by the school, ones the students own themselves and those brought in. According to DeNeui, as long as parts are provided, the students can do the work. For example, if a customer brings in the oil and filter, the students will change the oil for $10.

Worthington Mayor Al Oberloh was pleased with the repurposing of the old fire hall. He said the council was hoping to find a use for the building that would not disturb the neighborhood, and Minnesota West’s use of the facility fits the bill perfectly.

Oberloh is also pleased to see the vo-tech programs coming back.

It isn’t just high school students who are getting a chance to dig into a technical field. The Center also houses part of Minnesota West Customized Training program. Currently, maintenance employees from JBS are learning about hydraulics and pneumatics. Instructor Joel Timm said the program can handle refresher or in-depth classes in a variety of subjects that ranges from welding to computer and PLC programming. In the past, many of the customized training classes had to take place at the business that wanted the training. With the new facility, some of those classes can be done at the Center. This is particularly handy, Timm said, for those businesses that use proprietary information and technology.

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