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Career Pathways — Manufacturing
        Teaching Today Minnesota | Spring 2024                                                                                                 Page 5

                 Saints Manufacturing Student Success

                                                                                are making one kind of component across mul-  with  understanding  partnerships,  Trost  says
                                                                                tiple class periods.               that this sort of self-discovery is exactly what’s
                                                                                   McDonald  was  receptive  to  the  partner-  intended within the program.
                                                                                ship  ever  since  Trost  reached  out  about  it.   “It’s  a  great  opportunity,”  Trost  said.
                                                                                MNDOT was looking for such an opportunity,   “If students think maybe they want to go into
                                                                                and were happy to provide opportunities to train   welding, that student can come in and try it —
                                                                                the next workforce.                and if they don’t like it, they can try machining
                                                                                   “It’s been awesome,” McDonald said. “It’s   or another facet of manufacturing. The impor-
                                                                                a great program, it’s a win-win for both of us.   tant part is that it’s not a business, it’s a class.
                                                                                Obviously  the  kids  are  getting  an  education   You can switch gears.”
                                                                                out of it and we’re getting a quality product in   Trost  has  received  welcome  responses
                                                                                a timely fashion. He’s building the next work-  outside of the program, as well. Saints Manu-
                                                                                force, that’s what he’s doing. Those kids, the   facturing  finds  plenty  of  support  with  the  St.
                                                                                benefits they’re getting out of it are going way   Francis  School  Board,  President  Mike  Starr
                                                                                beyond welding and machining. They’re build-  included.
                                                                                ing real-world skills.”                “It’s outstanding that we have something
                                                                                   Ask any of the students in Saints Manufac-  like this,” Starr said. “As a school board presi-
                                                                                turing what they’re learning in class, and they’ll   dent,  I’m  amazed  with  what  these  kids  are
                                                                                prove McDonald right. When asked about the   doing every time I walk in.”
                                                                                most valuable things they’re learning in class,   Industries have also been receptive, Trost
                                                                                their answers will go beyond how to operate a   says, even with the misconception that industry
        By Ian Wreisner, ABC Newspapers     a project from start to finish,” Trost said. “It’s   piece of equipment.  leaders would be upset that students are “taking
            Walking  into  Saints  Manufacturing,  it   a real job, for a real customer, for real money.”  “Honestly,  patience,”  student  Lydia   their work.” Trost heard as much when attend-
        would be easy to mistake the space as a bona   All of the funds received by Saints Manu-  Nelson  said.  “I’ve  learned  a  lot  about  just   ing a conference in Wisconsin where another
        fide factory floor. Each machine is stationed by   facturing goes right back into the program. This   slowing down and thinking about things more   school was presenting their own manufacturing
        a knowledgeable student, product is getting pre-  year sees the class hitting new heights with the   fully and from different angles.”  program.
        pared for real-world use and the communication   $200,000 mark getting crossed, a testament to   Student  Kody  Schumacher,  who  acts  as   “Someone  asked  what  the  industry
        making  sure  everything  is  running  smoothly   the overall growth seen by Saints Manufactur-  a  class  production  manager,  responded  that   thought about ‘you taking their work,’” Trost
        and safely is constant. The only difference is   ing in recent times. A pre-pandemic expansion   “Communication is key.” As a student in a lead-  said. “Before anybody could even call on him,
        that this is taking place in a St. Francis High   to the lab saw the space double in size, and slots   ership role and hopeful  future elevator trades   (a business owner) raised his hand and said, ‘As
        School classroom.                   for the elective classes continue to fill up. Saints   member, the lesson is invaluable.  a  business  owner  of  multiple  businesses,  my
            The  Saints  Manufacturing  program,   Manufacturing  is  operating  at  a  capacity  that   Still,  some  students  are  able  to  learn   quote to you is if you can’t compete with a high
        headed by instructor Erik Trost, is a series of   Trost previously hadn’t expected.  important lessons about themselves. Student   school, you shouldn’t be in business.’”
        elective  classes  that  teaches  students  aspects   “I never thought in a million years we’d   John Deschenes was able to discover a future   Local businesses have donated equipment
        of  manufacturing  like  welding,  machining,   have three CNC (computer numerical control)   career  through  his  participation  in  Saints   and experience to Saints Manufacturing, with
        machine programming, print reading and more   mills sitting on our floor at a high school, where   Manufacturing.  Trost reporting one business donating upwards
        — ranging from quoting a job to running a shop   there’s times we could use a fourth,” Trost said.   “I  started  out  not  knowing  what  it  is  I   of six figures in equipment and materials. For
        floor.                              “I  never thought we’d  be  running  weld  posi-  wanted  to  do  (in  the  future),  but  after  three   Trost, though, the most important thing that his
            “In  this  class,  the  learning  objectives   tioners. With some of the MNDOT stuff we’ve   years in the program I know I want to go into   students can receive is knowledge.
        change daily because it’s a live, living thing,”   had to upgrade our welding fleet. These are jobs   CNC  programming,”  Deschenes  said.  “I  feel   “I’m not worried as much about the finan-
        Trost  said.  “Different  tasks  come  in,  differ-  that students have quoted and worked through.”  pretty  lucky  to  have  (Saints  Manufacturing).   cial piece as we’ve got most of that covered,”
        ent orders come in, so then we have to shift   Trost emphasized that the class does not   I don’t know what would have happened if I   Trost  said.  “The  way  that  you  can  be  most
        gears.  They’re  still  working  on  the  skill   take out contracts, but work agreements. That   didn’t have this.”  beneficial  to  this  program  is  your  intellectual
        building things they’ve learned in the prereq-  means  that  there’s  less  of  a  focus  on  dead-  With the way that the program has come
        uisite  courses,  but  now  we’re  talking  about   lines and a greater emphasis on learning, with   together, with an education-first approach and   Continued on Page 6
        sequencing jobs, logistics, making sure we’re   the understanding that the job will happen at
        processing the right materials.”    a  pace  the  students  can  handle.  Customers
            The  Saints  Manufacturing  class  is  the   are receptive to the agreement, and happy to
        highest  step  in  the  manufacturing  program,   provide  the  work  as  Brian  McDonald  with
        which has three prerequisite courses that teach   MNDOT explained.
        students  how  to  safely  operate  each  piece  of   “We  understand  it’s  a  class,”  McDonald
        equipment in the lab, including a machine tools   said.  “I’m  heavily  involved,  I’m  training  my
        class, that qualifies students for the manufactur-  guys here to have that understanding that we
        ing class.                          look down the road to the stuff we need so we
            Saints  Manufacturing  takes  on  orders   can give those guys plenty of time to get the
        from  the  community,  with  its  largest  col-  things  completed.  Some  of  the  simpler  parts,
        laborator  being  the  Minnesota  Department   they’re  turning  them  around  as  fast  or  faster
        of  Transportation. As  Trost  talked  about  the   than we’d get from private industry.”
        program, students were currently working on   The agreement works well for Trost, too,
        manufacturing  carts  that  would  store  plows   who intentionally tries to select jobs that will
        during  the  off-season  and  suspension  pieces   be  most  beneficial  for  his  students.  Reason-
        that would support them on their trucks during   ably  sized  orders  lead  to  more  learning  for
        next season. Students are involved during the   students  who  will  have  to  switch  parts  more
        whole process, from quoting MNDOT for time   often,  keeping  students  engaged  and  on  their
        and supplies up to shipping the parts out.  toes. Large orders aren’t out of the question, but
            “Our students are having to take a look at   “lose  their  educational  value”  when  students
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