The Manufacturing Industry Learning Lab (The MiLL) won the 2020 Colorado Succeeds Prize in the "Transformational Impact in a High School" category. The MiLL was awarded $15,000 to use towards its programs.
Watch the Succeeds Prize announcement.
The MiLL is one of Colorado’s leading examples of what it looks like to eliminate silos between school districts and offer students career exploration and skill acquisition in high school. A unique collaboration between Peyton and Widefield school districts in Colorado Springs, the MiLL offers career-connected learning in manufacturing and construction, equipping students with essential skills in creativity and innovation, critical thinking and problem-solving, communication and collaboration, and more.
The people of Colorado Springs voted The Manufacturing Industry Learning Lab (MiLL) as one of the Best Trade Schools in Colorado Springs. The Best Of Colorado Springs is a contest put on the by the Colorado Springs Independent (Indy). Each year the Indy posts out ballots for people to fill out the "Best Of" in a variety of categories.
Visit the MILL Homepage
The MILL stands for "Manufacturing Industry Learning Lab" and is located at the Peyton/Widefield Vocational Education Campus on 4450 Foreign Trade Zone Boulevard across from the Widefield School District's Transportation Department. The official website of the MiLL is themillco.org.
Main Office: (719) 391-3595
CTE Director - Nikki Carter: (719) 391-3680
- Mike Landis: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Eric Davis: email@example.com
Other MiLL Contacts:
- Peyton Superintendent - Tim Kistler - (719) 749-2330
- Widefield Superintendent - Kevin Dure - (719) 391-3000
Career In Construction Classes are designed for students to gain valuable skills to jumpstart a career. Students learn by doing, so daily they apply classroom skill to real-life projects, such as building desk chairs, shed, a Home Build Projects, Habitat for Humanity homes, and more.
Student will be receiving instruction and training in the following units, while also earning U.S. Department of Labor-recognized industry certificates:
- Building Trade Safety and First Aid
- Basic Construction Math and Print Reading
- Tools and Construction Materials
- Laying roofs with plywood and shingles
- Installing cabinets and countertops
- Building walls
- Installing circuit panels
- Installing conduit and wiring
- Systems testing and repairs
- Installing and repairing plumbing systems
- Cutting and joining pipes
- Installing fixtures and appliances
- OSHA 10
- Recognition, avoidance, abatement and prevention of safety and health hazards in the workplace
- Information regarding workers' rights, employer responsibilities, and how to file a complaint
Students can speak to their school counselor to enroll in CIC Classes.
The Construction Technology Program is a:
- Curriculum from the Home Builders Institute
- Pre-Apprenticeship Certificate Training
- Qualified Instructors
- Hands-on instruction and practice
CONSTRUCTION TECHNOLOGY - I/II
Semester course: 9-10-11-12
1 elective credit and 1 CTE Math credit
This course is intended for students who want to develop skills common to the construction trade. Students will receive in-depth instruction in the use of hand and power tools. They will be expected to perform practical exercises on a wide variety of equipment commonly used in the construction trade. Students will acquire basic drafting skills and learn to read and understand architectural plans. Students will learn the basics of materials use, cost, and estimating for a variety of projects. Students are expected to demonstrate their knowledge through the construction of a required projects. A special emphasis is placed on safety for the construction trade.
Construction Technology is a Year Long course. NOTE: Students are enrolled in Construction Technology I for first semester and Construction Technology II for second semester.
CONSTRUCTION TECHNOLOGY III/IV
Semester Course 10-11-12
Prerequisite: Construction Technology I/II
1 CTE Math Credit, 1 Physical Science Credit
This course is intended for students who want to develop skills common to the construction trade. Students will learn the basics of Electricity / Electronics to include instruction in the theory of electricity and in the terminology, skills, and safety procedures common to careers involving electricity and electronics. Topics include (but are not limited to) Ohm’s law, electrical equipment, wire systems, and so on; career exploration is an integral part of the courses. Students will also learn the basics of Plumbing. This course will provide students with instruction in installing waste and vent systems, water and gas pipes, trim, and fixtures. Skills taught include cutting and joining various types of pipe (for instance, steel, plastic) using various methods (cement, seat method, and so on).
Construction Technology III/IV is a Year Long course. NOTE: Students are enrolled in Construction Technology III for first semester and Construction Technology IV for second semester.
Construction Technology V/VI
Semester course: 11-12
Prerequisite: Construction Technology III/IV
1 elective credit and 1 Physical Science credit
This course is intended for students who want to develop skills common to the construction trade. Students will learn the basics HVAC to include instruction in skills and safety procedures common to careers involving construction., HVAC mechanics, troubleshooting, repair of HVAC systems and their components (e.g., motors, filtration devices, intake & exhaust fans, ducts, ductless splits, wiring, pipes, vacuums, heat pumps, hermetic compressors, economizers, loop systems).
Construction Technology V/VI is a Year Long course. NOTE: Students are enrolled in Construction Technology V for first semester and Construction Technology VI for second semester.
Construction Technology VII/VIII
Semester course: 11-12
Prerequisite: Construction Technology V/VI
2 elective credits (as of now)
This course is intended for students who want to develop more advanced skills common to the construction trade. Students will learn the basics of masonry, painting and finishing, landscaping, and weatherization to include instruction in skills and safety procedures common to careers involving construction. Topics include (but are not limited to) mixer operation, masonry saw use, measuring and cutting use of power aerators, dethatchers, chemical and environmental impacts, as well as sealants, coatings, fillers, energy leaks and weatherization tools.
Construction Technology VII/VIII is a Year Long course. NOTE: Students are enrolled in Construction Technology VII for first semester and Construction Technology VIII for second semester.
The MiLL Advanced Cabinet Manufacturing program is designed to teach students the skills required in today’s global economy. Students who complete this program are trained and certified in using state of the art tools and machinery used every day in the advanced manufacturing industry.
Students learn skills preparing them for careers, college or any other cabinet manufacturing path they choose.
- All materials and supplies are provided at no cost to the student through our industry partners.
- Leadership and professionalism is a cornerstone of our curriculum
- Students can join Skills USA, a student led leadership organization
- Students can participate in regional, state and national competitions.
Credits, Certifications, and Interships
- Students can earn up to 4 credits per school year, including math and elective credits (depending on your school district)
- Students can earn Woodwork Career Alliance (WCA) Certifications
- Students have the opportunity to meet with industry representatives and local and national employers
- Program completers have the opportunity to apply for paid internships.
CABINET MANUFACTURING - I/II
Year Course: 9-10-11-12
In Cabinet Manufacturing I & II, students build a basic plywood and hardwood cabinet using Lean Manufacturing principles. Students learn to use a tape measure, produce drawings, create a bill of materials, and use high-quality machinery safely. The cabinet includes a hardwood face frame, legs, door, drawer and tabletop. Assembly of the cabinet utilizes rabbet and dado joints construction. Students also receive an introduction to CNC automated technology.
CABINET MANUFACTURING - III/IV
Year Course: 9-10-11-12
Prerequisite: Cabinet Manufacturing I/II
In Cabinet Manufacturing III & IV, students build a small profile table from solid hardwoods using Mortise and Tenon joints. Advanced manufacturing equipment is used to continue student learning of the processes involved in Lean Manufacturing and dimensioning lumber. The table includes a dovetailjointed drawer, as well as Greene & Greene style accents that include Blacker leg indents, knuckle legs, and cloud lift style aprons. The top is made from solid hardwood. More advanced CNC technologies are learned as students produce some of the Greene & Greene accents on the Legacy CNC router.
CABINET MANUFACTURING - V/VI
Year Course: 11-12
Prerequisite: Cabinet Manufacturing I/II and Cabinet Manufacturing III/IV
In Cabinet Manufacturing V & VI, students use Lean Manufacturing practices to build a Skills USA table. The cabinet features Mortise & Tenon joinery produced on the 3 axis JDS Multi Router. It has an edge banded plywood carcase, five-piece door, dovetailed drawer, external four piece legs, veneer top, and custom lathe turned handles. Students use software to produce drawings and the bill of materials.
CABINET MANUFACTURING VII/VIII
Year Course: 11-12
Prerequisite: Cabinet Manufacturing I-VI
Students will use Lean Manufacturing and will be tasked with taking an existing plan, a tool chest (replicating a customer’s idea in the business world), modifying that plan, submitting a bill of materials, a bill of sale and a scale drawing. Students will learn and be expected to bid the project, establish timelines, price out materials, as well as continuing to learn new techniques involved with cabinet construction. Students will then be tasked with programming their tool chest on the CN C technology in the shop, assembling, personalizing, and finishing their tool chest. In addition to building their tool chest, students will be given plans for shop made hand tools to begin to fill their tool chest. As much work as practical and possible will be done on the CNC equipment in the shop
The introduction to metal working class, known as Metals 1, is a one semester-long, one-period class offered at Widefield and Mesa Ridge High Schools' metal shops. Courses begin with safety training and measurement review and then introduce welding areas of operation such as: oxy-acetylene, arc (stick), and wire feed (MIG), along with forming, grinding, cutting and polishing of mild steel. Students utilize multiple metalworking and welding processes learned in the course to create an assigned final project that they customize and get to keep.
Offered at The Mill as a one semester-long, block-length class, Metals 2 takes many of the skills from the intro class and develops them further. Heavier emphasis is placed on arc welding (stick) and wire feed (MIG) techniques in flat, horizontal, vertical, and overhead positions. Oxy-acetylene cutting is introduced as well. In the second half of each semester, students design and fabricate an individual final project that demonstrates their cumulative metalworking experiences. Prior to beginning the build, each metalworker must create hand-drawn plans, develop a bill of materials for ordering steel including the calculation of project costs, and create a cut list for their raw materials. Final projects go home with the students at the end of the semester.
Also offered at The Mill as a one semester-long, block-length class, Metals 3 was created to offer metalworking students an introduction course to the Tungsten Inert Gas Welding (TIG) process used to join either mild steel, stainless steel, or aluminum using techniques similar to oxy-acetylene filler rod welding from Metals 1. The course structure follows the general path of the preceding courses with practice weld assignments to develop students' TIG welding skills in multiple positions and with various structural materials such as sheet metal, plate, and tubing. Similar to Metals 2, this course includes a final project that is assembled with the newly-developed TIG welding skills.
In the fall of 2015, Peyton 23-JT Superintendent Tim Kistler hired Dean Mattson to teach state-of-the-art woodworking manufacturing classes. Mattson is a former professional cabinet maker who started a similar program at a high school in Oregon that was a huge success. The program became known as the Peyton Woods Manufacturing Program with a shop that includes more than $800,000 in loaned equipment from some of the industry's biggest names.
Widefield School District 3 (WSD3) Superintendent Scott Campbell was blown away by the potential of the program after attending an open house and jumped at the opportunity to get his students involved. In the spring of 2016, Widefield sent 30 students to Peyton to be a part of the program. There is now 180 students from six school districts taking the Peyton Woods program every day.
The success of the program, in less than a year, prompted Mattson, Kistler and Campbell to create a partnership that will allow the program to expand in Southern Colorado. The two school districts entered into a partnership through the Peyton/Widefield Vocational Education Campus, which houses a 46,000-square-foot building located south of the Colorado Springs Airport.
Stiles Machinery, headquartered in Grand Rapids, Mich., has committed a significant amount of equipment for woodworking students to use. The Wood Machinery Manufacturers of America and the Woodworking Machinery Industry Association donated $25,000 to the MiLL. We also have 40 exclusive partners and are excited to build more relationships with those interested in giving students a career pathway and strengthening Colorado's workforce.
Widefield has also partnered with the Colorado Springs Housing and Building Association to use the House Builders Institute (HBI) curriculum for the construction program. The HBI curriculum focuses on the Pre-Apprenticeship Training Program and the first year includes Building Trades Safety, Construction Math, Tools and Construction Materials, Employability, and Green Building.