The Manufacturing Industry Learning Lab (MiLL) is up and running in Widefield School District 3 (WSD3). A grand opening was held on October 5, 2017 for industry partners, community members, and students.
“A lot of people made this happen and I’m just so thankful,” said Dean Mattson, founder of Peyton Woods and instructor at the MiLL.
The MiLL is a national training center created by a unique partnership between Widefield and Peyton school districts. It houses three programs including woods manufacturing, cabinetry, and construction. The goal is to expand career pathways for students while strengthening Colorado’s workforce.
“Over the next decade nearly 3 ½ million manufacturing jobs will likely need to be filled,” said Les Smith, Market Development Manager for Sherwin Williams.
Sherwin Williams is one of more than 40 industry partners and has donated $300,000 to the MiLL. The company will be setting up its second design center in the country at the MiLL facility.
The MiLL is also helping bring back Widefield’s construction program that was cut years ago due to budget constraints. The Housing and Building Association of Colorado Springs is providing its’ Careers in Construction curriculum to offer students pathways to success in building trades. The curriculum focuses on the Pre-Apprenticeship Training Program and includes Building Trades Safety, Construction Math, Tools and Construction Materials, Employability, and Green Building.
“We are professionals in construction, not education. Our commitment is to support our
school districts with construction expertise and resources, and to let the schools do what
they do best – teach,” said George Hess, HBA president.
Widefield is fortunate to have two industrial technical education teachers with backgrounds in the construction field. Branden Martinez, Sproul Junior High teacher, has a background as a journeyman plumber and Jeff Beatty, Mesa Ridge High School, has a background as an electrician. Both split their time between teaching at their home schools and instructing at the MiLL. The district is excited to bring real-world application to students in our community.
“There is a national shortage of skilled workers. Having been in a skilled trade I know our kids have the ability to meet that need,” said Beatty.
The 46,000 square-foot building is located at 4450 Foreign Trade Zone across from WSD3’s transportation department.
For more information please visit themillco.org.