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Saint Paul College A Community & Technical College

Students Gain Competitive Advantage through Real-World Training

Gaining real-world project experience provides students with a competitive advantage in the marketplace. Employers value employees who recognize when projects go differently than planned and who have the skills to insert necessary corrective actions while maintaining high levels of production. Saint Paul College has partnered with Northeast Metro 916 Intermediate School District (NE Metro 916) for many years to provide real-world training for both high school and college students who desire work in Career & Technical fields.

NE Metro 916 is one of four intermediate school districts in Minnesota, serving nearly 5,000 students. Their Career & Tech division offers 20 programs that provide high school students with the opportunity to gain professional skills, industry certifications, and college credit to help students progress in their educational journey. Students enrolled in the Career & Tech courses come from 14 school districts north and east of Minneapolis/St. Paul area and complete their coursework during a normal school day. Saint Paul College’s Cabinetmaking students partnered with NE Metro 916 and others this year to construct a new home in North Saint Paul.


As part of this new home construction, cabinetmaking students received home plans, went to the job site and measured cabinet needs, planned for materials, and then installed cabinets. Throughout this process, students learned invaluable lessons on selecting appropriate wood materials, how to select from various hardware options, using different construction and finishing techniques, and other related construction real-world challenges that are common in this professional career.

The real-world experience gained in this experience was PRICELESS, according to both students and instructors. Students learned how to think critically about options for addressing unique challenges, and this project helped prepare them for challenges that will come in their careers. Not only did they see how finished products change from original plans, but they gained invaluable experience in making these changes and communicating the “tricks of the trade” with younger students which helped further solidify their learning experiences.

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