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Glimpse into Manufacturing

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Students get behind-the-scenes glimpse into manufacturing

When you ride on a snowmobile, look at the inside of a freezer or open a window or door, you probably don’t consider how all of its parts were created. But local high school students recently had the chance to see the manufacturing processes needed to make these components and a variety of other consumer products.

Students from Chanhassen High School and Chaska High School attended a tour organized by Hennepin Technical College (HTC). They visited Climatech, an Eden Prairie-based company which manufactures items for many customers worldwide.

“I thought it was cool to learn about the parts and pieces that we use every day. I thought – wow, they make those things here,” said Tatumn Nygen, student, Chanhassen High School.

Because February is Career and Technical Education Month, HTC is encouraging high school students to learn how an associate degree, certificate or diploma can get students started on a high-paying career.

Chaska High School student Antoinette Simbi listened intently when Climatech employees described their educational backgrounds and the variety of lucrative careers available at the company and in the field of manufacturing. The tour was an opportunity for Simbi to consider what matters most as she decides on her path after high school graduation.

“I want a job that’s stable. You need money to pay bills and pay taxes. Money matters but at the same time, I have to wake up and be excited about what I do,” said Simbi, student, Chaska High School.

There was no shortage of enthusiasm from Climatech employees who described why they feel tremendous job satisfaction. Several employees spoke about working as a team to solve problems from customers who need specific items to be created through custom manufacturing processes. They were eager to dispel myths about their field.

“In the past, people thought of manufacturing as dirty or grimy. That’s not today’s manufacturing. We have a high-tech, clean workplace. We’re proud to show it off to customers and future employees,” said Zach Steffens, plant manager, Climatech.

Students walked through Climatech’s workspaces and watched how employees interact with each other and viewed the impressive automated machinery that produce products for customers. In recent years, the mid-sized company has hired several employees who are alumni of HTC.

For Chaska High School College/Career Resource Center Counselor Tara Halvorson, the visit reinforced her opinion that students need to aren’t aware of many of the careers options available in the community.

“As college and career counselors, we’re always talking about the great opportunities, job placement and the terrific salaries that students can earn right away when they graduate from a technical college,” said Halvorson. “A hands-on career is exciting for many of our students.”