The 360 eTECH high school program has finished its first year of offering manufacturing curriculum in high schools. This program has provided a great opportunity to develop the future skilled manufacturing work force, starting in high school. It offers students the chance to jump start their manufacturing education and career path. Barnum, Carlton, and Cook County High Schools were the participants in the 360 eTECH program this past year. Through the 360 eTECH program, the students learned about available manufacturing careers and how to pursue them. They were also prepared to test for an industry-recognized credential from the Manufacturing Skill Standards Council while still in high school. By working with 360, the high schools received the necessary support they needed to aid their students on their path to success. Many students are on-track to complete the Production Technologies and Welding Technology certificates in Spring 2016. Ten students completed the first year of the 360 eTECH program, with five of those ten students pursuing the Welding Technology certificate. This certificate is a combination of online instruction paired with on-site labs at Lake Superior College in Duluth. Students were able to learn how to weld at Lake Superior College’s new state-of-the-art Downtown Center. “The 360 eTECH program is designed to be a convenient and affordable way in which high school students can gain the necessary skills to advance their futures in manufacturing,” shares Jeremy Leffelman, 360 Assistant Director. How it works 360 eTECH courses can be used to fulfill general electives offered by the high schools, and students enroll in the online program. Students receive dual credit from the high school and enrolling college upon successful completion of the course. After completing the high school program, the students are able to continue their education in a variety of fields including automation, machining, production, and welding. All courses are taught by the same faculty who teach traditional on-campus courses from 360 partner colleges in the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system. Developing in-demand skills “With these foundational skills, students, upon graduation, will be able to enter the local workforce with the skills companies need,” states Leffelman. In fact, manufacturing supports 17.4 million jobs in the United States, according to the National Manufacturing Association. According to the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, Minnesota has more than 307,200 manufacturing jobs statewide and has an average salary of $59,565 per year. The 360 eTECH High School program is providing the opportunity for students to develop skills needed by manufacturing businesses to launch a successful career in the industry. Learn more about 360 eTECH at 360etech.org.