Jack Patten & His Education Journey
Jack Patten from Northome, Minnesota, graduated high school on May 28, 2021. In addition to a high school diploma, Patten earned a certificate in Production Technologies from Northwest Technical College in Bemidji, Minnesota. Patten enrolled in the Minnesota Manufactured program in the fall of 2019. Managed by the Minnesota State Advanced Manufacturing Center of Excellence, the program was initially developed for incumbent workers; however, more high school students have taken advantage of the online technical education. Patten completed the 16-credit certificate along with additional college credits while attending high school and working a part-time job.
When asked what made him enroll in Minnesota Manufactured, Patten said “I heard about the courses while on a tour at Northwest Technical College. I was taking high school welding at that time, I really enjoyed it and wanted to develop my skills. I wanted to gain a better understanding of welding and manufacturing processes while earning college credits.” Delivered by a consortium of Minnesota State colleges, Minnesota Manufactured courses are fully online except for hands-on welding labs. All the course content is accessed online while the welding skills are taught in the lab. Patten shared, “These classes did an excellent job of making the process more interesting and fun, especially the hands-on ones. The instructors were all very kind and understanding, as well.”
Patten plans to further his education in the field of engineering by attending Iron Range Engineering, a satellite program of Minnesota State University, Mankato located on campus at Mesabi Range College in Virginia, Minnesota. Reflecting on the value of this education for finding work and continuing his education, Patten said, “The classes have provided a great foundation for an engineering career, and I’m sure I will use these skills every day as an engineer. I also know that my certificate will give me the ability to find a good job in the industry while going to school.”
“Do it!” is the advice Patten gives to other high school students. “The program equips you with the knowledge that you can use for your entire life even if you are not going into a field that relates directly to the program. The skills you learn here [like] quality practices, technical math, welding, print reading, etc., will give you an advantage that most high schoolers do not receive. Not many people can say they graduated high school with a college certificate.”