Dean Mattson, credited for revamping the high school shop program in Salem, Ore., is going national. With industry support, Mattson is working to open the National Woods Manufacturing Training Center in Peyton, Colo., in 2017.
Mattson developed his career technical education program about eight years ago at North Salem High School, which at the time served about 100 students and was dying on the vine. Heavily infused with lean manufacturing principals, enrollment has increased to more than 700 students. He’s been honored by the Wood Machinery Industry Association and shared his dream of creating a national program at the 2014 Wood Industry Conference in Puerto Rico.
The center found a home when Tim Kistler, superintendent of Peyton School District, offered a vacant middle school. It will start with about 100 high school students and eventually be expanded to offer training for graduate students, returning veterans and woodworking instructors.
The center has received tooling and machinery donations worth about $2.5 million. Sponsors include Stiles, Leitz Tooling, Columbia Forest Products, TigerStop, Bosch and Kreg Tools.
“We know the future of our industry probably doesn’t have their driver’s license yet,” Leitz Tooling CEO Mike Lind says. “It’s critical that programs like Dean has developed offer current technologies and capabilities so graduates are ready to contribute.”
This article originally appeared in the November 2015 issue.