The National Woods Manufacturing Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., is scheduled to open in August, representing a national model that industry leaders hope to replicate in other areas of the country.
The 46,660-sq.-ft. facility is roughly divided into three spaces for wood industry training, manufacturing industry learning labs and education for other building trades, such as automotive and metal fabrication.
The center began as the Peyton Woods Manufacturing Program to provide advanced manufacturing and trade training to area students and adults. Dean Mattson, creator of an impressive shop program in North Salem, Ore., came aboard as the program’s director. District superintendent Tim Kistler provided a vacant middle school to host the program.
Industry support — from Stiles Machinery, Leitz Tooling, Columbia Forest Products, TigerStop, Bosch, Kreg Tools and others — has provided approximately $2.5 million in tool and machinery donations.
Last year, the Widefield School District of Colorado Springs partnered with the Peyton School District to get its students involved. The program currently serves 180 students from six districts, prompting the need for an updated facility.
“We’ve created a curriculum, solicited millions of dollars of in-kind donations from the manufacturing sector and we have a student population now, so the only thing we have left to do is raise some capital to do the remodeling of our building, such as put the wiring to the machines. That’s our heavy lifting right now. We need to raise a little over a million dollars to do that,” Mattson says.
“We have contractors, laborers, HVAC technicians and electricians donating time, but not raw materials like duct work and hard wires. That’s where we are still being challenged. So we’ve done everything we can possibly do for this industry. We need to have these employers step up and see the value. As a result, they’ll get top selection opportunities for all of their talent. The urgency is if we don’t get enough capital, we have to delay our August opening.”
This article originally appeared in the March 2017 issue.