Revitalizing manufacturing and engineering at LNHS

LNHS received a new plasma cutter thanks to a partnership between BTD Manufacturing and the high school.

LNHS received a new plasma cutter thanks to a partnership between BTD Manufacturing and the high school.

Lakeville North High School’s STEM Manufacturing and Engineering pathway is getting needed support, thanks to a partnership with a local company.

BTD Manufacturing’s contribution of $25,000 allowed Lakeville North has been able to purchase a new plasma cutter, said Holly Standke, one of four deans of students at LNHS.

The contribution came after the school reached out to the Airlake Industrial Park business last year to see how the school and business might be able to partner to rebuild and redesign the school’s manufacturing and engineering pathway, Standke said.

BTD, which stands for Bismarck Tool and Die, acquired the former Performance Tool and Die, has been in Lakeville since 2005.

“BTD has gone above and beyond to help LNHS rebuild,” Standke said. “They have provided advice based on current industry trends, financial support and equipment repair.”

That in turn is having a positive impact on students in the program.

“We’re trying to transform the traditional metals area into a manufacturing engineering technology center. My goal here as the new instructor is to revamp, revise and create pathways for as many students as I can,” said Kevin Baas, industrial technology teacher. “Our biggest challenge right now is to remodel this whole area, get this place up to speed where we want it.”

That takes money, time and partnership, Baas said, thanking BTD for the company’s investment of all three factors. The plasma cutter will enable students to design, cut and weld parts, and the tool was on Baas’ wish list.

“We’re trying to build a high school lab that represents the real world, so kids who can come into these programs understand what it’s like to work in these applications,” said Paul Gintner, president of BTD. “I think this is one step of that.”

Gintner said he hopes it’s the start of a partnership that eventually will offer students opportunities to learn in BTD’s plants.

“As an educational system, we have to pay attention to workforce trends,” Standke said.  “Industry is telling us there is a shortage of workers in the manufacturing/engineering field. There are jobs with competitive salaries out there. We hope to continue to redesign, rebuild and grow a state-of-the art program that prepares students for their future. Our partnership with BTD will ensure the curriculum and equipment aligns with industry standards. They have already gone above and beyond.”

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