A recent move by the Minnesota Department of Transportation has given valuable real-life skill training to some high school students.  The agency needed parts to fabricate snowplows for their fleet; the shop class at St. Francis High School came to the rescue.

Eighteen students in Eric Trost's class operate a business called Saints Manufacturing.  The business was awarded the bid to provide bolts, pins, poles, and pulleys to MNDOT's Central Shop - working one hour a day, five days a week.

The St. Francis-Saints Manufacturing shop features the same pieces of equipment normally found in a modern manufacturing shop.  When they learned that MNDOT's previous vendor was closing, the instructor reached out to see if they could take on the work.  The relationship has evolved so well that MNDOT now shares it's CAD drawings with the class so  that they can order the parts and quote prices - a system that MNDOT usually employs with it's other vendors.

There are also plans for the future.  The school intends to double the space of the shop area this summer, so that the class - and the business - can chase bigger contracts with MNDOT.


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