Education Briefs

CTE workshop is Feb. 20 in Balaton

Launch Your Future Today (LYFT), a rural career and technical education pathway initiative, launched in 2018 with a legislative grant of $3 million secured by the SWWC Service Cooperative. Since then, LYFT has supported CTE projects in nearly 40 high schools increasing the number of students enrolled in shared CTE courses from 15 to over 500. The response to the LYFT Pathways project has been incredible. Partnerships are coming together to offer CTE experiences to students in many creative ways.

A CTE workshop is Feb. 20 in Balaton. For more information and to register:

LYFT Pathways partners are excited that there are still opportunities for education and industry to collaborate and gain access to funds. To help, LYFT Pathways is hosting four workshops across the region. Communities are encouraged to bring a team of education and industry representatives to explore their opportunities to access up to $50,000 to advance CTE through collaboration.

Healthcare and manufacturing are key industry sectors in the region served by the SWWC Cooperative and are some of the industries that are seeing the benefit of collaboration. Twenty grants have been awarded to build CTE opportunities in a variety of career fields, several of which provide a unique opportunity for students to gain exposure to local/regional jobs.

Schools in the Minnesota River Valley Career and Technical Education Collaborative (MRV CTEC) are working with Fagen, Inc. to host an Industrial Construction Methods course within the Fagen, Inc. facility in Granite Falls. The course is being developed in partnership with Fagen, Inc., area MRV CTEC high schools, SW MN Private Industry Council, and Minnesota West Community and Technical College. “Fagen, Inc. is very excited to work with the MN River Valley CTE Collaborative and introduce the students to Industrial Construction,” said Evan Fagen. “With the current labor shortage the industry is facing we feel it’s important to educate the younger generations on the opportunities available in the construction arena. Through equipment and material donations, classroom instruction and a hands on approach we feel we can introduce new opportunities to kids from the southwestern Minnesota area.” At least three LYFT projects have been supported to expose student to careers and skills required for manufacturing.

Healthcare is reaping the benefits as well with six new collaborative CTE opportunities for students in 12 high schools. According to Tom Hoff, CTE project coordinator with SWWC, the courses developed thus far include hands-on experiences at local care facilities. “I am amazed what students have been able to experience in just one or two classes. Healthcare organizations have been enthusiastic partners and students have been able to explore all aspects of this exciting and growing field.”

Innovative collaborations have been supported to help students explore CTE opportunities in other areas such as culinary, pharmacy, aquaculture, drones, IT, entrepreneurship, and more. To learn more about LYFT, visit or contact Tom Hoff at