PCSH Design Ready Control group photo of students and staff

When it comes to finding your path in Osseo Area Schools, students have all kinds of opportunities. At Osseo Area Schools, career exploration is at the heart of the high school experience, and we have many partnerships with local businesses that help provide engaging opportunities for students to explore career options.

Take manufacturing, for example. Manufacturing companies around the country are facing workforce shortages with few qualified candidates available. Students may not know that there are exciting, viable positions in their community and many of those positions don’t require a four-year college degree. These positions can offer Osseo Area Schools graduates opportunities to gain higher education while earning a competitive wage working in a career-position.

Design Ready Controls, a Brooklyn Park-based manufacturing company that produces control panels and wiring harnesses, struggles to find qualified candidates who have the skills to become members of their team. One way the company is bridging this gap is by inviting high school students into its facility to tour and learn about the job opportunities. Site visits help students see themselves in an exciting career and connect students to viable job opportunities in their community.

This year Mitch DeJong, Ph.D., chief technology officer at Design Ready Controls, worked to inspire manufacturing companies around the Twin Cities to come together and sponsor five scholarships to Park Center Senior High students provided by the Sundance Family Foundation. These students earned fully paid internships and scholarships to Hennepin Technical College where they will study manufacturing and engineering technology.PCSH students gather around a table with engineering supplies around them

“It’s important for us to give graduates learning opportunities to help them succeed and work up the ladder at our company,” Mitch DeJong, Ph.D., said.

PCSH scholarship winners standing with a Hennepin Tech pennant “It’s exciting to be able to connect my students with local career paths that will provide them skills to propel forward,” said Tanya Drake, a Park Center Senior High teacher who formerly worked in engineering. Drake has been instrumental in creating opportunities for students at Park Center Senior High to explore local manufacturing careers. “For many of these students, a chance to enter into a training and internship program straight out of high school can alter their life trajectory and earning power,” said Drake.

Students at all high schools in the district have opportunities to earn college credit or industry certifications while still in high school. Local businesses are providing enriched learning opportunities by coordinating site visits, providing internship opportunities, mentoring student groups, and hosting guest speakers to meet with students in the classroom.

In addition to the district’s manufacturing career exploration and certificate programs, each high school offers pathways to explore business, marketing, information technology, engineering, automotive, automation, machining, construction technology, family and consumer science, food, natural resources and health sciences. Learn more about Career and Technical Education program offerings in Osseo Area Schools.

Photo captions:

Top left photo: A group of Park Center Senior High students and staff stand together after a site visit of Design, Ready, Controls on April 29. 

Bottom left photo: Five Park Center Senior High graduates received STEM scholarships, which included tuition for Hennepin Tech and internships. The student scholarship recipients were: Edward Mendez Sanchez, Christopher Lee, Andy Yang, Colleen Nguyen and Keith Nguyen (not pictured). 

Right photo: Students interact with manufacturing materials at Design, Ready, Controls on April 29.