In the fall of 2015, Peyton 23-JT Superintendent Tim Kistler hired Dean Mattson to teach state-of-the-art woodworking manufacturing classes. Mattson is a former professional cabinet maker who started a similar program at a high school in Oregon that was a huge success. The program became known as the Peyton Woods Manufacturing Program with a shop that includes more than $800,000 in loaned equipment from some of the industry’s biggest names.
Widefield School District Superintendent Scott Campbell was blown away by the potential of the program after attending an open house and jumped at the opportunity to get his students involved.
In the spring of 2016, Widefield sent 30 students to Peyton to be a part of the program. There are now 180 students from six school districts participating in our program daily.
The success of the program (in less than a year), prompted Mattson, Kistler and Campbell to create a partnership that will allow the program to expand in Southern Colorado.
The two school districts entered into a partnership through the Peyton/Widefield Vocational Education Campus, which houses a 46,000-square-foot building located south of the Colorado Springs Airport. Stiles Machinery, headquartered in Grand Rapids, Mich., has committed a significant amount of equipment for woodworking students to use.
The Wood Machinery Manufacturers of America and the Woodworking Machinery Industry Association recently donated $25,000 to the MILL. We also have over 40 exclusive partners and are excited to build more relationships with those interested in giving students a career pathway and strengthening Colorado’s workforce.
The Peyton Woods Manufacturing Program, which includes the Manufacturing Industry Learning Labs (the MiLL), had its origin in the classroom teaching experiences of its founder, Dean Mattson. In 2009, Mattson brought his years of woodworking and business expertise in Woods Manufacturing to North Salem High School in Salem, Oregon.
Five years later, his vision of a business-education partnership helped shape the Career Technical Education Center (CTEC) in the Salem/Keizer school district. Educational leaders throughout the nation asked Dean how they could teach his model in their schools.