YME students take part in manufacturing tour

Jessica Stölen-Jacobson
Granite Falls Advocate Tribune
Yellow Medicine East Students toured Ice Castle's facilities in Montevideo Thursday morning, learning about how the employees spend their time at work, what the company does and more.

Last Thursday, students from area schools including Yellow Medicine East took part in a Tour of Manufacturing as a part of Minnesota Manufacturing week. This annual event was begun in 2019 but was unable to be held last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The tour was resurrected this year in coordination with the Minnesota River Valley Career and Technical Education Collaborative which works to bring CTE courses to students in Lakeview, MACCRAY, Montevideo, RCW, and YME. 

Kelly Rickert and Renae Jenniges of the Southwest Minnesota Private Industry Council along with Bruce Bergeson of the Minnesota River Valley Career and Technical Education Collaborative worked together to plan the event. Rickert and Jenniges were able to secure five area industries, while Bergeson worked with the school counselors to provide an opportunity for students interested in the program to sign up for the tours, as well as arranging transportation. Lunch was provided by Minnesota West Community and Technical College. 

“Our objective for doing the tour is to get students inside our manufacturing businesses so they see that they provide opportunities for jobs here in our rural communities,” says Bergeson. “In all cases, these local businesses reach around the country and the world to provide products that are important to the worldwide economy.”

Yellow Medicine East Students toured a number of facilities throughout Montevideo, Granite Falls and Cottonwood on Thursday, including Friendship Homes of Montevideo, to learn about the various industries that employ workers in the area. At Friendship Homes, the students left with some free stress-balls handed out at the end of their tour.

The students traveled between the businesses in shifts by school, visiting Chandler Industries, Friendship Homes, and Ice Castle in Montevideo, Extreme Panel in Cottonwood, and SpecSys in Granite Falls. At Friendship Homes, the students were able to view what happens in each section of the facility leading them through the process from a trailer the house is placed on for transportation to a fully completed home. Jamie Winter, of Friendship Homes, says, “It’s great to have the kids come out and learn about the places.”