One Big Idea: Bring Skilled Trades to Students

One Big Idea: Bring Skilled Trades to Students Main Photo

13 Dec 2021

News, Found Article

This article originally appeared on Rural Minnesota CEP and was written for Rural Minnesota CEP by Golden Shovel Agency.

As a Career Advisor and Youth Service Coordinator with CareerForce Moorhead, Deb Grant helps youth learn about job possibilities as they exit their high school years. One key to that process, Grant said, is exposing students to opportunities they never knew existed.

“We tell kids anything is possible, but one student had an excellent reflection for me,” said Grant. “She said, how can I know what I want to be if I do not know what is out there?”

With that in mind, Grant found the perfect opportunity for her students with Big Ideas, a non-profit organization from New Ulm that provides opportunities to discover, explore and learn real-world trade skills. The organization offers in-person classes, but also has a “Roadshow,” which involves bringing their instruction to clients. The Mobile Learning Lab is a semi-trailer filled with three classrooms of immersive virtual reality systems that simulate welding, industrial painting, CAT excavation and an Oculus based career exploration program for over 20 trades simulations.

“Educators know that not every child has the same exposure to the same experiences, so we typically say we have to meet the kids where they are,” said Grant. “That's what we were literally able to do with Big Ideas, because the opportunity drove up on wheels!”

Big Ideas

Big Ideas initiated in 2017 as a creation of two parents who saw a need for a greater emphasis on skilled trade careers for high school students. Today, it is a nonprofit organization and collaboration between professional tradespeople who share their knowledge with students to introduce them to the skilled trade options. It hosts classes at its New Ulm location where instructors lead introductory courses in a range of trades for students to practice the technical skills required while imparting the soft skills needed for success. The leading edge augmented and virtual reality technology gives curious learners the hands-on experience that can create a memorable connection to in-demand jobs.

Read the full article here...

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