TwispWorks and the Methow Valley School District (MVSD) have a long-standing partnership that ensures young people are prepared for career choices that meet their skills, abilities, and interests. The welding program is a current example of successful trade skill building offerings currently available to students.
In the spring of 2020, Methow Valley School District asked the community and its student population tocreate a vision for what expanded learning opportunities could look like. Based on Stanford’s d.school design thinking model, the school district heard from the community through interactive listening sessions and a comment period. One key area identified for growth was career and technical education. Students were especially interested in the field of automotive technology.
As a rapid response to this need, TwispWorks partnered with the school district and its Independent Learning Center, an innovative-choice high school based on the Big Picture Learning model, to upgrade an 800 square foot garage into a workspace for a pilot model of an automotive technology education program. The pilot has been successful in that the class has high enrollment and receives enthusiastic reviews from students, but the garage space is adequate only for proof of concept, allowing only a limited number of students to crowd around one car. The welding facility is also in need of significant upgrades.
TwispWorks is currently pursuing funding and project support to renovate and expand the welding shop to include a 2,000+ square-foot, two-bay automotive tech garage. The renovation will overhaul the classroom, restrooms, and HVAC system for the existing welding facility, and the result of these efforts will be a vocational tech education facility that is doubled in size, updated with safe ventilation, and modernized to teach welding skills as well as gas and electric mechanics.