Many of us have heard the remarkable story about how an abandoned middle school in Colorado became one of the most elite career and technical education (CTE) facilities in the nation, Peyton Woods Manufacturing Program. Well, if you thought things couldn’t get any better for Peyton's CTE program, you surely haven’t met the program’s Director, Dean Mattson.
Dean Mattson has a knack for making things happen. He’s as tenacious as a dog on a bone when it comes to giving students the technical experience they need to survive in the real world. Dean Mattson began his vision nearly nine years ago, leaving his successful career in business to help students at North Salem High School in Salem, OR develop the skills to pursue futures in manufacturing. After all, the manufacturing sector has the biggest impact on the economy than any other sector. In 2015 Dean became the Director of the Woods Manufacturing Program at Peyton School District located in Peyton, Colorado.
Dean is famous for developing the “Mattson Model,” treating students in his wood shop classes like employees and giving them valuable interpersonal skills in addition to the technical woodworking skills needed to thrive in careers post-graduation. The Peyton Woods Program rigorously follows the “Mattson Model” in everything it does.
John Davis, Woodshop Volunteer at Peyton explains, “It is not the high school wood shop that your grandfather attended. This premier high school woods program is available for freshmen through seniors within an hour driving distance from the facility and is home to top of the line manufacturing equipment from 40 exclusive partners and supporters of the program."
The Peyton Woods Manufacturing & MILL Revolution
Dean, in conjunction with the Peyton and Widefield school districts, has partnered with the woodworking industry to create the first ever Manufacturing Industry Learning Lab or MILL, which is scheduled to open this coming August 2017 in a 46,000+ square foot building one mile southeast of the Colorado Springs airport.
Along with the graduates from the Peyton High School Program, students at the new MILL facility will include Yellow Ribbon and Wounded Warrior Veterans, woodworking manufacturing teachers from across the globe, and current woodworking employees sent to learn and fine tune their skills. A student can start with professional woods manufacturing classes as a high school freshman and complete up to four years of professional training. If high school students start the program as sophomores or juniors, they have the opportunity to finish the four year program at the MILL.
The Mattson Model in Action
The wood shop students at Peyton are currently completing their 4th semester projects using the Mattson Model. One lucky group has been "contracted" to design and build the reception desk for the brand new MILL facility. The reception desk plan requires dozens of exact tolerance parts cut down from 12 foot pieces of lumber. The parts must fit together perfectly, and the facility’s TigerStops ensure accuracy and repeatability at the press of a button. The reception’s desktop has 15 large piece of lumber herringboned together, 9 drawers, extensive cabinetry components, and various design features including the MILL logo. The students have also designed a mitered handicap access portion of the desk that will accommodate wheelchairs.
Students have met with the MILL’s interior architects to assure their client's (the MILL) needs will be met. Part of the simulation involves selecting company leaders and following strict deadlines to complete the reception desk. In this exercise, students learn far more than simply how to use manufacturing equipment to produce a product. They learn how to organize within their peers and colleagues, interact with clients, meet customer demands, follow timelines, and set goals. Integrity and work ethic are also high on the list of skills learned to complete the finished product.
Dean Mattson notes the value TigerStop has provided. “TigerStop length stop measuring systems are sexy and students are drawn to the program and to the woods industry because of them. The MILL will feature three TigerStops, two SawGears and several TigerStop TigerFences for table saws.”
One particularly skilled student, Austin Burke, explains why he enjoys using TigerStop equipment, “TigerStop has given me the ability to trust in my measurements and know that my cuts are accurate so I can keep my head clear and stay focused on the task at hand.” Austin recently won the 2017 Colorado State Championship for Cabinet Making in the SkillsUSA competition. He will now compete in the National Championships in Louisville, Kentucky this June 2017.
Another notable student out of the program, Christopher Harding, is now a core member of the instructor team in Colorado. He was featured on the front page of the Denver Post as one of the youngest woodworking educators in the country at age 19. Chris received Woodworking Network's 40 Under 40 Award in 2016 when he was just 20 years old.
Stay tuned for the grand opening of the Manufacturing Machinery Industry Lab this August 2017. To learn more about the tools used by students in the Peyton Woods Program and MILL, including TigerStop length stop measuring systems click the below button: