Fairmont Area Schools is pleased to announce that CHS Inc. is donating $100,000 towards the implementation of a Construction Trades Academy at Fairmont High School, located in south central Minnesota.

“Fairmont Area Schools is greatly appreciative of the generous donation from CHS as we work toward our goal to construct an 80 x 100-foot building,” stated Joseph Brown, superintendent of schools.  “This building will be the core of our year-round Construction Trades Academy.  It will provide our students with the space they need to build homes for Habitat for Humanity and to construct agricultural buildings.”   Mr. Brown views  receipt of this large donation as a classic example of the private sector and the public sector working collaboratively together to build a better future for Minnesota.  “Students need a pathway for skilled jobs and the private sector needs skilled workers.  Together, this partnership will be a model for other high schools and businesses that are working together to provide greater opportunities for their schools and their community.”

Representatives of CHS toured the vocational wing of Fairmont High School on the first day of school, September 3, 2019 and were very impressed with the vision of Fairmont Area Schools in developing the Agriculture Academy, Welding Academy, Automotive Academy and the future Construction Trades Academy.

“The proposed Fairmont High School Building Trades Academy demonstrates an innovative, inclusive approach that will help students prepare for a variety of skilled trade positions,” says Tom Malecha, CHS senior vice president, Processing and Food Ingredients. “CHS proudly supports many rural youth educational and leadership programs, and the Fairmont High School projects aligns with our intention to work together for shared success and to strengthen our communities.”

Over the next 48 months, Minnesota needs to replace over 200,000 skilled workers due to baby boomers retiring from a wide range of vocations.  Multiple high schools in south central Minnesota have expanded their vocational programs,   including Fairmont, Kasson-Mantorville, Hutchinson, St. Peter, New Ulm and Redwood Valley.

Brandon Nordstrom, plant manager at the CHS Fairmont soybean processing plant, knows first-hand the importance of a skilled workforce. “CHS is excited to work with local educators and other companies to bring this important curriculum to our students,” says Nordstrom. “Growing, vibrant businesses depend on a steady source of qualified applicants that are fully prepared to get a good job in our community.”