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North High School to open Career and Technical Education Center

In addition to a new CTE center, North High will also receive a major remodel.

MINNEAPOLIS — Construction officially began Friday on a new Career and Technical Education Center at Minneapolis North High School, with a ceremonial groundbreaking attended by Mayor Jacob Frey and other city and school leaders.

The new CTE center, along with a major remodeling of the existing North High building, will take about a year to build. It is expected to open for the 2023-24 school year and will serve all of the Minneapolis Public Schools.

“We’re betting on the fact that their futures are going to be bright and extraordinary,” Mayor Frey said.

The CTE center will train students in the fields of engineering, robotics, drones, computer science and media arts, giving kids real-world skills and expanding their career horizons. Mohammed Lawal, the principal architect on the project for LSE Architects, said the vision reflects the “needs, desires and outcomes for the community and students.”

“It is truly going to become a hub, connecting the CTE program to the media center, to the food, to performance, and to education,” Lawal said. “It means a lot to the community. North High has been, and will continue to be, a source of pride for north Minneapolis.”

CTE programs have grown in popularity statewide, not only in large districts like the Minneapolis Public Schools, but also in smaller, rural districts. Houston Public Schools in southeastern Minnesota, for example, serves students statewide through a virtual academy that includes career pathway programs.

“We have spent decades now, really driving home the point that college is the way to get into higher paid jobs and meaningful careers and, frankly, I think that’s just wrong,” said Deb Broberg, the executive director of RealTime Talent in Minnesota. “There’s more than one way to get there. Career and Technical Education programs really give students a chance to see themselves in the world of work. It gives them the why behind what they’re learning and how it really matters in life.”

Broberg said she’s thrilled by the new CTE center at North High School, calling it a “critically important” step toward training the next generation.

“Career and Technical Education is a true business imperative,” Broberg said, “and it’s an imperative for all of our folks that live in Minnesota.”

Rochelle Cox, the interim superintendent of the Minneapolis Public Schools, said she’s been looking forward to this groundbreaking for months. In addition to the CTE center, the remodeling of North High will give students a grand main entrance, updated commons and dining space, better ventilation systems and new equipment for the district radio station KBEM.

“This has been something we’ve been dreaming about for a while,” Cox said. “We’re going to have a year of construction and then we’re looking forward to welcoming our students and community in August.”

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