Building a stronger relationship between schools and businesses is a strategy for growing the regional talent pool. In Canton, that strategy is being implemented by a unique combination of dedicated teachers, proud community business partners, technology innovation and engaged students.
Russ Swanson teaches agricultural education at Canton High School, and through his inventive courses he’s also teaching professional driving, computerized 3D printing, engineering and life skills. Swanson and fellow teacher Jim Martinson are working together to see that Canton students acquire practical skills.
One of Martinson’s classrooms has simulators to prepare students for real-world flight training and this year, enough students were fascinated by flight that Canton is offering an Aviation II class. Swanson’s classroom boasts a big rig driving simulator and a remote controlled model 18-wheeler to get students ready to take their Commercial Drivers License exam. An accreditation agreement with Augustana University enables Canton students who take pre-engineering courses to graduate with up to 12 college credits.
Thanks to a partnership with Adams Thermal in Canton, students designed, 3D printed and passed along an industrial solution to a product design problem. Adams is also the sponsor of the summer engineering camp that gets local students eager to learn more.
Swanson and Martinson also provide skills in more conventional industrial arts courses, including wiring, automotive repair and maintenance, house framing and the kind of math that is used every day on job sites.
This year, Swanson added two gas forges to his metal fabrication class teaching past techniques—and his students are enjoying learning craftsmanship. The new class has created so much interest that Canton High School will be offering an Ag Metal Fabrication II class to teach more in-depth skills to further enhance the welding and fabrication department.
Our students are learning practical applications of educational principles,” Swanson said. “But most of all, they are having fun learning skills they can use in real life—and that makes it fun for us, too.”
There is better training for our workforce in Sioux Falls. A multitude of options are available to meet businesses' needs at the postsecondary level including city programs, state grants, technical training, and a new $50 million scholarship program for technical school students.Read More