There will be a vocational open house from 5-7 p.m. Monday at Fairmont High School. It will provide the community with an opportunity to tour the new Martin County Automotive Academy. The school’s other vocational programs — an agriculture academy, welding academy, and family and consumer science program — also will be showcased.

The Martin County Automotive Academy will be held on Saturday mornings, beginning Jan. 4. The class is open to area students in grades 9-12 for free, as well as adults for a fee of $250. The class will be capped at 20 students, with first preference given to high school students, who will earn a credit.

The district has been trying to help tackle the skilled worker shortage that affects not only this region but the whole nation. Fairmont Area Schools was given a $50,000 matching grant from LYFT pathways to use toward the automotive academy. Several local businesses will work as mentors for students in the program.

Local businesses that will be in attendance include: Hawkins Chevrolet, Avery Weigh-Tronix, Zierke Built Manufacturing, Miller-Sellner, Kahler Automation and Kibble Equipment.

Colleges in attendance will include: MN West, with instructors specializing in welding and auto; South Central College, with instructors specializing in auto collision; Iowa Lakes Community College, with instructors specializing in carpentry and auto repair; Riverland Community College, with instructors in construction, automotive and agriculture; and Minnesota State-Mankato.

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