MiLL training center starts new school year
August 17, 2018 | 12:09 pm CDT

COLORADO SPRINGS – The new school year will be filled with new opportunities for both the MiLL and its students.

The MiLL and its staff are motivated to start on this new school year. Many changes have happened over the summer, but the MiLL’s primary goal in providing the top woods manufacturing and construction education to its students has remained the same.

“This year we welcome lead teacher John Stearns to our team,” said Carolyn Stephen, communications writer for the MiLL. “Stearns comes to us from Amity, Oregon, with a background of 12 years of teaching woods manufacturing. Dean Mattson and Stearns have worked alongside each other back in Oregon to grow what the Woods Program and Curriculum at the MiLL is today.

“Stearns’ inspiration to come full-time to the MiLL is for a simple reason; it blew him away,” Stephen said. “From the building itself and to the machinery within, the MiLL changes how people view education. The vision for the MiLL is to offer young students the path to learn wood manufacturing and construction skills that could lead them to a career in life.

“Students have hands-on experience seen nowhere else in Colorado and are taught by hardworking teachers. The MiLL is where woods manufacturing is used as a vehicle in changing student’s lives.”

Dean Mattson created a strong foundation for the MiLL. Stearns’ hope for the future of the MiLL is that more locations will open all over the country, Stephen said. The MiLL stands out among other Career Technical Education programs as it shifts what education should be about. Education has long attempted to fit industry into its’ own model. What the MiLL succeeds in doing is shaping education into industry’s model. Students will enter the MiLL with fresh eyes and encouraged to learn then exit with the skills necessary for the workforce.

The new school year for the MiLL means another year of growth for the program.

“The MiLL National Training Center in Colorado Springs is just the start of Dean Mattson’s inspiring CTE public education program,” Stephen said. “Educational organizations should look to Mattson when wanting to create an effective CTE program for its students.

“Industry and corporations seeking to find already skilled workers for woods manufacturing and construction will find that and more at the MiLL. This school year will bring more partnerships and organizations wanting to make a change.”


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Karl Forth

Karl D. Forth is online editor for CCI Media. He also writes news and feature stories in FDMC Magazine, in addition to newsletters and custom publishing projects. He is also involved in event organization, and compiles the annual FDM 300 list of industry leaders. He can be reached at