This fall, through the collaboration of the school districts of South St. Paul, Inver Grove Heights, and West St. Paul – Mendota Heights – Eagan and a team of local business partners, two new courses will be offered in the fields of Healthcare and Transportation. These year-long courses are redefining the high school experience for the TriDistrict students that are a part of these unique and immersive learning experiences. Students in our Careers in Transportation Business and Technologies will be on-site daily at North American Trailer in Inver Grove Heights, while students enrolled in our Healthcare Careers and Medicine course will be learning on-site at Twin Cities Orthopedics new facility in Eagan. Each site will be hosting an open house for enrolled students and their families prior to the start of school. Students enrolled in these programs have been contacted with the specific details.
Although students have enrolled in a particular TriDistrict course, TriDistrict is not a high school, but a professional career exploration and skill development program. It is a program with an expressed mission of providing authentic profession-based educational opportunities. TriDistrict courses are different from high school courses, and thus impose unique demands on the student.
TriDistrict Course Structure
- 1st semester – a classroom experience located at the host business partner’s site.
- 2nd semester – an individual internship experience with a weekly “huddle” or meeting at the host partner’s site, typically on Wednesdays.
While we separate our courses into two separate academic terms, TriDistrict programming represents a seamless, year-long experience. The uniqueness of the courses rely upon three key characteristics:
One: Interdisciplinary and Immersive Learning
In this different and exciting approach to learning, students learn not just from their teachers, but also from our community and business partners, and each other. To accomplish this we ask students accepted into TriDistrict programs to demonstrate a desire to work in a project and problem-based authentic environment and be willing to follow host-site rules and policies. We value our TriDistrict partners, and need students’ help by being excellent representatives of their schools in particular, and of the TriDistrict in general. By admission into this exciting opportunity, students become members of a unique community of like-minded individuals with an expressed goal of preparing for post-secondary learning and/or a chosen profession. Successful TriDistrict students are self-motivated individuals who have an honest desire for learning and enjoy being actively involved and engaged in their education. In becoming TriDistrict program “associates,’ both students and the faculty of the TriDistrict bear mutual responsibility for the development, success, advancement, and expansion of TriDistrict programs
Another aspect of TriDistrict courses that is different is the location in which courses are delivered. In both fall and spring semesters, students attend class on-site, at business partner’s work sites. As such, there are additional accountabilities that host sites will have of students, depending upon their host site for the course portion in the fall, or the internship site in the spring. In both of these instances, the TriDistrict Program Coordinator and course instructors will work with host partners to ensure that these expectations for students are made clear early in the experience.
Two: TriDistrict Professional Skills Development
Professional skills provide guidelines for desired and acceptable behavior by organizations in both their strategy formulation and day-to-day operations. A professional approach is necessary both for TriDistrict program success and a positive program image. Business partners, parents, students and interested parties expect professional and responsible practices.
TriDistrict chooses to make a public commitment to authentic business engagement by expressing and requiring codes of conduct and guidelines that are consistent with current business practices. In doing so, we must ask that these guidelines translate into practice and habit by TriDistrict students, instructors, administration, and business partners. The guidelines enclosed in this document outline specific responsible and ethical behavior inclusive of, but not limited to the adherence to safety standards, attendance and timeliness, teamwork and communication, respectful relationships with mentors and guest speakers, proper use of technology and hardware, and respectful use of and confidentiality of physical and intellectual property. Demonstration of professional skills is a percentage of TriDistrict students’ grades, and a critical aspect of our relationships with our business partners.
Three: TriDistrict Internships
Beginning at the end of January, in an internship capacity, students put into further practice what they learned throughout the fall. Additionally, the intent of the TriDistrict Internship experience is to provide students with the opportunity to gain real-world, hands-on work experience in professional work environments that relate to their academic and career interests, and prepare them for high demand/high skill careers. The internship program is also designed to provide TriDistrict Business Partners an opportunity to guide and evaluate future talent.
NOTE: TriDistrict students will have the opportunity to apply and be selected for an internship. TriDistrict internships are NOT guaranteed; therefore, a student must be selected by the respective business partner. TriDistrict does not place students in internships. Rather, students apply and are accepted by our business partners, at each partner’s discretion. The internship experience is integral to TriDistrict courses for a number of reasons:
There are many benefits to working in an internship.
- Gain industry knowledge and explore career options in a field of interest.
- Strengthen knowledge of the job search process including developing a resume, cover letter, LinkedIN Profile, networking and interview skills.
- Enhance professional skills necessary for success in the workplace.
- Make valuable contacts and grow professional networks.
- Build pipeline of candidates, decreasing recruitment costs
- Act as advocates in recruiting other high school and college students
- Offer new perspectives and innovative ideas
- Assist employees with new technology
- Assimilate rapidly to part-time and full-time positions
- Provide leadership development opportunities for employees
If you or your student are interested learning more about either of these programs, please contact your home high school counselor, or Ben Kusch, Program Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org.