LYFT History

    The idea of schools collaborating to deliver career and technical education (CTE) has been around for more than 50 years in the form of Vocational Centers. Minnesota was rich with rural centers and they delivered a valuable service to students and regional economies.  Unfortunately there is only one rural Center left in Minnesota, which has created a void.
    As CTE has declined over the past 20 years (combined declining school enrollment and teacher shortages), the need for partnerships to form to deliver CTE has been renewed. 
    • Site visits to tour other collaborative CTE programs
    • Community presentations in the service region about a new collaborative CTE model
    • Presentation at State Capitol about the importance building a new rural CTE delivery system
    • First attempt for CTE pilot project legislative funding
    • Presentation to Minnesota River Valley Education District (MRVD) Superintendents about cooperating to develop a CTE class that could be shared between the district.
    • Second attempt for CTE pilot project legislative funding
    • Development of first collaborative Introduction to Medical Careers course for 15 students with MRVED School (and other) Districts.

    • The Southwest Initiative Foundation, with its partners (Minnesota West, Worthington Schools, Windom School, and Jackson County Central Schools, SW PIC, and the SWWC) submitted and received a pathways grant application (titled Launch Your Future Today) to the Greater Twin Cities United Way.
    • The Introduction to Medical Careers course was replicated in other regions and expanded to other CTE discipline areas.
    • A $3 million Legislative grant was awarded to the SWWC and its partners to develop a rural CTE delivery system for high school students that involved multiple schools partnering with one another.
    • A Rural CTE Advisory Committee was formed with a broad group of partners in the 18 county service region.

    • A LYFT Application for Funds was developed and made available to school districts (and their partners) that are members of the SWWC, Minnesota West Carl Perkins Consortium, or the Mid-Minnesota Carl Perkins Consortium.

    • LYFT funded approximately 60 projects. Nearly 14,000 students in southwest and west central Minnesota were impacted by these projects, and 40 of the projects were new CTE courses. To review those projects, click here.

    • $3 million Rural Career and Technical Education (CTE) Consortium Grant, which was passed by the Minnesota Legislature. New LYFT Pathways Innovation Grant Application opens for SWWC member school districts.