SAUK RAPIDS -- For Jake Masters the goal for his classroom is to provide his students with the best equipment possible.

Thanks to the help of the Central Minnesota Builders Association and local community, the industrial technology shop at Sauk Rapids-Rice high school has grown to just that.

"CMBA took the initiative to double any donation, and through that we were able to get a lot of these big ticket items. It didn't plan to be this big of a project, but the local community really stepped up."

With the donations, the shop has gone through some major equipment upgrades such as a jet planner, multiple table saws and a CNC machine. All things students would see in today's job world.

"Any industry partner has a CNC machine, quality table saws and more. If we can't provide students the opportunity to learn on this equipment, we're not providing them an opportunity to succeed in a career."

Masters says the upgrades have really spiked an interest in their program, which is great for a workforce struggling to find employees.

"We're trying to supply the industry with students. Without a spark of new life in the wood shop we can't get kids in the door and some programs have died because of it."

He says since the equipment arrived their numbers have risen for next year's classes. The school may even start looking into other class opportunities.

"We might offer a CNC class, or an advance construction class. Our goal in the future is to someday build a house."

Masters says he hopes their story can show other students across the St. Cloud metro area that a job in the construction industry can be a viable life.

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