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When is the next MiLL Academy Training?

Our next MiLL Academy event is February 7 & 8, 2022.

Tentative Schedule:

February 7, 2022 – 8am - 7pm

February 8, 2022 – 8am - 5pm

Most of the time, I walk out of Professional Development feeling like I just wasted my time.  Maybe you have felt that way too.  There is very little relevant training for you as a Woods or Metals Manufacturing instructor in P.D. that fit what you do and your classroom.  We can glean good things from everything if we look and as great teachers- we should.  The majority of the time though, is wasted.  Time we could be in our classrooms/labs getting ready for students and making our programs better.

This professional development opportunity is not like all those others.

The MiLL (Manufacturers Industry Learning Lab) in Colorado Springs is a 3 day intensive curriculum training that takes place at the facility.  The MiLL is a partnership between Peyton School District and Widefield School District and is run by Dean Mattson, WMIA Educator of the Year in 2016.  It is a 44,000 square foot facility with the coolest equipment and latest technology in Woods Manufacturing.  During the training- you will learn how they did it, and how you have the opportunity to do it as well.
The curriculum is brand new, the first major curriculum written in Woods Manufacturing since 1973- and it is good.  Really good.

I just got back from the first training last week and I can say, I left inspired.  Inspired.  Have you ever left a Curriculum training inspired?

I would encourage you all, if you are looking for something fresh- something that meets national standards and three days outside your classroom that will actually mean something to check this out.

In the training, you will see the Peyton School District CTE Center. Peyton is a district of 600 students total. You will be astounded at the CTE center in this district. I would say it rivals or beats every Classroom in the Northwest.  You will also get a tour of The MiLL and get hands on with students and the equipment they have at The MiLL. 

The best value I found in the training however, was “Working with Volunteers” and Industry Education Partnerships.  How does The MiLL have millions of dollars in equipment at little or no cost to the district? How can you do that same thing in your classroom?  You will find out at the training.

The training is in Colorado Springs. Southwest airlines gets you into Denver non stop from Portland and Seattle. Alaska gets you there non stop from Seattle. If you hit it at the right time, you can get tickets for $98 each way. The Springs is about an hour drive from Denver.

Check your Union benefits for deals on Rental Cars. I got a 2017 Camry rented for 5 days (Flew down Tuesday, flew home Saturday morning) - I paid $127 total unlimited milage with Advantage.  (I wouldn’t recommend flying into Colorado Springs Airport.  It is about double the cost and you have to layover in Denver anyway.  It is just easier to fly into Denver and drive down.)  Tim Kistler, superintendent of Peyton Schools, helps run The MiLL- he can get you a good deal on a hotel room.  This is worth it for you and your district.

If your Principal, CTE Director, or your Superintendent would like to talk to me about my experience- I would be more than happy to talk to  them.  503-835-2181, ext. 542.

Call The MiLL.  Talk to Dean Mattson or Tim Kistler.  You can call me too.  You should go to this training.  It will change the way you teach.

John Stearns

Former MiLL Instructor and Career Technical Education Director at Amity School District, OR

How is the Academy Designed?


  • Creating a Career-Focused Learning Environment
  • Changing the Conversation: Student/Teacher Interactions
  • Implementing CAB 1 and 2 Curriculum
  • Recruiting and Supporting Classroom Volunteers


  • Building Strong Public-Private Partnerships
  • Gaining and Maintaining Board and Community Support
  • Designing Professional Development for Industry-based Educators
  • Creating Career Pathways to Manufacturing

What I received from The MiLL Academy is just what I have been looking for.

Your curriculum and lesson plans will help new and experienced teachers get the success that we are looking for.

I would recommend the MiLL Academy to other teachers in our field and already have. Please keep us informed when the next training will take place.

Jeff Hawkins

CTE II/Trades teacher - Albany, OR

We are helping our students build their future.

Who Should Attend?

High school CTE teachers who want to:

  • Build industry support for their Industrial Arts programs
  • Increase student interest in woodworking as a career or as a lifelong hobby
  • Transform student-teacher interactions in the classroom
  • Create Career Pathways to manufacturing jobs

High school administrators who want to:

  • Establish or grow public-private partnerships with local industry
  • Gain and maintain school board and community support for CTE programs
  • Design professional development for industry-based educators
  • Engage industry equipment representatives in supplying CTE program equipment

I’ve never seen such a well-planned, student engaging classroom in my life. 

The life lessons, personal expectations, and career readiness the students receive will help all students succeed in both their careers and their personal lives.

Jim Baumann

Woods Manufacturing Teacher, Falcon, Colorado

What You’ll Receive at the Training

Leading Edge Cabinet Manufacturing Curriculum

You will receive the complete curriculum for Cabinet Manufacturing 1 and 2, including all activities, lesson plans, and assessments.

Our Teacher’s Manual

You will receive our teacher’s manual that provides supplemental materials and program design information.

In-Person Training

You will receive hands-on training with industry experts and our team will be on site with you to answer any questions you may have. You’ll be able to network and connect with others from around the country who are transforming their CTE programs as well!

Partnership Opportunities

You will get connected with the industry’s top manufacturers and reps. You’ll be able to learn the ins and outs and be exposed to great opportunities.
Our students are trained to have a strong work ethic and a deep understanding of lean manufacturing.
The MiLL Academy
Woods Manufacturing Curriculum FAQ’s
How is this curriculum different from other high school CTE woodshop or woods manufacturing courses?
The Woods Manufacturing curriculum provides an opportunity for CTE educators across the country to transform their classrooms and serve their students and industry partners in a new way. This approach, called the Mattson Way, permeates every aspect of how students learn, from the way academic skills are integrated into CTE content to the use of volunteers and industry representatives in daily classroom activities.

The program offers a career training path that enables graduates to be nationally certified in the use of woodworking machines, manufacturing equipment, software, and production skills. Students work toward earning a Woodwork Career Alliance (WCA) Certification Passport, which equates to a national certification credential. This means students can operate woodworking machinery and apply lean manufacturing principles in any kind of secondary wood or other manufacturing setting.

Program founder Dean Mattson describes it this way: “We are producing high school students who are taught the necessary principles of life. They are placed in real-life manufacturing scenarios where they are forced to think critically. And we try to model for them how to be gracious human beings. They are ready for the job market or the university.”

What are the core teaching principles of the "Mattson Way"?
When Dean Mattson created his Woods Manufacturing program, he based it on four elements that together create a safe zone for students in the classroom. He believes that students are more likely to be successful when they feel safe and welcome. When the learning is meaningful to them; when they recognize and are rewarded for progress; and when they see the connections between their current classroom behaviors and the expectations of a future employer.

The four elements are:

  • Professionalism – Students learn to function in a workplace environment
  • Achievement – Students are challenged and see their learning progress
  • Relevance – Students recognize how the classroom activities are relevant to their present learning and their future careers
  • Connection – Students feel respected by one another and by the teaching staff
How many courses are there and what is the sequence?
The Woods Manufacturing courses are each one term or semester in length (approximately 53-63 instructional hours).

The introductory course, entitled Cabinet Manufacturing I (CAB 1) is generally offered to start at the freshman level, with the capstone courses (CAB 7 and 8) culminating in senior year.

Currently, curriculum is only available for Cabinetmaking 1 and 2 - additional coursework will be available in the next year. Each course is focused around a Mattson-designed project such as a cabinet or table.

As students gain skills and knowledge they may take on class projects building a commercial cabinet piece for local customers; for example, in CAB 4 Peyton students build a receptionist desk for the new MiLL National Training Center.

How does the curriculum use a project-centered strategy to teach CTE skills?
While a project-centered approach is not unique to the Woods Manufacturing program, it nevertheless represents a shift in CTE teaching models. Many high school woodshop courses begin with a set of skills to be taught (e.g., add and subtract measurements, identify types of clamps, explain how to use a jig) and create small projects through which students can learn and develop those skills (e.g., birdhouse, toolbox, sign). Mattson turns that model on its head by building the entire course around the creation of a complex piece of furniture or cabinetry. All the skills and equipment uses are designed around how they are used in the construction of that workpiece.

While there are foundational skills modules in the lower-level courses like Safety, Measurement, and Drawing Basics, the rest of the modules are either focused on steps towards building the workpiece (e.g., Manufacturing the Legs, Parts Layout, Assembling the Drawer) or becoming certified on a piece of woodworking equipment. The advanced-level courses (CAB 5-8) continue to build job-based skills while teaching students how to work as a production team. Starting in CAB 4, students fill the roles that are present in a modern-day cabinet manufacturing company.

What is included in the CAB curriculum package?
Each course curriculum is divided into three types of modules: Instructor, Building, and Equipment. Typical files contained in each type of module include:

Instructor Module

  • Table of Contents
  • Week by Week Guide
  • Outcomes and Assessment Summary
  • Glossary

Building Modules

  • 7 to 12 modules built around a step or concept in the building process
  • Examples: Plywood Basics, Assembly and Sanding, Manufacturing the Door
  • Each module includes comprehensive Lesson Plan with Day-by-Day activities

Equipment Modules

  • 6-9 modules, each focused on a specific piece of woodworking equipment
  • Examples: Table Saw, Drill Press, Multi-Router, Sanders
  • Each module includes comprehensive Lesson Plan with Day-by- Day activities
  • Skills quiz and Competency Checklist are provided for certification process
How detailed are the Module Lesson Plans?
Each module is laid out in the same way, regardless of whether it is focused on Building or Equipment Certification activities. Components include:

Day by Day breakout

  • Each module is divided into one-hour “classes.” This helps an instructor gauge approximately how many class periods are needed to devote to mastery of the objectives.


  • Outcomes being targeted in the daily activities.

WCA Standards

  • Woodwork Career Alliance standards are identified as benchmarks, most often in the Equipment modules.


  • Each module has a general description of the purpose and a focus for each day.

Instructor Resources

  • Provides relevant content for the lesson.

Equipment Needed

  • Lists the major equipment needed for activities.

Materials Needed

  • Lists the supplies and handouts needed for activities.


  • A step-by- step description of each activity, including some suggested teaching strategies and discussion questions.


  • Some students struggle to take notes in a journal. Organizers provide a structured way to capture information.

General Handouts

  • These are for both student and instructor reference.

Answer Keys

  • All Organizers and quizzes include Answer Keys.

Are you ready to register for The MiLL Academy?

Just fill out the form below and we’ll be in touch! If you have any questions, feel free to fill out our contact form or call 719-391-3595.

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