TXT2012: Bigger and Better Every Year

TXT2012 might be over, but the stories keep on coming

This year’s Teens eXperiencing Technical education week drew media attention that Dakota County Technical College hasn’t seen before, and for good reason. Girls in grades five through eight were doing things they’ve never done before: drive backhoes, install electrical outlets, perform diagnostic checks on cars, design concrete stepping stones, and extract DNA from strawberries.

On Aug. 12, the Pioneer Press released an article called Girls try out male-dominated careers: ‘I didn’t think I’d ever get to do that.’ Christopher Magan spent the day at DCTC to learn how TXT started and to see the value the program provides to middle-school girls. Read the full article:

Girls try out male-dominated careers: ‘I didn’t think I’d ever get to do that’

By Christopher Magan, Pioneer Press

Bethany Patterson never thought she’d be shooting baskets with a backhoe.

But that was just one of the unlikely things the Apple Valley middle-school student and 200 other girls got to try this month at Teens Experiencing Technical Education 2012 at Dakota County Technical College.

“It’s one of the best camps I’ve ever been to,” Patterson said during a short break at the weeklong camp. “I didn’t think I’d ever get to do that.”

But that — girls learning about typically male-dominated jobs — is the whole point. Over five days, girls from across the Twin Cities got to work as an auto mechanic, a cable installer, an electrician, and a host of other jobs — roughly 30 in all.

“We’re exposing them to careers they might not have known exist,” said Linda Foster, director of instruction technology at the college. “This opens up a lot of options for kids.”

And the camp has proved popular. Just a year ago, the event grew out of a partnership with Geed Squad’s summer academy.

Foster turned the two-day academy into a weeklong event by adding three days of courses from the technical school. “We went full force and filled the week with everything we could,” she said.

After last year, word of mouth was pretty much all it took to sign up 200 attendees. This year, Comcast and NBC Universal helped fund the camp.

Dakota Tech uses faculty members for most of the programming, and for a $40 fee the girls spend the week bouncing from job to job.

“They’re getting their hands dirty,” Foster said, explaining the camp’s appeal. “They’re not sitting in a seat listening to some lecture.”

The camp is open to sixth- through eighth- graders and is held at the end of July or early August. Information about next year’s camp can be found at blogs.dctc.edu/txt/.

Julie Gessinger of Shakopee signed up her 12-year-old daughter Emma, whom she home-schools, for a second year and also decided to volunteer this summer.

“She loved it,” Gessinger said. “Every day, she would come home and tell me about her new career. There is nothing we do that compares to this.”

More coverage…

When robots took over the college on the first day of TXT2012, WCCO’s Lauren Casey was here to report on the unique career opportunities that were introduced to the participants. Check out the full story and video:Job Fair Highlights ‘Mail-Oriented’ Career Fields For Girls.

M.A. Rosko from Fox 9 got in on the action, shooting four live segments in the wee hours of the morning on the second day. Girls showed her backhoe basketball, heavy duty truck maintenance, and how to buff and polish dull car hoods.

In the past weeks, TXT2012 also got attention from local journalists. Sun Thisweek highlighted TXT in an article called Sparking interest in technical education at DCTC  and the Northfield News focused on a group of girls from the Northfield Public Schools in Northfield TORCH students go for technical camp.

  • More is yet to come. Watch the broadcast on Kare 11: “What’s Cool in Our Schools” on Thursday, Sept. 27, at 6:15 a.m. and 4 p.m.
  • To see more photos, visit DCTC’s flickr site, set TXT2012: Teens eXperiencing Technical Education.
For more information about TXT2012: Teens eXperiencing Technical education at DCTC, contact: