ROSEMOUNT, Minn. -- It's not everywhere a fifth-grader can pick up a power tool and start buffing out compound on a car's paint job, but at Dakota County Technical College, they can do that and more.
How about trying to dunk a baskeball with a backhoe?
"We were trying to get the ball into the bucket," explained 7th grader Lynea McCulloch.
It's all part of TXT 20112, a summer camp hosted by Dakota County Technical College. TXT stands for "teen experiencing technical education," and it's aimed at 5th through 8th grade girls.
"It stemmed from a desire to bring the Geek Squad here to do a summer camp," said Kelly Murtaugh, Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs.
That was just a two-day camp, so Dakota County Technical College decided to make it a week-long camp focusing on technology, science, design, business, and other areas of study offered at the college.
The focus is on middle school students, specifically girls, who might not otherwise consider careers that typically fall under the banner of "tech ed" on the high school and college level.
"These are specialized skills, and sometimes these are things that people don't think about," said Murtaugh. "Industry is willing to pay for that specialized talent, and that, of course, leads to a really good living," added Murtaugh.
Mark Hickman, an instructor with the General Motors Automotive Service Educational Program concurs. "Excellent job prospects," he said.
"Everybody thinks that they're going to send their kids to a four-year university to be a doctor or a lawyer, but we still have cars that are very sophisticated these days. Up to 50 onboard computers. Somebody has to be able to fix this stuff," said Hickman.
He's teaching the girls how to perform a basic maintenence check on a vehicle. Last year's students did so well, Hickman was forced to up his game this year.
"I kind of amped up the game a little bit -- put some prizes in there. It's cookies. Don't tell them!" Hickman joked.
This is the second year for the camp, which has filled each time its been offered.
The school plans to bring it back again next summer. For more information, visit Dakota County Technical College TXT 2012.
(Copyright 2012 by KARE. All rights reserved.)