What is service learning?

Service learning is an important part of technical education. It allows for real-world experience and helps to develop soft/employability skills. Service-learning is an educational approach that combines learning objectives with community service in order to provide a pragmatic, progressive learning experience while meeting societal needs.

Minnesota Program Examples

Local non-profit partnership

Minnesota State Community and Technical College

Automotive students at Minnesota State Community and Technical College spent a weekend fixing donated cars for those in need at Fix it Forward Ministry in Moorhead. This serves as an excellent example of students gaining practical, real-world experience while making a positive impact on their community.

man biking on path

Bike Path Construction

Central Lakes College

CLC’s Heavy Equipment Operations & Maintenance program created a 1-mile bike/walking path from the Staples airport to the Central Lakes College (CLC) Legacy Gardens north of town. The program worked with the city of Staples on the project. The city provided the aggregate and supplies for the project, while college, instructors, and students provided the personnel and equipment resources needed to finish the job. The project included challenges such as Gopher1 applications, surveying the ground, staking the land, calculating needed quantities of fill, dredging of a pond, and creating timelines which allowed students to problem-solve and use critical thinking skills to meet the challenge and finish the project. The path is a solid reminder of their collective effort.

1976 chevy laguna


Lake Superior College

Lake Superior’s Auto Body Technology Program reconditions a donated vintage car for auction to a charitable organization. This year they completely restored a 1976 Chevy Laguna S-3. Their efforts were instrumental in being able to raise $15,000 for the Military Order of the Purple Heart, Chapter 56. The chapter works with combat-wounded veterans in and around the Duluth area.

Students gathered around a car looking under the hood


Fairmont High School

For years, Robert Bonin has taken a couple of weekends out of his schedule, and with permission from his school, has opened up the school’s shop to teach girl scouts and boy scouts and help them earn badges for automotive and vehicle maintenance. He plans to incorporate students into his next event.

Alexandria technical and community college semi truck

Transporting goods for local organizations

Alexandria Technical and Community College

The Truck Driving program at Alexandria Technical and Community College has helped transport products for the area’s Outreach Food Shelf and Habitat for Humanity’s local thrift store, along with conducting free driver skills training for the city’s Fire Department, and other related activities.

auto body student working on a door


Ridgewater College

The Automotive Service Technology Program at Ridgewater College repairs donated cars to give them to single moms and others in need of transportation who had no other way of affording the purchase of a needed vehicle. The college has worked with the Heartland Advisory Council, along with area business. At least 29 vehicles have been part of the project.

Central Lakes College Entrance Exterior


Central Lakes College

Ray Johnson’s Automotive Technology program has had a long-standing relationship with the Wounded Warrior Project. Ray and his students provide low/no-cost maintenance and repair for veterans in the Brainerd Lakes area.

National Program Examples

Northeast Wisconsin Technical college building

Toyota Prius Repair Project

Northeast Wisconsin Technical College

State farm donated a totalled 2008 Toyota
Prius Hybrid Electric Vehicle to NWTC. Students repaired collision damage and the alternative fuel vehicle is now road legal, and is used by the college to promote its automotive and energy related programs.

People shaking hands in front of a red car

Car Refurbish

Northeast Wisconsin Technical College

Students refurbished a 2003 Dodge Neon for the Golden House. The donation of this car will enable the organization’s staff and volunteers to give rides to clients who do not have access to reliable transportation. Students conducted a complete safety inspection and repaired several systems.