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Minneapolis Community and Technical College–100 Years Strong in 2014

Minneapolis Community and Technical College (MCTC) was founded in 1914 as Girls’ Vocational High School (Vocational). It was begun as a progressive Minneapolis public high school, an alternative to the static educational methods of the early 20th century. The first day of school brought 80 – 90 students1 and a staff of eight teachers. Its goals were to serve girls who would not likely enter or finish high school, provide a trade education, and ultimately allow participants to earn a living wage upon successful completion of a chosen program. Immediately the school model proved successful; enrollment grew tenfold, courses multiplied, and male students were admitted in 1921. In 1935, Vocational added post-graduate classes to its offerings.

During the late 1950s and 1960s, Vocational was Minneapolis Public Schools’ largest single institution and was at the forefront of expansion for technical occupations. Trade preparation at Vocational enabled students to train for careers in numerous fields, and trade extension courses made it possible for persons in those fields to keep abreast of the latest advancements.

During the 1959-1960 school year it served 6,369 high school students, 473 post-high school students and 10,741 adult evening students, with a teaching staff of 205 for day and evening classes2.

During the 1960s and early 1970s, enrollment at Vocational among males, veterans and high school graduates rose dramatically. In response, the school began to change its emphasis from high school education to post-secondary. Also, many of the school’s programs evolved from traditional construction trades to computers and related technologies.

Concurrently, Metropolitan State Junior College, or Metro as it would later be known, opened in September 1965 as a two-year educational alternative to four-year universities. Metro, initially housed on the fourth floor of Minneapolis Central High School, began with a teaching staff of 19 and welcomed approximately 475 students its first month.

In 1973 it was announced that Vocational, as a full-day, stand-alone high school, would be phased out. During this period both Metro and Vocational served a broad, yet similar range of students, representing diverse ethnic, age and socio-economic groups within the city. The two schools realized that cooperation between themselves and building of their urban institutions permitted more effective use of facilities and financial resources.

August 1975 marked the first meeting of representatives of the Metro and Vocational regarding their new expansion plans. Over the next fifteen years the administrations created a master site plan, unified the facilities and combined many programs.

In 1991, the Minnesota Legislature passed a law creating the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) system, which went into effect July 1, 1995. The law merged the state’s community colleges, technical colleges and state universities into one system.

The evolution and blending of these institutions in 1996 created Minneapolis Community and Technical College (MCTC). The public two-year college located in downtown Minneapolis enrolls nearly 14,000 credit students annually. MCTC is an active partner in initiatives designed to strengthen the social, economic and cultural vitality of the Twin Cities metropolitan area.

1 Enrollment number varies by source. 2 Kleeman, Richard P. “State Technical Schools Profiled.” Minneapolis Tribune n.d.: 1+. Print.