Ranken Technical College broke ground on a manufacturing incubator the school says will also provide training to its students that they can use in their careers.
The two-year college held a ceremonial groundbreaking Friday morning as part of a larger day devoted to promoting manufacturing.
The Department of Commerce awarded Ranken $2.35 million in August to pay for the building and initiative, which will be called Manufacturing Inc. It will be located on a vacant lot on the 4300 block of Finney Avenue, adjacent to the Ranken campus.
The construction marks an eastward expansion of the campus, which school leaders said they hope to continue.
Ranken’s incubator will house six manufacturing start-ups. Up to 100 students will work for the companies while also earning degrees from the school.
“The whole point being is that we’re going to use their product, their services, sort of a reverse apprenticeship that we bring in here,” said Ranken's President Stan Shoun.
Shoun said student workers will produce $4 million in products annually. The students will be paid for the labor, which will go toward paying tuition costs — which is about $14,200.
Ranken, a private, nonprofit institution, has been on the north side of St. Louis for more than a century. It educates just under 1,800 students. Graduates have an average of five job offers a year, according to Shoun.
“This is a bright spot, a real big bright spot for our city,” St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson said at the ceremony.
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