History of Minnesota West Community & Technical College
Southwestern Technical College located in Canby, Granite Falls, Jackson, Pipestone and Worthington Community College located in Worthington, Minnesota merged on January 1, 1997 and became Minnesota West Community & Technical College.
Former names of the two institutions include Worthington Community College, Worthington State Junior College, Worthington Junior College, Southwestern Technical College, Southwestern Technical Institute, Southwestern Vocational Technical Institute, Canby Area Vocational Technical Institute, Canby Vocational Technical Institute, Canby Vocational School, Jackson Vocational Technical Institute, Jackson Vocational School, Granite Falls Area Vocational Technical Institute, Granite Falls Vocational Technical Institute, Granite Falls Vocational School, Pipestone Area Vocational Technical Institute, Pipestone Vocational Technical Institute, Pipestone Vocational School.
The four campuses that comprised Southwestern Technical College began as local area vocational schools. The individual campuses have a history dating back 30 years. The campuses were originally under the jurisdiction of local high school board of education and offered programs that served the local and regional economy. On July 1, 1985 the four area technical institutes at Canby, Granite Falls, Jackson, and Pipestone were officially merged to form Southwestern Technical Institute. The Minnesota State Legislature renamed all technical institutes, technical colleges on July 1, 1989. Southwestern Technical College was a member institution of the former Minnesota Technical College System and on July 1, 1995 became a member institution of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system.
The former Worthington Community College was established in 1936 as an institution of higher education by and under the jurisdiction of the local school district to meet the post secondary education needs of the community and surrounding area. The first campus was located in the Worthington High School and in 1966 the college moved to its current, 76 acre campus located to the north of Lake Okabena. In 1964, Worthington Junior College was transferred to the State Junior College Board and was named Worthington State Junior College. In 1973 the name was changed to Worthington Community College and the college was placed under the jurisdiction of the Minnesota Community College System. On July 1, 1995 Worthington Community College became a member institution of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system.
Centers in Fairmont (2006-2014), Luverne (2007), Marshall, and Redwood Falls (2009-2016) have been opened in recent years to serve the students of those areas. In 2013, the College purchased the former Worthington Fire Hall and created the The Center for Career Education offering technical classes.