Summit Academy


Through Summit Academy OIC, students gain access to high quality training in specialized areas of technology, construction and healthcare. By offering supportive services such as career counseling and planning along with “soft skills” training in the areas of job readiness and leadership development, SAOIC ensures students are well equipped with the technical and professional skills necessary to succeed in the workplace.




In 2008, a unique partnership formed between an arctic explorer and the leader of a North Minneapolis nonprofit that continues to build bridges for individuals from economically challenged neighborhoods.

Five years ago, Will Steger attended a meeting of H.I.R.E Minnesota – an organization newly founded at the time to ensure public investments in infrastructure and renewable energy lifted people out of poverty, reduced racial disparities and contributed to healthier communities. While at the meeting he met Louis King, president of Summit Academy OIC, who has spent decades in North Minneapolis helping individuals with troubled backgrounds become educated, employed, contributing members of society.

The two have stayed connected over the years as they’ve fought the uphill battle against Minnesota’s racial disparity in unemployment by holding organizations accountable for meeting minority hiring, training and contracting goals on “green” projects.

Soon their efforts will converge once more when students enrolled in Summit Academy’s construction training program will travel to Ely, Minnesota to build a cabin adjacent to the Will Steger Wilderness Center, a conference retreat facility.

Two groups of adult students along with an instructor from Summit Academy will spend a week this summer in Ely working on the project – a first for many who have never experienced a rustic wilderness setting. The first group of 9 will be in Ely June 16 – 20; the second group arriving in July. The customized training program was designed to provide students with unique, hands-on carpentry and construction experience while also providing them with the unique experience of building a cabin in the woods.

Learn more about the students, the project and Summit Academy OIC, which is a Mpls.-based nonprofit accredited educational institution that provides vocational training to individuals from economically depressed neighborhoods.

Program Directors:

Jim Jordan
Operations Supervisor
Carpentry

Beth Halverson
On-Site Instructor
Carpentry

For more information visit the Summit Academy OIC website

News & Updates

  • ccm-group-6637

    Youth Undergrowth

    Story by Scott Stowell Photos by John Ratzloff When the gales of this summer’s big storm blew beyond the Steger Wilderness Center, it seemed to [...]
  • Piecing Together Stone, Wisdom and Dreams

    Story by Scott Stowell. Photos by John Ratzloff Smoke billowed from old coffee cans, smudging the work site at the Steger Wilderness Center where [...]
  • Mike DeBoer

    Mike DeBoer lives in Stark, Minnesota, when his summer residency as a master carpenter at the Steger Wilderness Center is over. When in Stark, [...]
  • A Blue Fourth

    Independence Day at the Steger Wilderness Center Story and photos by Nick Sallen As the morning sun rose into the clear skies, my father, [...]
  • Mitchell Bentley

    Mitchell Bentley already has a memorable story to tell. One evening in Hobo Village, he watched as Jasper the retired sled dog was barking at a [...]
  • Michael Payne

    Michael Payne goes by the nickname “Milo.” He lives in Elk River where he likes to D.J., play music, run track, fish and draw. As an Apprentice [...]
  • Matt Wente

    For Matt Wente, this is the first time he’s been away from his home in Glencoe for this long. Although he misses his parents and his cats, he is [...]
  • Karl Beachem

    Karl Beachem takes a lot of pride in his work. Back home in Mora, he worked at Plastech in Rush City, and in his free time worked on cars and [...]