Last week I ran into Joe Mulford at the Minnesota legislature. Joe is an Enterprise Minnesota board member, the president of Pine Technical and Community College, and a great friend of manufacturing.
He mentioned that he loved the cover story of the latest issue of our magazine–a Q&A with the leaders of Hennepin Technical College, which, like Pine Technical, is one of 26 colleges in the Minnesota State system. He also asked–with a twinkle in his eye–what he has to do to get on the cover of Enterprise Minnesota® magazine.
Kidding aside, Joe and his colleagues throughout Minnesota State are among the region’s strongest and most effective advocates for manufacturing. Their educational programs have always played a critical part in shaping the future manufacturing workforce. In today’s persistently low unemployment climate, their role is more important than ever, and they are tireless and innovative in their approach to educating the next generation manufacturing workforce.
I’m always amazed by the ability of Minnesota State institutions to leverage their relationships with manufacturers and other stakeholders to maximize the instruction they provide. Pine Tech, for example, has worked with DAKA Corporation in Pine City to create automation simulations in their training labs. The simulations line up with process improvements DAKA developed with help from Enterprise Minnesota.
Donated equipment and guidance from local manufacturers is a hallmark of the cooperation between industry and Minnesota State schools, but those arrangements only scratch the surface of the relationship between companies and the colleges.
The colleges across the system regularly participate in, and often host, Enterprise Minnesota manufacturing workshops and other events, giving them specific and timely insight into the challenges facing the companies that hire their students and graduates. At the same time, manufacturers look to the colleges in the system for future employees and to address skills development and other long-term solutions to developing talent. This year, the legislature is considering additional funding for workforce scholarships and high-tech labs that are needed to develop the next generation of manufacturing workers. The dynamic nature of the manufacturing sector means skill development programs need constant updating to remain relevant. Strong ties between the colleges and manufacturers mean the training provided is robust and current, reflecting the very latest needs of industry.
The connection between Enterprise Minnesota and Minnesota State has never been stronger. Our working relationship helps Minnesota State develop the workforce of the future, which leads to growth for our manufacturers and communities across the state. It’s a win-win-win. I’m honored to speak on behalf of Enterprise Minnesota in support of Minnesota State’s funding request when I testify before the Senate Higher Ed Finance Committee this Thursday afternoon March 16th.
See upcoming workshops and events.
Eden Prairie-based ION Corp. will launch manufacturing facility in North Minneapolis
March 11, Eden Prairie Local News
Toro Company sees quarterly profits rise more than 50%
March 9, Star Tribune
Another year of record exports for Minnesota manufacturers
March 8, KROC News
Recycling company Myplas to open $24 million plant in Rogers
March 7, Twin Cities Business Journal