NTC opens High Performance Center for manufacturing training

Northwest Technical College has launched a High Performance Center for delivering customized training programs in machine operator and computer numerical control mill operation and maintenance. The center, launched in partnership with the Minnesota Innovation Institute, is being funded by a $185,000 grant awarded to the Rural Minnesota Concentrated Employment Program (MnCEP) by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED).

Under the grant, MnCEP is contracting with the college to provide a training center for workers needed to fill high-demand manufacturing jobs in the region. The program also allows the college to provide short-term, employer-developed, entry-level training in some areas of computer numerical controlled machining, assembly and maintenance. The center also will include student assessment and placement components. DEED is providing recruitment, assessment and placement services in conjunction with the Minnesota Innovation Institute and its other partner organizations.

“The development of this multi-party partnership is just one step Northwest Technical College is taking to meet the need to provide technical education and skill-specific training for employers in our region,” said John Centko, NTC provost and vice president.

Maintenance for Operators
Research done by the Minnesota Department for Employment and Economic Development for the northern Minnesota region projects a need for nearly five dozen highly trained candidates for sawmill operations positions. These positions require use of sophisticated automation systems and an understanding of the tools and equipment used in production. NTC will train participants on the basics of machine operation, the proper application of hand tools and proper techniques for checking equipment with an emphasis on industrial safety. Maintenance for Operators will be an 80-hour course.

CNC Mill Operator
A 160-hour CNC mill operator course will prepare participants for certification from the National Institute of Metal Workers. Operators will learn how to communicate with maintenance, planning and supervisory personnel regarding issues or potential issues with installed machinery. They also will receive training on adjusting or correcting machinery as needed. Research projects a need for nearly 170 new CNC mill operators in the region.

As part of its efforts to train certified workers at the High Performance Center, the college also is partnering with Always There Staffing to provide job placement services to students who complete the program. Always There interviews prospective students and pairs them with employers; the employers will interview the potential employees and employment offers can be extended before training begins, on the condition that the student successfully completes the program.

The partnership is also engaging Greater Bemidji, Beltrami County Health and Human Services and the Department of Employment and Economic Development as part of this grant program.
• Greater Bemidji coordinates and oversees the Minnesota Innovation Institute, which includes business leaders from local manufacturers such as TEAM Industries, Potlach Corporation and LaValley Industries. Greater Bemidji would house the training center in a facility being established as a business services center for regional manufacturers;
• Beltrami County Health and Human Services will assist in the identification of potential candidates for the training program through its Beltrami Works program; and
• DEED Job Services staff will help provide recruitment, assessment, eligibility determination and case management services for students and potential students.

John Centko; provost, Northwest Technical College, (218) 333- 6613

Rural Minnesota Concentrated Employment Program
Greater Bemidji
Beltrami Works
• Occupation demand research

About Northwest Technical College
Northwest Technical College, located in northern Minnesota’s lake district, is an open, inviting technological learning organization. For more than 40 years, the college has valued life-long learning and the worth and dignity of all people. Its open-enrollment policy, affordable tuition and high-quality education have attracted a diverse group of learners; today, the College serves more than 1,200 learners. The college offers more than 40 degree programs in areas such as business, health, human and protective services and environmental and industrial technology career programs. Classes are offered on the Bemidji campus, online, or as a combination of both. NTC is a member of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system. For more, visit ntcmn.edu.