360 Receives $2.55 Million Grant From National Science Foundation


360 Manufacturing Center of Excellence, led by Bemidji State University, has been awarded a National Science Foundation Advanced Technological Education (ATE) Regional Center award for $2.55 million. This grant will support efforts to increase graduates in advanced manufacturing programs at 360 partner colleges through 2019.

360 will work closely with college partners, industry stakeholders and high school educators to:

  • Offer the 360 eTECH online and hands-on education to high school students.
  • Use mediated telepresence technology to meet technician education needs.
  • Develop a competency-based education model to integrate with the 360 Seamless Career Pathway.
  • Recruit the future workforce through Dream It. Do It. Minnesota.
  • Increase the number of females gaining new and improved manufacturing skills.

“We are excited about this opportunity to continue to serve Minnesota and the broader regional manufacturing industry,” states Jeremy Leffelman, director of 360. “This grant helps 360 continue to build on its innovative programs and resources in order to address critical workforce needs and increase the quantity and quality of manufacturing technicians.”

In 2010, 360 received a National Science Foundation project grant to begin 360 eTECH. In 2012, 360 received their first National Science Foundation ATE grant. The newly awarded grant continues 360’s designation as an ATE Regional Center.

360 began in 2006 as an education and industry collaboration to recruit, educate and train workers for dynamic careers in manufacturing through the Minnesota State system.

About 360 Manufacturing Center of Excellence

360 Manufacturing Center of Excellence is a consortium of 15 institutions led by Bemidji State University and includes 14 technical and community colleges, including Northwest Technical College. 360 is designing a 21st century education system that prepares individuals to have rewarding careers in manufacturing and meets the dynamic, evolving needs of the region’s manufacturing employers through an enhanced pipeline, industry-driven curriculum and authentic assessment. 360 is a member of the Minnesota State colleges and universities system and received a National Science Foundation grant in 2012 to become an Advanced Technological Education Regional Center. To learn more, visit 360mn.org.