Pine Tech is part of coalition to use grant to train for skilled manufacture jobs

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has awarded Pine Technical College (PTC) and three institutional partners a $13.1 million grant to expand educational opportunity in advanced manufacturing.

The three-year grant award will enable PTC, Central Lakes College (CLC), St. Cloud Technical and Community College (SCTCC), and the 360 Center of Excellence at Bemidji State University to train workers for high-wage, high-skill jobs.

PTC President Robert Musgrove, Ph.D., said the grant is well-timed for the region.

“In East Central Minnesota, manufacturers in precision metals are rapidly adopting more and more automation into their processes, and the demand for trained technicians in this region is increasing exponentially,” Musgrove said.

“Meanwhile, the plastics industry in the area has been experiencing substantial growth, both in existing companies and in terms of new startups,” Musgrove added.

The DOL grant, totaling $13,100,920, will be divided among the consortium members to support more specific, campus-based individual programming:

· PTC: $3,209,312

· CLC: $3,748,561

· SCTCC: $3,953,961

· 360 Center of Excellence: $2,189,086

“The programs we plan to create with this grant funding will meet some critical workforce needs in these industries,” Musgrove said. “The Department of Labor funding comes at a critical juncture between industry demand, the need for job creation, and the yawning skills gap.”

At PTC, the grant will fund two new advanced manufacturing programs – an associate degree in plastics technology and another in automation technology. PTC administrators are writing and reviewing curriculum for the programs now, and hiring for faculty will begin as soon as Jan. 2013. Both programs will launch in Aug. 2013 for new students.

Pine Technical College was established in 1965. It is a member of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system, which is comprised of 31 state universities and community and technical colleges serving the higher education needs of Minnesota. PTC is accepting applications for new and returning students in all programs; courses will start Jan. 14, 2013.

For more information about the new grant and resulting programs, call 320-629-5114.

For more information about PTC overall, call 320-629-5100.

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