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Preparing Students for Manufacturing Work with Tailored Training

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07 October 2023

In collaboration with Goodwill Easter Seals (Goodwill), Ramsey County Workforce Solutions, and the Minnesota Precision Manufacturing Association (MPMA), Saint Paul College has established a Manufacturing Training Program to help youth transition into high-paying manufacturing careers. Eleven students are enrolled in this initial cohort with training in job skills like advanced manufacturing, manual milling, Computer Controlled Machining (CNC), and quality control for positions as entry-level machine operators.

Saint Paul College Workforce Training developed this customized program in partnership with other organizations. The course was designed after numerous discussions with critical partners and hosting six groups of interested participants over the summer while conducting Machine Shop tours. The result was creating an incredibly comprehensive program with 400+ hours of training on campus and 400+ hours of on-the-job training with employee partners.

Ramsey County funds this program to help youth overcome challenges impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Interested students were introduced to manufacturing careers and then enrolled in formal CNC training, which includes classes three days a week from 2pm - 6pm. These highly enthusiastic students hone in on essential shop skills, learn to operate machining equipment, and procure off-site job training with employers. Students get free advanced manufacturing career training, learn on-the-job skills with local manufacturing employers, and earn stipends for learning in this program.

With a focus on "Together, we prepare people for work," Goodwill actively recruits students, provides long-term service planning, and connects students to resources related to transportation, technology, and learning strategies. Goodwill works closely with MPMA to connect students with manufacturing industry leaders who offer strong mentoring and teach invaluable skills. Cassandra Avery, Senior Workforce Development Manager for Goodwill, shares:

“We are so excited to see students successfully start their careers. It is great to see their enthusiasm and to know that they have tremendous opportunities for meaningful, high-paying careers in the manufacturing profession”, said Cassandra Avery, Goodwill Easter Seals MN.

With an anticipated 10,000 high-demand machine operator openings in the marketplace, all project collaborators hope to secure funding for a 2nd cohort starting in the summer of 2024.

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