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The MCTC News Blog

Graco Grant Provides MCTC with Scholarships, Equipment

Posted on: June 24th, 2014 by insidemctc No Comments

Graco and MCTC form industry partnerships.A generous donation from Graco, Inc. will provide Minneapolis Community and Technical College (MCTC) with three pieces of machining equipment as well as $10,000 in scholarship funds for first-generation college students.

Long-term industry partnerships with local businesses have been fostered by members of the MCTC faculty, and have enabled the College’s Machine Tool Technology program to maintain updated technology for its students. “Our connections with Graco have allowed MCTC’s program to stay relevant,” said Machine Tool Technology Instructor Kim Munson.

Funds from this grant will allow the program to acquire three pieces of equipment: the Mazak CNC machine and simulators will allow students to virtually design and test machining parts for functionality. “Students will have the opportunity to better their knowledge of machining with this equipment,” said Munson. “It’s where the industry is going.”

In addition to the equipment, Graco is providing scholarship funds for Power of YOU students enrolled at MCTC. The Power of YOU program covers the costs of tuition and fees for two years for students who have families with low incomes, are first-generation college students or identify as students of color. Read about recent scholarship winners here.

“Having access to state-of-the-art equipment will make a profound impact on Machine Tool Technology students’ abilities to enhance their education and better prepare them to join the workforce after graduation,” said Angie Wordell, operations director at Graco. Angie was responsible for establishing a summer internship program placing MCTC Machine Tool Technology students with Graco—a partnership which could lead to a path to employment for some hard-working students.
“Several of my students through the years have gone on to be hired at Graco,” said Munson. “This internship program creates a pathway that strengthens our students’ connection to industry jobs.”

Photo: Angie Wordell, Graco operations director; Kim Munson, MCTC Machine Tool Technology Instructor; Mike Christenson, MCTC associate vice president of Workforce Development.

Two MCTC Machine Tool Technology Students Receive $3,000 Scholarships

Posted on: June 11th, 2014 by insidemctc No Comments

Graco scholarship winnersMinnesota-based Graco, a leading provider of premium pumps and spray equipment for fluid handling in the construction, manufacturing, processing and maintenance industries, provided scholarships to two Power of YOU students in Minneapolis Community and Technical College’s (MCTC) Machine Tool Technology program. The goal of the scholarships is to set students on the path to productive careers in metal manufacturing and processing industries. Micheal Esposito and Sophia Kuusisto were chosen to receive grants in the amount of $3,000 each.

“Together, Graco and MCTC recognize manufacturing is critical to the U.S. economy, and people are needed at every level of an organization from running state-of-the-art machines to leading teams both locally and globally,” said Kim Munson, MCTC Machine Tool Technology faculty. “Entry-level machining positions can pay from $20–$25 per hour, with opportunities to exceed $30 per hour as an individual rises to the top of the pay scale over the course of six to seven years. This scholarship allows Micheal and Sophia to study for a career that has tremendous opportunity for growth.”

Micheal, Graco scholarship recipientMicheal Esposito – Following a Family Tradition

Micheal Esposito follows a long line of family members who worked with their hands. His great grandfather was a machinest and his grandfather a carpenter. When Micheal’s older brother started spending time in the machine shop at South High School, Micheal followed suit. Ultimately, Micheal spent three years working in the school’s shop as a student, classroom aid and mentor.

During his time at South, Micheal found another mentor, former MCTC Postsecondary Education Options student Philip Mestenhauser, who studied Machine Tool Technology at MCTC and now works on the West Coast in the industry. Philip encouraged Micheal’s interest in machine tool and introduced him to Kim Munson. Micheal’s educational career at MCTC took off from there and this fall he’ll begin his second year in the program, working toward his AAS degree.

“I’m committed to the industry and have found I’m gaining solid experience at MCTC for high-demand careers,” said Micheal who aspires to move out west by the fall of 2018 and work as a prototyper. “Prototyping fuels my interest in working on a diversity of projects, I’m thankful for the scholarship which helps make it all possible.”

Sophia, Graco scholarship recipientSophia Kuusisto – Forging a New Path

Sophia Kuusisto’s interest in Machine Tool Technology was sparked in a South High School shop class that promoted the benefits of entering the fields of metals manufacturing and processing. “I always knew the importance of earning a technical degree,” said Sophia who recalls family friends from Germany who shared that everyone in the country was encouraged to have a technical degree before pursuing other interests. “A degree in Machine Tool Technology gives me a solid foundation to pursue many careers including one of my areas of interest: engineering.”

“When I started in the Machine Tool Technology Program, I couldn’t name the average tools you’d find in a toolbox,” said Sophia who now has her own toolbox, courtesy of the Graco scholarship. “I now know the tools of the trade and I’m operating every machine in the shop. Long-term, I have an interest in working as a CNC programmer.”

Sophia strongly encourages women to pursue a degree in the field. “It can be challenging being one of the only women in the shop. However, I’ve had an extremely positive experience in the program,” said Sophia. “MCTC is a great place to study and the education is extremely affordable.”

Read this story and more in the spring 2014 edition of The Groove magazine!

MCTC Students Participate in SkillsUSA Minnesota Competition

Posted on: April 8th, 2014 by insidemctc No Comments

SkillsUSA 2014 ParticipantsEleven Minneapolis Community and Technical College (MCTC) students recently competed in the SkillsUSA Minnesota leadership and skills conference. Several students won awards for their hard work and creative projects in the fields of Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration (HVACR) and Electrical Construction. SkillsUSA is a national nonprofit organization serving teachers and high school and college students who are preparing for careers in trade, technical and skilled service occupations as well as health occupations.

“We’re fortunate our students were able to compete at actual industry sites this year,” said Greg Skudlarek, MCTC HVACR instructor. “Not only do they get real industry experience, it also makes the playing field more level for students coming from across the state.” The competition drew more than 800 career and technical education students who competed in more than 80 hands-on trade, technical and leadership contests. Students from 25 campuses of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system and 30 high schools from across Minnesota participated in the competition in Bloomington.

MCTC students have participated in the SkillsUSA competition for several years. In addition to students from the College’s HVACR and Electrical Construction programs, competing students in past years have represented the Machine Tool Technology and Welding and Metal Fabrication programs.

The 2014 national competition will take place this July in Kansas City.

Photo: MCTC students participated in the 2014 SkillsUSA state competition in Bloomington. From left to right: Stalin Ballesteros, Electrical Construction; Andrew Oliver, Electrical Construction; Dylan Mudgett, HVACR; Dave Archambault, HVACR; Alex MacDinald, HVACR.

MCTC Students Participate and Win in SkillsUSA Leadership and Skills Conference

Posted on: May 17th, 2013 by insidemctc No Comments
MCTC students and faculty.

From left to right: MCTC instructor Greg Skudlarek and students Reed Sweeney, Tom Pederson, Andy Gurskis and John Singel.

Minneapolis Community and Technical College students competed in the SkillsUSA Minnesota Leadership and Skills Conference last month, and several of them won awards for their hard work and creative projects. SkillsUSA is a national nonprofit organization serving teachers and high school and college students who are preparing for careers in trade, technical and skilled service occupations as well as health occupations. Top SkillsUSA state performers include the following MCTC students:

  • Andy Gurskis, 2nd place, HVACR
  • Reed Sweeney, 4th place and honorable mention, HVACR
  • Max Foutch, 3rd place, Industrial Motor Controls
  • Tom Hermes, 4th place and honorable mention, Industrial Motor Controls
MCTC students and faculty

From left to right: Tom Hiltner, Tom Hermans, Max Foutch, Mark Eckstein and Dean Weikle.

In July, 2012, MCTC HVACR student Chad Rubey placed fifth out of 28 college competitors in the national SkillUSA Championship. At the annual national-level SkillsUSA Championships, over 5,600 students compete in 94 occupational and leadership skill areas.

SkillsUSA programs include local, state and national competitions in which students demonstrate occupational and leadership skills.

PSEO Places Student on Path to Success

Posted on: February 27th, 2013 by insidemctc No Comments

Philip Mestenhauser used his PSEO experience at MCTC to jump start his careerBy all appearances, Philip Mestenhauser was your typical high school senior. The 17-year-old attended South High School in Minneapolis and enjoyed camping, canoeing and road biking in his spare time.

Mestenhauser, however, was no ordinary student. Since the start of his junior year, he had been enrolled in Post-Secondary Enrollment Options (PSEO), a program that allows high school students to take college courses and earn high school and college/university credits in the process. Mestenhauser split his days between South High and MCTC. When he graduated from South in the spring of 2012, not only did he have a high school diploma, he had 54 college credits, all earned for free.

Outside “the high school box”

Students must meet strict academic requirements and be mature enough to handle college coursework to participate in PSEO. That sums up Mestenhauser. Not long after starting at South, he realized high school didn’t suit him. “I never fit into the high school box,” he said. “PSEO seemed to work better for me, offering additional academic challenges to my coursework.”

PSEO allowed Mestenhauser to pursue his true passion. “I’ve always liked working with my hands and MCTC has many classes to enhance my skills and interests,” he said. “I love the sense of self-sufficiency and accomplishment you get from creating something.” That’s one reason MCTC appealed to him. He initially took welding courses, earning three certifications in the process. Afterwards, he moved into the college’s Machine Tool Technology program where students learn everything from computer-integrated machining, computer-aided design and manufacturing and programming to complex mathematical calculations and advanced measurement techniques.

As the U.S. manufacturing sector continues to expand, Mestenhauser’s technical skills will be in increased demand. Case in point: before graduating, Mestenhauser already had internship with a starting salary close to $20 per hour. Not bad wages for a 17-year-old.

Next steps

The internship was only the beginning. Last fall, Mestenhauser enrolled full-time at MCTC to finish his Manufacturing Technology and Welding diplomas. From here, he plans to work for a year and apply to the University of Minnesota’s Mechanical Engineering program. His longer-term aim is to work as an engineer with a team of machinists.

Thanks in part to MCTC, he’s closer to his goal than most people his age. “MCTC has been great for me,” he said. “The classes have been challenging, and I can look back and say I’ve learned a significant amount here. I’m really looking forward to starting up again after this summer and moving forward with my education.”