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MCTC Part of Federal TAACCCT Grant Award

Posted on: October 2nd, 2014 by insidemctc No Comments

MCTC Machine Tool Technology studentMCTC and a dozen other institutions were awarded a $15 million grant from the Department of Labor’s Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) grant program. The grant was awarded to the Minnesota Advanced Manufacturing Partnership (MNAMP), a collection of Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) colleges.

Vice President Joe Biden recently announced $450 million in grants to colleges and universities around the country for the development and expansion of innovative training programs in partnership with local employers. The grants are part of a four-year, nearly $2 billion national initiative to expand targeted training programs for unemployed workers, especially those impacted by foreign trade.

“Minnesota’s greatest economic strength has always been our highly-skilled workforce,” said Governor Mark Dayton. “This initiative will help train hundreds of Minnesotans for good jobs in high-demand industries. It is the new initiative we need to build on the momentum of our state’s growing economy.”

MCTC will use its portion of the grant—totaling over $1 million—to:

  • Create seamless career pathways that offer industry-recognized credentials in advanced manufacturing
  • Create and update educational programs in advanced manufacturing to match employer needs and industry-recognized credentials
  • Develop long-term, collaborative partnerships with employers in advanced manufacturing
  • Improve enrollment, retention and completion within these programs and job placement of participants in advanced manufacturing programs, including participants from underrepresented groups

“This grant provides a strategic resource for MCTC to enhance and grow long-term, collaborative partnerships with employers in advanced manufacturing,” said Reede Webster, dean of External Relations and Workforce Development.

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.

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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.”

MCTC offers continuing education for manufacturing and construction professionals

Posted on: February 12th, 2013 by insidemctc No Comments

Xavier Escobedo, MCTC Manufacturing and Skilled Trades instructorXavier “X” Escobedo has worked in the manufacturing and construction industries as a manager, safety representative and instructor, and has been teaching OSHA Safety and Environmental classes at Minneapolis Community and Technical College for the last eight years. As a bilingual speaker, he also provides interpreting and training to non-English speaking individuals. “I see MCTC as a leader in providing customized training solutions to the manufacturing and construction industries to prepare them for the future,” says Xavier. “I enjoy teaching at MCTC because it provides me with state of the art facilities and provides our students with space to teach with lectures and to use hands-on and guided-practice learning techniques.”

Exploring MCTC’s welding and metal fabrication program with Todd Bridigum

Posted on: September 20th, 2012 by insidemctc No Comments
Todd Bridigum assists student Lizzy Hallas

Todd Bridigum assists student Lizzy Hallas

Talk to anyone in the welding field and they’ll inevitably tell you two things: first, the work itself is a unique mix of art and trade, and second, there are myriad job opportunities on the horizon.

MCTC Welding and Metal Fabrication Instructor Todd Bridigum won’t argue with either statement. After learning welding at Saint Paul College, Bridigum worked in the field for several years before joining MCTC in 2002. We asked him for his thoughts on MCTC’s program, career prospects for welders and how welding fits into the modern-day U.S. manufacturing resurgence.

How did you get into welding? 

I earned a bachelor’s degree in English from Hamline University. While studying, I fell in love with visual arts and wanted to further develop my skills. Going into welding was a natural choice. I earned a welding and metal fabrication diploma and worked for several Twin Cities-area companies, building everything from spiral staircases to hospital equipment to industrial ovens. I also have a studio space where I’m able to continue my studies in prints, drawings and metal sculpture.

What do you teach at MCTC?

I’m an instructor for all of the day courses within MCTC’s welding and metal fabrication program, along with welding courses within the machine tool technology and HVAC-R programs. I also enjoy team teaching a direct metals course in MCTC’s visual arts program.

Are you seeing an increased demand for welding?

Yes. We’re seeing a revival in the U.S. and manufacturing, and welding touches all areas of the manufacturing process. There’s a significant gap in the welding field because many of today’s welders are in their mid-50s and will be retiring soon. As a result, there will be more career opportunities in the years ahead.

Welders are also needed outside of the manufacturing sector. Consider Xcel Energy. It’s an energy company, but you could also consider it a welding company because it employs hundreds of welders around the country to maintain its plants.

How has MCTC responded to the demand for welders? 

We recently added an evening welding program and we’re looking at expanding the day program to keep up with demand. Welding training will continue to grow at MCTC.

Why is the program so popular? 

Students gain tangible skills with a short investment of time.The program provides a strong foundation so students can go directly into the field or continue their studies in an engineering program at a four-year university.

All of that aside, welding is challenging. You can compare welding to learning to play the piano because it takes lots of practice to do it well. Once you master welding, however, you’ll have a marketable skill and will have a strong career now and into the future.

MCTC Trains Skilled Workers

Posted on: October 26th, 2011 by insidemctc No Comments

While seven percent of Minnesotans are out of work, many Minnesota businesses are having a hard time finding qualified workers. On Tuesday, Oct. 25, Gov. Mark Dayton convened a day-long jobs summit to discuss this employment gap.

The Star Tribune covered the event in a front-page feature, “Closing skill gap key to solving job crisis.” Todd Mills, a machine tool technology student at Minneapolis Community and Technical College, is shown adjusting the settings of a metal lathe in the article. (Todd is featured again in “Advanced manufacturing: Help Wanted.”)

machine tool technology

Cecil Porter, machine tool technology student at MCTC

In a related opinion piece, “Got the people, but not the skills,” Cecil Porter, another machine tool technology student, is shown using a vertical mill machine to make a dovetail cut out of a piece of steel.

MCTC’s career and technical programs, including Machine Tool Technology and others, are helping to bridge the gap in the workforce by training future workers for jobs in manufacturing and construction.

Faculty in our HVAC, Welding and Metal Fabrication, Machine Tool Technology and Construction Electricity programs are providing technical knowledge and hands-on skills to students — critical for gaining employment with many companies, including manufacturers and production facilities throughout Minnesota. Kim Munson, MCTC’s machine tool technology instructor, boasts a 100% job placement rate of his students.

Find out more about our manufacturing and construction programs: