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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.

MCTC Grad Wins Green Line Poster Contest

Posted on: June 18th, 2014 by insidemctc No Comments

Genesia Williams, MCTC alumWhen Genesia Williams heard about the METRO Green Line Opening Day Poster Contest, she knew immediately that she had to enter. A graduate of the Minneapolis Community & Technical College’s graphic design and print program, Williams wanted to gauge how others responded to her work, and saw the contest as an ideal opportunity.

“It was an easy and efficient way to test my skill set, to make sure I could tackle something of this size,” said Williams, who lives in Minneapolis and is a frequent transit user. “I just thought, ‘Why not give it a go? Why not try it?’”

Turns out people responded quite favorably.

On Thursday, Williams’ design – a vibrant green featuring an abstract collage of light-rail vehicles – was revealed as the contest’s winning entry. The contest drew 47 entries that were narrowed down to five finalists by a group of community members from neighborhoods along the Green Line and then put up for a public, online vote in May.

To recognize her efforts, Metro Transit General Manager Brian Lamb presented Williams, 27, with a $500 check and a Go-To Card good for a year’s worth of bus and train rides outside the Green Line’s Operations and Maintenance Facility in Lowertown St. Paul. She will also receive a framed copy of the poster.

More importantly to Williams, her work will be seen by tens of thousands of people who attend the Green Line’s grand opening. Postcard-sized copies of the poster will be distributed at stations and a limited number of larger copies will be available on Metro Transit’s store beginning Saturday.

Surrounded by her family, Williams said she was elated to have a part in the history-making opening and that the poster “resonated with the people that the work was there to serve.”

“I’m so excited I can’t even contain it,” she said.

(Republished from the Metro Transit blog.)

Dr. Avelino Mills-Novoa Named Interim President of MCTC

Posted on: June 18th, 2014 by insidemctc No Comments

Dr. Avelino Mills-NovoaThe Board of Trustees of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) named Avelino Mills-Novoa to serve as the interim president for Minneapolis Community and Technical College (MCTC).

“Dr. Mills-Novoa understands the challenges and opportunities that MCTC faces and I deeply appreciate his willingness to serve as interim president,” said Chancellor Steven Rosenstone. “He will work collaboratively with students, faculty, staff, and community leaders to address the college’s challenges and position MCTC in the search for its next president.”

Mills-Novoa is vice president of Student Affairs at MCTC and professor emeritus of Community Psychology at St. Cloud State University. He served as assistant dean and director of student services for the General College, as interim Dean of Undergraduate Studies, and as interim associate vice president in multicultural and academic affairs at the University of Minnesota. He has devoted his career in higher education to working toward educational equity and social justice for multicultural populations, including access and opportunity for persons who are socially and economically underrepresented in higher education; gender equity; gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender (GLBT) rights and opportunity; and access and opportunity for people living with disabilities. A first-generation college graduate, he holds a bachelor’s in Latin American studies, and a masters and a doctorate in educational psychology from the University of Minnesota.

Mills-Novoa succeeds Phil Davis who has served as president since 1998 and was recently appointed the associate vice chancellor serving as the managing director of the MnSCU Campus Service Cooperative.

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 Health and Wellness Opportunities Grow

Posted on: June 10th, 2014 by insidemctc No Comments

Focus on fitness at MCTC.Students at Minneapolis Community and Technical College (MCTC) have seen an overall increase in health and wellness in the last few years.

Last year nearly 5,000 students at four two-year colleges completed a college student health survey, identifying trends when compared to data from previous health surveys in 2011 and 2009. The 2013 survey results indicated the number of uninsured students at MCTC has dropped from 28.3 percent in 2011 to 24 percent in 2013. This is likely due in part to outreach efforts by the state-funded insurance initiative MNsure combined with recent health and wellness opportunities for MCTC students.

In 2012, MCTC opened its student-centered health clinic on campus. Boynton Health Service provides quality healthcare services—including treatment for illnesses and injuries, lab and x-ray testing, routine medical exams and mental health services—by medical professionals on campus to all enrolled MCTC students. “I often hear patients say it is so convenient to get their care right here on campus, between their classes,” said Jenny Swanson, Boynton Health Service clinic manager. “Our primary care providers also host monthly health talks in the common spaces on campus in order to reach out to the greater MCTC population on a variety of health topics.” Insurance is not required by students who use Boynton, and students without insurance are not turned away.
The College has also invested in fitness programs, intramural activities, a fitness center and motivational exercise programs for students. More than 800 students utilized the MCTC weight room and gym facilities during the 2013–2014 academic year. “Our numbers have increased every semester since we started,” said Drew Rongere, campus recreation and wellness coordinator. “Even during finals week we had people in the weight room and the gym. Some students love working out now that they see what they can do.” In the 2013 college student health survey, more than half (54.7 percent) of MCTC students report engaging in moderate to high physical activity levels.

“What’s even better than the physical accomplishments is the connections and friendships students make,” said Drew. “It’s good for their mental health as well as their physical health.” Drew is working with MCTC’s diversity director Dr. Whitney Harris to address mental and physical health disparities among students.

The 2013 health survey also revealed telling data about the physical, mental and sexual health of the MCTC student body. The survey showed 22.7 percent of students reported the death of someone close to them as being a major mental health stress, up from 20.3 percent in 2011. The survey also showed that students are using the new Boynton facilities to seek testing and treatment of sexually transmitted infections as well as for routine physical checkups, immunizations and treatment of minor injuries.

Both Boynton and the campus fitness center will be open during the 2014 summer session.