RED WING -- Supported by a $400,000 Minnesota Jobs Skills Partnership grant, Minnesota State College Southeast’s Red Wing campus will collaborate with seven industry partners to bring mechatronics training to the area.

“The businesses involved in the grant are committed to participating in the design and development of the curriculum as well as enrolling their employees in the training,” according to Katie Hardyman, director of business relations at MSC Southeast.

Area manufacturing companies involved in the project include Red Wing Shoe Co./S.B. Foot Tanning Co. and 3M Fall Protection in Red Wing; Ardent Mills, Hearth and Home Technologies, Pepin Manufacturing, and Valley Craft in Lake City; and Gemini in Cannon Falls.

Mechatronics technicians work with industrial electricians, engineers, and technical support staff to ensure that production processes and equipment can be expanded and sustained in a wide range of industries. Companies in the Southeast region have struggled in the past to find qualified candidates to fill these technical roles, which limits their ability to satisfy demand and meet customer requirements.

Minnesota State College Southeast has already established a successful mechatronics curriculum for college and workforce training at its campus in Winona. Obtaining the support of the MJSP grant and local industry makes it possible to expand the program to the Red Wing campus.

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“Many of our technicians have been promoted from production departments and need advanced training, but we are quite a distance away from a training facility that can provide the skill and education needed. These locations are more than an hour away from Lake City,” said Brian English, community relations manager of Hearth and Home Technologies. “This distance makes it very difficult to train our staff while providing maintenance support to the production lines. With the Red Wing Campus developing a mechatronics program, this will allow the maintenance staff great opportunities to obtain the needed training locally.”

The curriculum will be delivered in a format that minimizes technician time away from work each week. Not only is the coursework designed with local businesses in mind, it will also create the basis for a new one-year technical program on the Red Wing campus.

“The strong relationship between Minnesota State College Southeast and our business partners in Red Wing, Lake City, and Cannon Falls will help provide the skilled workers they need, plus help the college add a much-needed advanced technology program that will continue to serve the area after the grant is complete," said Larry Lundblad, MSC Southeast interim president

For more information, please contact Katie Hardyman, MSC Southeast director of business relations, at khardyman@southeastmn.edu or 651-267-7706.