360 receives funding to promote manufacturing education

Bemidji State University’s 360 Manufacturing and Applied Engineering ATE Regional Center of Excellence was recently awarded $94,000 from Minnesota State Colleges and Universities. This funding will support the 360 eTECH program and the First-line Supervisor Pilot Program. These projects align with the system’s Charting the Future Strategic Framework.

360 eTECH in high schools

The 360 eTECH program currently offers four online certificates with hands-on labs. Originally designed for nontraditional students, 360 is planning to offer dual enrollment for high school students. Through this program, high school students may be able to earn a Production Technologies certificate. The Production Technologies certificates coursework is completely online and students gain college credit along with entry-level skills to begin a career in manufacturing. This program will start in Fall 2014. Funding will help support the time and effort needed to successfully launch this project.

“360 eTECH offers an innovative way for high schools to provide students with technical skills and a head-start on a college degree, resulting in a viable career path in manufacturing,” says Jeremy Leffelman, assistant director for 360. “This is the first time a consortium of colleges has offered anything like this in Minnesota.”

First-line supervisor pilot program

According to Wanted Analytics, in the past four months over 800 positions were posted in Minnesota for first-line supervisors of production and operating workers, indicating the need for this skill-set. Through the First-line Supervisor Pilot Program, 360 will lead the effort to provide education for this skill-set through the 360 eTECH program. This funding will support program design and articulation, curriculum development and workshops for faculty training for online education.

“We are excited about these opportunities to serve the manufacturing industry,” shares Karen White, executive director for 360. “We want to continue to enhance the pipeline and refine industry-driven curriculum that is relevant to industry’s needs so students are prepared to work in advanced manufacturing.”