Bemidji, MN–360 eTECH, a program of 360 Manufacturing and Applied Engineering Center of Excellence, provides online and hands-on manufacturing education. Students may take courses through any of the nine participating colleges across Minnesota. For the Fall 2016 semester, 360 eTECH had 62 students enrolled.
One of the ways 360 eTECH reached so many individuals is by working closely with industry. Recently, some manufacturing companies have incorporated the 360 eTECH curriculum into their new employee training programs. In 2015, 360 and a manufacturer in northwest Minnesota partnered to offer courses to new employees through Northwest Technical College.
The 16 credit Production Technologies certificate is now part of the training for this company. The first cohort of 11 students completed the certificate in Fall 2016. A second cohort started in October 2016, and the third cohort started in January 2017.
Providing technical education to high schools
In 2014, 360 eTECH began the 360 eTECH High School Program to offer technical education to high school students. Currently, four high schools are participating, and more high schools continue to be interested in joining. Last spring, the first three students graduated with welding certificates.
Due to partnering with manufacturers as well as the expanding high school programs, three additional course sections were added to the spring schedule to accommodate the increase in participation.
“We are excited that the 360 eTECH program continues grow and serve manufacturers’ needs,” says Sue Selland, 360 assistant director. “We look forward to continuing to work with industry to provide training solutions and helping high school educators provide technical education that leads to qualified manufacturing technicians.”