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Business North - The Daily Briefing - Business Newspaper Online
Northeast Higher Ed District launches Advanced Minnesota
This week, the five community colleges that comprise the Northeast Higher Education District collectively launched a new website, AdvancedMN.org, which highlights a reorganized customized training, continuing education and university partnerships initiative among the campuses.
Previously, the five NHED campuses, which include Itasca, Hibbing, Mesabi, Rainy River and Vermilion community colleges, handled these functions on an individual campus basis, said Trent Janezich, interim executive director of Advanced Minnesota, which is housed on the HCC campus.
A reorganization effort began in July under the direction of NHED president Sue Collins. The collaborative approach was necessary, said Janezich, due to economic conditions coupled with declining available financial support for higher education. The combined effort means customized training, continuing education and university partnership programs can fully utilize NHED faculty and staff.
“The beauty of Advanced Minnesota is we can pull from all five campuses,” said Janezich.
The programs available under the Advanced Minnesota umbrella include workforce development, industrial, safety and health and emergency services training. The university partnerships’ flagship program is Iron Range Engineering, which seeks to fill a regional workforce needs gap for engineers in coming years. Advanced Minnesota has six faculty members and a total of 23 employees.
A highlight of the new umbrella organization is the plan to launch student and customized training for heavy equipment operators in the mining industry. The heavy equipment simulator will be available to Hibbing Community College students as well as mining employees as soon as January.
The simulator program, which provides sophisticated hands-on safety training, is itself a collaborative effort of mining industry partners, Advanced Minnesota, Hibbing Community College and state workforce programs.
The Immersive Technologies simulator retails for about $1.4 million and was paid for, in part, by grant funding said Mary Brandt, Advanced Minnesota customized training representative. It arrived on the HCC campus in mid-October and was commissioned later last month. Essar Steel Minnesota, Cliffs Natural Resources HibTac and other mining industry employees will eventually receive safety training on the new equipment.
Business and industry will pay for Advanced Minnesota training services on an hourly basis. Janezich said they are a stand-alone organization designed to be at least revenue neutral and hopefully revenue generating. During the past decade, more than 2,500 businesses in the region have received services through the NHED customized training and continuing education programs.
Those who would like to learn more about Advanced Minnesota, can visit its new website at www.advancedMN.org.
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