By Starrla Cray
WINSTED, MN When Millerbernd Manufacturing’s CEO Trevor Millerbernd saw that his company would likely be facing a skilled labor shortage, he didn’t consider it an unresolvable problem he saw it as an opportunity.
Earlier this year, Millerbernd contacted Dunwoody College of Technology to see if they could offer training locally.
Fourteen other manufacturing companies in the area got on board, forming a coalition called MOVE, or “Manufacturing Opportunities for Vocational Employment.”
“I saw that synergy; there were 67 job openings for this area, which is tremendous,” said Debra Kerrigan, Dunwoody’s dean of workforce training and continuing education.
It didn’t take long before that synergy helped create Dunwoody’s first outstate satellite campus.
Eleven students began classes in October, with plans to graduate from the fast-track welding program in February. From there, they’ll have guaranteed job placement at one of several manufacturing companies in the Winsted, Delano, Hutchinson, or Litchfield area.
A large crowd of students, business owners, and community members visited the new facility (located in the former NAPA building in Winsted) for an open house event Thursday evening.
KARE 11 toured the center earlier in the day, and featured the story on its 6 p.m. news program. Click here to see the video.
“This is really exciting for all of us,” Millerbernd said at the open house. “Dunwoody has been excellent to work with.”
Millerbernd added that he’s looking forward to a long-term partnership with Dunwoody.
“I think the future is really bright here,” he said. “Dunwoody is willing to be flexible with classes if welding isn’t as much of a need in the future it could be modeling, hydraulics, facility management, whatever.”
Enrollment is currently open for the next welding program, which begins in March 2015. A CNC machine operator program is scheduled to start in October 2015.
MOVE, LLC, a newly formed organization collaborating with Dunwoody in an effort to support training and education needs in western Minnesota, includes the following entities:
• Millerbernd Manufacturing
• Advanced Process Technologies
• AWI Manufacturing
• AZZ Galvanizing
• Custom Products
• Drill Pipe Inc.
• Felling Trailers
• Millerbernd Systems
• Rite Way Manufacturing
• R & M Manufacturing
• R & R Auto and Metal Salvage
• Tetra Pak
• SJF Material Handling Equipment
• Hutchinson Manufacturing Incorporated
• Southwest Initiative Foundation