By Starrla Cray
WINSTED, MN Due to decreased enrollment interest, the Dunwoody College of Technology training center in Winsted is not currently taking welding students.
The lease with the building ended Friday, according to William Morris, Dunwoody’s director of marketing and college relations.
“There may be a new educational provider at that same site or another site in the area; this is something the MOVE (Manufacturing Opportunities and Vocational Employment for Western Minnesota, LLC) is working on,” he noted.
Morris added that the decision to close the Winsted site is not necessarily permanent.
“We aren’t going to rule out Dunwoody providing training in the region in the future,” he stated. “It really depends on what is needed, if there is student interest, if there are jobs for the graduates, and if it makes sense for Dunwoody to do the training.”
Over the past two years, 28 students have graduated from Winsted’s Dunwoody training center. Of those, 26 now have jobs in the welding field.
Winsted was the site of Dunwoody’s first outstate satellite campus. Dunwoody began the project in 2014 after being contacted by Trevor Millerbernd, CEO of Millerbernd Manufacturing.
Millerbernd, along with several other area manufacturers, formed a coalition called MOVE, as a way to support training and education needs in western Minnesota. Many of the companies had openings for welders at the time.
In 2015, Millerbernd said businesses have been happy with the students who’ve graduated from the 16-week fast-track welding program in Winsted.
“Dunwoody has been super responsive to teaching the exact types of welding the individual companies need,” he had stated.
Morris noted that when it comes to short-term training, Dunwoody and other education providers can “ramp up” as workforce demand and student interest rise, and “ramp down” when that need and/or interest is no longer there.
“And, of course, we always welcome students from the region at our main campus in Minneapolis, where we offer a full range of two- and four-year technical degrees,” Williams added.