September 2014, Vol. 69, No. 9


Skilled Labor Shortage Cited In Western Communities

A skilled labor shortage is impacting manufacturers located between Delano, Winsted, Hutchinson, and Litchfield in the West Central Region of Minnesota.

In response to the region’s employment needs, Dunwoody College of Technology has partnered with MOVE LLC (Manufacturing Opportunities for Vocational Employment) to create a Corporate and Community Training Center (CCTC) in Winsted.

Industry leaders contacted the College’s Work Force Training & Continuing Education department last December saying the area was in dire need of skilled welders and CNC machine operators. They stressed that a skilled workforce was crucial to help companies grow their businesses and meet the manufacturing demands of their customers.

MOVE is made up of more than 12 local manufacturers (of which Felling Trailers is one) that have committed to providing employment opportunities with a good wage and benefits for successful graduates from the 16-week training program of which Felling Trailers is a partner.

This fall, 12 students will be admitted for a one-semester Welding Technician program. A second welding class will follow in March 2015. A 16-week CNC Machine Operator program is being considered for 2015-2016. Class sizes will be small with an emphasis on hands-on, applied learning utilizing customized curriculum focusing on the skills needed by the local manufacturing companies.

The industry-recognized, non-credit training programs provide a local alternative to the traditional two-year and four-year post-secondary college pathways. They allow recent high school graduates or other adult learners the opportunity to stay in the immediate area while enrolled in training during the day–minimizing transportation and housing costs they’d accrue by leaving the West Central Region.

Classes are scheduled to begin on Sept. 15. The former NAPA Auto Parts building in downtown Winsted, owned by Millerbernd Manufacturing, is being converted into the Dunwoody CCTC.

The goal of the CCTC is to provide a pool of skilled workers, reduce hiring and training costs for new employees, and support the industry’s immediate and future needs through customized curriculum.

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