IRRRB grant helps local colleges deliver state of the art training to manufacturing companies

April 05, 2012

EVELETH, Minn.—Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board (IRRRB) Commissioner Tony Sertich today announced a $150,000 customized training grant award to Hibbing Community College (HCC) and Mesabi Range Community and Technical College (MRCTC). Grant dollars will be used to offer manufacturing and overhead crane training to manufacturing companies of all sizes. 

This initiative not only enhances our goal of advancing the development of trained, skilled workers in the region, but also strengthens the partnership with our colleges and our local manufacturing businesses,” said Sertich. 

Regional manufacturers, construction companies and organizations have identified new employee training and skill enhancement as vital to their viability. Through this new initiative, HCC and MRCTC will deliver a variety of skill sets training frequently needed by new employees or as refresher training for incumbent workers. This training, tailored to the needs of manufacturing and construction, will enhance worker productivity and support their ability to compete in the market place. 

The total project cost for this initiative is over $570,000, which includes financial support from the colleges and industry. HCC and MRCTC expect to offer approximately 9,320 hours of training, consisting of 50 manufacturing classes with 8,000 hours of training for 400 participants and 21 overhead crane classes with 1,320 hours of training for 105 participants. 

Northeast Higher Education District (NHED) President Sue Collins said, “Our NHED colleges are perfectly positioned, with customized curricula and experienced faculty, to deliver exactly what our manufacturers and fabricators need in terms of relevant, state of the art training. We are so appreciative of Commissioner Sertich’s investment in this exciting training initiative. With the support of IRRRB and our manufacturers, we will demonstrate the colleges’ capacity to deliver regional workforce development solutions.”

Leaders in the manufacturing, fabricators, and business community welcome the availability of this new, customized training. 

“Safe and skillful operation of overhead cranes is critical in manufacturing industrial parts and equipment,” said Rusty Hoglund, president of the Arrowhead Manufacturing and Fabricators Association. “This grant is a welcome addition to any manufacturer’s training program.” 

According to Gordy Anderson, president and chief executive officer of the Two Harbors Area Chamber of Commerce, this training effort has been on his radar for years.  The chamber organized a manufacturing committee that included the school district, local businesses, manufacturers, and more recently, MRCTC. 

Anderson said, “The topic of discussion always revolved around workforce development and the lack of qualified employees. Local financial efforts kept advanced welding classes in the high school system, but that effort needed to be enhanced. Now it is going to happen. It is very rewarding to have Commissioner Sertich’s full support and MRCTC willing to have a presence on the North Shore.” 

IRRRB is a state economic development agency headquartered in northeastern Minnesota whose mission is to invest in business, community and workforce development for the betterment of northeastern Minnesota.