RCTC Awarded Minnesota Job Skills Partnership Grant

(Rochester, MN) Rochester Community and Technical College’s Center for Business and Workforce Education, in collaboration with Crenlo Manufacturing, has been awarded a Minnesota Job Skills Partnership grant totaling $49,485. A grant signing ceremony will take place at Crenlo’s Valleyhigh Drive plant in Rochester at 10 a.m. on Jan. 16, 2019.

Rochester and Southeastern Minnesota are facing workforce challenges due to rapid growth in the region’s manufacturing sector, significant wage competition, and low unemployment rates. Businesses like Crenlo are thinking differently about their hiring and training practices and are increasing investments in their current employees. The goal is to develop job advancement opportunities for those already employed by the company.

Located in Rochester, Crenlo has been in business for nearly 70 years and is a leading manufacturer of operator cabs, roll over protective structures (ROPS), server cabinet enclosures, and consoles engineered to protect sensitive electronic equipment. Although the products look vastly different, they both draw upon the same skill sets: world-class metal fabrication, cutting-edge robotic welding, high-level paint finishes and value-added assembly.

According to Brent Brockman, Crenlo’s Director of Human Resources, “This is a great time to invest in growing our workforce. We want to provide advancement opportunities for our incumbent workforce, and one of the largest growth areas to do this in, is within our welding department.”

MJSP allocates grants to educational institutions that are working to expand employment opportunities in growth sectors within Minnesota’s economy to keep high-quality jobs in the state. These grants are distributed through the custom training departments at the colleges, which requires training to be developed specific to the partnering business’ needs. RCTC’s Director for Business and Workforce Education, Jennifer Wilson, Ph.D. stated, “The MJSP grant allows us to partner with Crenlo to create a workforce pipeline.”

The grant comes at a time when employers like Crenlo are looking at alternative ways to focus on employee retention. Dr. Wilson added, “This grant will allow us to develop curriculum for an on-the-job training program both for individuals looking for job advancement and for current incumbent welders to attain advanced welding skills specific to the needs of Crenlo’s production line.”  By creating a pipeline where individuals have access to advanced training, there is added incentive for individuals to become employed and stay employed at that organization.

For further information on RCTC’s MJSP grant, contact Dr. Jennifer Wilson at 507-529-2736.