May 27, 2015

Student veteran advancing education through AME Grant

Bartholomew Lindberg never wants to stop learning, to never stop exploring.
That’s why the Brainerd native turned to Central Lakes College for the Welding Program. When he was signing up for classes, he also found out about Advanced Manufacturing Education (AME) Grant at the college. The AME Grant offers advanced manufacturing education and training programs to create a better-trained, more skilled manufacturing workforce.
Out of all of the options, 27-year-old Lindberg chose the Certified Production Technician Certificate.
“It’ll look good on my resume,” he said. 
He continued, “This will get my foot in the door for the manufacturing industry. Knowledge is power.”
The AME Grant programs are a good choice for a lot of people like Lindberg, said Dale Ray Thiesen, manager of strategic grant initiatives for the AME Grant.
“If you’re dedicated, if you’re motivated, if you want a career, not just another job, here’s your chance,” he said.

Classes and programs are structured to “provide practical education for practical people,” he said.
There’s the traditional coursework, online sessions, as well as lessons in the workplace. Students can hone in on their skills or find a new career path, he said.
As for Lindberg, he spent four years as a watercraft operator in the Army. In those four years, he visited 19 countries. But Lindberg wanted to expand his education, so he left the Army in January and turned to CLC.
The AME Grant stems from a regional consortium of technical and community colleges, employers, workforce and government agencies and community organizations including Central Lakes College, Pine Technical & Community College, St. Cloud Technical and Community College, and the 360º Manufacturing Center of Excellence. 
The alliance works with employers to train current employees, assess and evaluate their skills. The group also trains and prepares prospective employees, including military veterans, new-to-the-workforce people, workers whose jobs have been outsourced, and workers who want to enhance their technical and job skills.
“It’s simple. Twenty-first century manufacturers need better-trained employees: Career-minded people who’ve not only mastered the appropriate skills and technologies, but also made the commitment to forge careers with real futures for themselves,” Thiesen said. “We work with the region’s premiere manufacturing employers to create, adapt and refine academic programs that reflect what they want and need in twenty-first century employees.”
The AME grant has developed its courses and programs based on industry and student feedback. 
Examples: The new eight-credit Manufacturing Foundations Certificate that is aligned to an industry recognized credential, the Manufacturing Skills Standards Council (MSSC) and the 16-credit Certified Production Technician (CPT) industry-recognized credential.
The new program can help folks earn certificates, diplomas, AAS, and BS degrees.
To date, it has helped 1,379 people earn 620 credentials.
At CLC, Lindberg learned about manufacturing and assembly lines, patent designs, basic principles of engineering and networking. 
He’ll be done at the college June 25. As for his next steps, Lindberg wants to do something big. He’ll canoe down the Mississippi River, blogging about it the whole way.
After that, he’ll continue his education, focusing on degrees in renewable energy, robotics, and smart house appliances.
Eventually, Lindberg wants to use his education to make house appliances more efficient.

About the AME Grant:
- Who it benefits: Returning veterans, veterans’ spouses, dislocated and incumbent workers.
- Hybrid learning process, utilizing media telepresence to deliver classes in to the workplace of business partners.
- Customized training that delivers college credit.
- Course curriculum developed to provide industry desired skills and are aligned to industry recognized credentials.
- 8 and 16 credit credentials are stackable credentials that can lead to an AS or AAS degree.
- Courses are at a reduced cost of $99 for a limited time.

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