ST. PAUL, Minn – In an effort to expose more young Northwest Minnesota students to the manufacturing sector, Sen. LeRoy Stumpf (DFL-Plummer) is authoring a bill to provide funds for a mobile welding training facility. The Pine to Prairie Cooperative Center (a consortium of 29 school districts) and Northland Community and Technical College have partnered together to create the Northwest Mobile Manufacturing Lab. Leaders of the two groups testified during a Senate E-12 Finance Committee hearing on Tuesday.
“Manufacturing counts for 1 out of every 8 jobs in Northwest Minnesota,” said Sen. Stumpf. “This is a quickly growing job sector and demand for skilled workers will only increase. The mobile manufacturing lab is a smart invention perfectly suited for the small towns in our area and I think it could make a real difference in the type of opportunities available to our high school students,” said Sen. Stumpf.
If the project receives its total ask of $350,000, it would fund the purchase of four mobile trailers, two mobile labs for welding and two mobile labs for a manufacturing lab emphasizing electronics, robotics and automated manufacturing. The mobile labs would travel throughout the area visiting high schools where students would be exposed to specific equipment, training in welding and automated manufacturing and receive hands-on instruction from teachers.
Testifiers at the hearing spoke about the importance of exposing high school students to manufacturing careers. The mobile manufacturing lab presents the perfect opportunity to show students a possible career pathway that pays way, would help close the job vacancy rate, and offer employment close to home.
For more information, Sen. Stumpf can be reached at LeRoyS@senate.mn or at (651) 296-8660.