Senator Bonoff Applauds Bühler and their Graduates

(Plymouth, MN) – The first graduating class of the Bühler Apprenticeship Academy received their “Certificates of Completion” and their “Journey Worker Card” in “Customer Service Engineer” from the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry today. Wednesday is a major milestone for this innovative program, marking a culmination of years of hard work by both Buhler Inc. and its student apprentices. This accomplishment gives a small glimpse of what to expect across Minnesota in the coming years thanks to equally innovative legislation passed in the 2015 Session.

Three years ago, Buhler Inc. partnered with Dunwoody College of Technology to start a new training program, modeled after the European Apprenticeship programs which have been successful in Europe for decades. This model stipulates that students are hired as full-time employees of the company, they attend hands-on training at the company in a workshop particularly dedicated to their training, and get the theoretical knowledge for their profession at a local technical college. Over the three years that students are in this program they receive a wage and benefits. This model is commonly referred to as “dual training.”

“We are honored and proud of our first class of graduates from the Bühler Apprenticeship Academy,” stated René Steiner, President and CEO of North America for Buhler Inc. “Today marks the day that we know these five graduates have a foundation for a very successful career in a technical profession. Having gone through an apprenticeship program similar to this one, I know that this education and training model is just the first step towards a rewarding and promising career which leads to numerous opportunities in our industry. I look forward to seeing all of them advancing their careers at Bühler.”

The five graduates’ are Jessica M. Hurd, Matthew A. Schweizer, Travis T. Phillips, Brian L. Randall, and Ziven K. Zimmerman. All five graduates accepted full-time positions with Buhler Inc. and begin their permanent positions on August 1, 2015.

Senator Terri Bonoff, Chair of the Senate Higher Education and Workforce Development Committee, praised Buhler Inc. for inspiring her initiative called the MN PIPELINE Project. This past legislative session funding was secured for grants in hopes to expand dual training opportunities across Minnesota. The MN PIPELINE Project establishes dual training in high-demand, high-growth occupations in four industries, advanced manufacturing, healthcare services, IT & Agriculture. Employers can partner with local colleges to educate and train students in occupations which competency standards have been established. Employers will pay students while they receive on-the-job training, and the state will pay for the students’ classroom instruction, up to $6,000 per student. The competency standards go through a robust identification process and are developed by key industry stakeholders. These meetings are convened by the Minnesota Department of Labor & Industry.

“This program balances the needs of both businesses and students, and is a model that Minnesota should look to as we search for ways to close the skills gap while reducing the debt burden currently placed on students and their families. Today, as we celebrate these graduates from Bühler, we know that they have learned the skills they will need to succeed and thrive in the 21st century economy. This is a very impressive accomplishment and everyone has much to be proud of. As we expand the MN PIPELINE Project, I am excited for a future where more opportunities like this one are made available to our students.”

To learn more about the MN PIPELINE Project, follow this link:

To learn more about the legislation expanding the MN PIPELINE Project, following these two links:
Section 11 – Dual Training Competency Grants Established –
Section 18 – Dual Training Competency Standards Development –

For more information about this or any legislation, please contact Sen. Terri Bonoff at (651) 296-4314 or by email at


Senator Terri Bonoff
Terri Bonoff represents District 44, which includes portions of Minnetonka, Plymouth and Woodland in Hennepin County in the Twin Cities metropolitan area. She chairs the Higher Education and Workforce Development Committee.

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