Q: What is the Minnesota Pipeline Project?

A: “Private Investment / Public Education Labor-Industry Experience” – a new approach to education and training of our youth. Minnesota continues to lead the nation in educational attainment, with nearly 500,000 students participating in some form of post-secondary education – ranking us 7th in the nation. Yet, a college degree is no longer a guarantee for students’ economic security. Nor is it producing workers that meet the needs of 21st century business. The PIPELINE Project is about designing a sustainable and scalable program that is a win-win relationship for both employers and our youth – matching student skills to business needs.


5 Apprenticeship Programs Working in Minnesota

1. MN Department of Labor and Industry Apprenticeships

The Labor Education Service and the Apprenticeship Coordinators Association of Minnesota produced the video above to promote recruitment to the apprenticeship programs in Minnesota. The video reflects the changing demographics and diversity of apprenticeship applicants and features the renovation of the Union Depot in St. Paul.

2. Buehler Apprenticeship Program


Buehler’s apprenticeship program is modeled after the European apprenticeship system: It is a formalized career training program that offers a combination of structured on-the-job training and related technical instruction to train the apprentices in an occupation that demands a high level of skill. In Switzerland and Germany apprenticeships are valued as a great alternative to a college education with more than 60% of young people going through an apprenticeship program. Bühler Inc. currently has 10 apprentices who learn and work in our facility, attend classes at Dunwoody College of Technology and visit customer sites for on the job training. All of this leads to becoming Customer Service Engineers/Industrial Specialists for Machine and Process Technology. Their apprenticeship connects learning directly to the world of work. Apprentices are paid as full time employees of Buhler Inc. for the entire length of the program (3 years) and receive benefits.

3. E.J. Ajax Metal Forming Solutions Apprenticeship


EJ Ajax offers new employees an 8,000 hour apprenticeship program with a curriculum certified by the National Institute for Metalworking Skills (NIMS). We are listed in the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry’s Directory of Approved Apprenticeship Training Programs and Sponsors. The initial apprenticeship is focused on one of three career ladders: Punch Press Operator, Sheet Metal Worker or Tool and Die Maker. Within each ladder, workers acquire a range of knowledge, skills and abilities from mathematics, reading engineering drawings, measurement, and safety to written and oral communications and interpersonal skills. 40 percent of EJ Ajax workers have achieved journey worker Level III status in at least one career ladder. Many workers have two or more Level III certifications. Journey-workers are re-certified to NIMS standards every two years.

4. International Union of Operating Engineers, Local 49 Training and Apprenticeship Center

Komatsu PC 160 LC Training banner 3022

The Local 49 Training & Apprenticeship Programs develop professional Operating Engineers in the industry. All training either at the facility located just east of Hinckley, Minnesota or at locations spread across service area funded entirely by contributions from our membership. Watch this video for more information.

5. Aging Services of Minnesota Apprenticeship Program


The HSS Registered Apprenticeship Program is an innovative education and on-the-job learning opportunity designed to change the traditional system of compartmentalized job duties by creating a blended worker career for team-based and person-directed environments. Apprentices are trained by mentors within their organizations and faculty within the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System for this new career, recognized by the Minnesota Department of Labor.

Do you participate in an apprenticeship program in Minnesota? Are you a student or business who would be interested in participating? I’d like to hear from you,


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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