Partnership expands access to automation training for workers in remote locations


Aug 16, 2010

Rockwell Automation and Alexandria Technical and Community College (ATCC), a two-year technical and community college in Alexandria, Minnesota, have signed a memorandum of understanding that will expand worker access to automation training in outstate Minnesota. ATCC staff members will complete a Rockwell Automation train-the-trainer course, which will allow ATCC to offer five certified Rockwell Automation training courses to students.

The certified Rockwell Automation training courses, which ATCC will be authorized to offer in 32 counties in central Minnesota, will expand access to training in the region, making it more convenient for technical manufacturing workers to advance their automation skills, and helping the state’s manufacturing companies remain competitive in the global marketplace. Courses are expected to be available in the fall semester of 2010.

“Minnesota manufacturers are facing a potentially debilitating shortage of technical workers with the training and skills needed to work in today’s high-tech manufacturing environments,” said Chad Coauette, dean of customized training, Alexandria Technical & Community College. “Partnering with an automation industry leader, such as Rockwell Automation, allows us to address this need by offering an additional access point for technical education. We’re able to leverage a cutting-edge curriculum based on the latest technology being used in manufacturing facilities today to ensure the incumbent workforce in Minnesota has the right skill set to excel in technical positions.”

“In recent years, technology advances have affected every step of the manufacturing process – manufacturing jobs have become technology jobs, and employees must have the advanced skills required for today’s workplace,” said Nick Goebel, business manager of global training services, Rockwell Automation. “Rockwell Automation is uniquely positioned and committed to helping businesses and technical workers gain the training and skills they need to succeed in an increasingly competitive manufacturing environment. We chose to work with a reputable institution like Alexandria Technical & Community College to expand access to automation training for Minnesota workers that may not have had this type of opportunity in the past.”   

To develop the program, ATCC and Rockwell Automation are working in conjunction with Werner Electric Supply Minnesota, an authorized Rockwell Automation distributor that is part of the Rockwell Automation PartnerNetwork framework that includes thousands of specialists in industries, applications, geographies, technologies and services around the world. Werner Electric Supply will provide equipment and local support for the training program.

“Alexandria Technical & Community College has previously made significant investments in automation training, and for that reason, we feel the school is uniquely positioned to offer this program and we’re pleased to serve as a local resource for them,” said Kevin Powell, president, Werner Electric Supply Minnesota. 

ATCC has received a grant for more than $98,000 from the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities’ Innovation Fund to purchase the hardware and software needed to build training equipment that utilizes the most current versions available from Rockwell Automation.