The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development awarded St. Cloud Technical and Community College a $300,000 Minnesota Job Skills Partnership Program grant to train the workforce at Columbia Gear Corporation.
Located in Avon in Stearns County, Columbia Gear supplies custom gearing and power transmission products to the construction, railroad, mining, air/gas, agriculture, marine, aerospace and wind energy industries throughout the U.S. Europe and Asia. Columbia Gear hopes to grow sales in new markets and expand production. The company estimates they will need 125 new machinists over the next two years.
Columbia Gear will work with St. Cloud Technical and Community College to develop curriculum for 175 machinists, sales personnel, mechanical and quality engineers. The training will include Action Selling for sales workers; Blueprint Reading, Machining Math for apprentices and entry-level machinists; advanced CNC Machine Operations courses; Cutting Edge Technology, Metallurgy and Gear Manufacturing courses for mechanical engineers; and Heat Treating and Metallurgy and Gear Inspection and Troubleshooting for quality engineers.
The MJSP works strategically with businesses and educational institutions to train or retrain workers, expand work opportunities and keep high-quality jobs in the state. With support from Governor Mark Dayton and the Minnesota legislature, the Minnesota Job Skills Partnership Program has awarded $27.6 million since 2011 to train 32,269 workers and has leveraged $57 million in private funding.
“This training grant will help the Columbia Gear workforce improve production processes and increase efficiency,” said DEED Commissioner Katie Clark Sieben. “In partnership with St. Cloud Technical and Community College, the Minnesota Job Skills Partnership Program is assisting this company in providing a trained workforce to support their business growth.”