Range Colleges Offer 9,000 Hours of Skill Training

By KBJR News 1

Range Colleges Offer 9,000 Hours of Skill Training

April 6, 2012 Updated Apr 6, 2012 at 5:22 PM CST

(Northland's NewsCenter)---With the demand for manufacturing production comes the need for qualified workers.

Two Iron Range community colleges have been given $150,000 from the Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board to help manufacturing employees develop skills.

With the addition of a 30-ton crane next month, TriTec will become one of the only fabrication companies in the state with the capacity to lift 17-tons.

"The equipment gets bigger, heavier," Mitchel Robertson, President of TriTec said. "We need these skills to perform the job safely and adequately."

From supervising, welding and torch cutting to blueprint reading and power tools, the Hibbing and Mesabi Range Community Colleges will use the grant to offer 50 manufacturing classes and 21 overhead crane classes.

"There will be a lot of customized training that will be short term, very specific and customized to what the manufacturer needs and wants," Lisa Kavas, of the Mesabi Range Community and Technical College said.

Together the colleges expect to offer more than 9,000 hours of training.

Classes will be offered throughout the Arrowhead Region.

"Two Harbors and Silver Bay High Schools have offered us to use their labs and their space at their school sites," Kavas said.

Employers will now be able to send their employees to OSHA certified crane training classes in the Northland. Some of these classes are only accessible in two states nationwide.

"People will probably come to the area to get the training because it will be closer to get training here, than it will be to go out to Washington State or Florida," Greg Toppel of IBEW Local 294 said.

Classes are expected to begin the middle of May.

With the help of the grant money, they will be offered at a discounted rate.

The total project cost is more than $570,000.

Jennifer Walch
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