January 25, 2016

Thirteen percent of all jobs in Minnesota are in manufacturing. The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development projects that over 1500 manufacturing jobs will be available in Minnesota each year for the next 10 years; however, economic and demographic trends indicate a shortage of skilled technicians. This problem creates a golden opportunity for Century College to collaborate with companies, agencies, and communities to create unique solutions that benefit both the student and the employer.

Chee Yang is a recipient of this opportunity. A member of the Minneapolis Hmong American Mutual Assistance Association (HAMAA), Chee jumped at the chance to learn entry-level manufacturing skills through a Low Income Worker Program Training grant that specifically targets unemployed and underserved populations. Chee took a panel building class last spring, which was taught by Century College instructors. He was quickly hired by Absolute Quality Manufacturing (AQM), located in Minneapolis. Jason Everson from AQM says “Chee is a great employee and we are promoting him to a supervisor.”

The benefits of training and getting a job are important, but it doesn’t stop there. Recently, Chee supplemented his training through a Minnesota Jobs Skills Partnership (MJSP) grant, administered by Century College with on-the-job training at AQM. With his training, Chee has multiple industry-recognized credentials which he can apply towards credit programs at one of 12 MnSCU schools that participate in the Minnesota Advanced Manufacturing Partnership (MnAMP). The consortium was created to help close the skills gap in Minnesota. Century plays a key role in supporting and administering training for the MnAMP program.

The saying “It takes a village” rings true for Chee Yang and many other students like him. Century College continually looks for unique sources of funding to ensure student success, including obtaining and administering low-income worker grants for community organizations, managing multiple MJSP grants for on-site industry training, and playing a key role in the MnAMP consortium.