November 10, 2018

On November 8, the Vadnais Heights Economic Development Corporation presented Century College with the 2018 Partnership Award. The award was formally bestowed during the VHEDC’s Annual Dinner, which celebrated the Northeast Metro Area business community.

The Partnership Award, which is given out to one recipient each year, is awarded to a partner of the VHEDC that is integral to the success of the business economy.

“Century College is such a vital part to the success of our community,” said VHEDC President Becker. “They are the resource that businesses trust to train existing employees and new students that will be entering the workforce.”

The VHEDC is a group of community and business leaders dedicated to furthering economic growth in the Northeast Metro Area. The organization is an ideal partner for Century College, where workforce development is a top priority.

“On behalf of Century College, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the Vadnais Heights Economic Development Corporation for honoring us with this wonderful award,” said President Millender. “We deeply value our partnership with the Vadnais Heights Economic Development Corporation. The success we have achieved together is truly remarkable.”

A Celebration of Connectedness

The annual dinner was not only an opportunity to celebrate award winners; it was an opportunity to network. Over 375 business leaders and special guests enjoyed an hour of time to meet, greet, and connect.

This dedicated hour for networking was emblematic of connectedness, the core focus of Keynote speaker Liwanag Ojala, CEO of CaringBridge. She emphasized how important it is for businesses to work together for the wellbeing of the economy and the community as a whole.

To keep pace with the evolving workforce needs, Century College has built strong connections within the business community.

On top of a wide variety of connections between Century College faculty/administration with business partners, advisory committees consisting of established industry experts have allowed the college to understand and address workforce needs.

Though Century College has long been a vital contributor to the Northeast Metro workforce, Becker notices that the college has stepped up as of late.

“Century College has really put their boots on the ground,” said Becker. “They are really getting out in the community, working with their partners, and building tight relationships with local businesses. It’s obviously a high priority for the leadership team, and that means a lot to us.”

A Leader in Manufacturing

A strong focus for VHEDC and Century College has been healthcare and manufacturing, the latter of which Becker calls the “bread and butter” of the Northeast Metro economy.

Century College’s Fab Lab has facilitated STEM programs that have been a crucial source of skilled workers for the manufacturing industry. Graduates of programs such as Additive and Digital Manufacturing have a nuanced understanding of the latest technology and often help businesses implement new systems.

The rapid advancement of manufacturing technology has made training a challenge. That’s why Becker is excited about the upcoming Advanced Technology Center, a state-of-the-art STEM facility that will position Century College to stay on top of workforce needs for years to come.

The center will allow the college to improve existing programs and create new ones, including a bioprinting program, which is being developed in partnership with the University of Minnesota.

“The things that Century College is doing are not typical of two-year schools,” said Becker. “It turns the dial up on the conversation about the value of a community college compared to a four-year degree.”

The Sky is the Limit

Though the relationship between the VHEDC to Century College has been a boon for employers, Becker sees room to grow.

“There are opportunities for us to be an even greater asset to the business community, said Becker. “There are more opportunities for customized training and internships, and more pathways we can create for our local high school students to enter the workforce.”

For Century College and the VHEDC, this award is not only a celebration of what has been done, but of what is to come.

“We’re interested in anything and everything that the college will want to do with us,” said Becker. “I think the sky is the limit for what we can accomplish together.”