Welding together local partnerships: New program in Jackson ‘fills void’ in workforce need
JACKSON -- On Wednesday afternoon, Minnesota West Community and Technical College dedicated its new welding lab in Jackson. Representatives from the college as well as local business sponsors spoke highly of the new program. Minnesota West Presid...
JACKSON - On Wednesday afternoon, Minnesota West Community and Technical College dedicated its new welding lab in Jackson.
Representatives from the college as well as local business sponsors spoke highly of the new program.
Minnesota West President Terry Gaalswyk thanked the community partners that helped fund the welding program.
“I would like to thank those who worked hard in service to the program, the Jackson campus and our college,” Gaalswyk said.
“... Thank you for your generous contributions and support. … Our sincerest appreciation for trusting in this college and stepping forward in support of our students and communities.”
Barbara McDonald, who served as Minnesota West’s interim president last year, also attended the dedication ceremony.
McDonald helped push for the welding program and said that though she may not work at Minnesota West any longer, she is still rooting for the school.
“You’ve got a great program,” McDonald said. “I think it’s the best, certainly in Minnesota if not in the upper Midwest. … This is our mission - to move forward with a program that is going to meet the workforce needs of southwest Minnesota.”
AGCO was the main sponsor for the new Jackson lab. Eric Fischer, AGCO’s director of operations in Jackson, said the main reason he wanted to see a welding program in Jackson was to help meet the need for manufacturers.
“On behalf of all businesses, not just AGCO, this really fills a void in the area in the industry,” Fischer said. “... Manufacturing can be one of the drivers of the economy. What’s really holding it back from expanding and growing is those skills needed. This program, this lab - it answers that.”
Others sponsors include Apple Tree Institute, Southwest Initiative Foundation and Balzer Inc.
After the ceremony, the public was welcome to take a tour of the new facility. There are 10 students in this year’s program.