Optivation receives Minn. Job Skills Partnership grants

A pair of grants from the Minnesota Job Skills Partnership Program, totaling nearly $70,000, will help Optivation provide organizational development and professional certification in northern Minnesota.

With the grants, Optivation, a provider of custom training and organizational development operated jointly by Bemidji State University and Northwest Technical College, will provide project management for a performance improvement project in Park Rapids, Minn., and provide Building Operator Certification to staff members at three Seven Clans Casinos facilities.

Park Rapids Performance Improvement Project
Optivation has received a $49,980 grant to support the Park Rapids Performance Improvement Project. Under a Community Quality Plan developed by Park Rapids resident Louis E. Schultz, a consortium of leading community organizations has come together to participate in a pilot project. Schultz will head an instructional team to guide four participating organizations — the Park Rapids Enterprise, St. Joseph’s Hospital, Itasca-Mantrap Electrical Co-Op and Northwoods Bank — through six training courses on various topics related to quality and process management.

Leadership teams from the four participating organizations will undergo a series of training exercises designed to match processes to customer expectations — to determine areas in which expectations are not being met, and also areas in which expectations are being exceeded and efficiencies could be identified.

This project will be cooperative in nature and both groups will benefit; Optivation will be providing project management for the Park Rapids pilot program, and also will be gathering information and best practices so it can offer this same program to other organizations in the future.

Seven Clans Casinos
Optivation also is receiving $17,832 to bring Level II Building Operator Certification training to maintenance staffers at three Seven Clans Casino facilities. Seven Clans operates casinos in Thief River Falls, Warroad and Red Lake. The Chicago-based Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance will send certified trainers to Bemidji to lead Building Operator Certification courses. The Level II training is a skill-enhancement program that allows facility operators to increase the efficiency of HVAC, electrical and water systems in the buildings they manage.

This grant will bring Building Operator Certification (BOC) Level II training to the three different Seven Clans Casinos facilities locations maintenance staff members.  Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (MEEA), the sole source to train BOC in the Midwest based in Chicago, will send certified trainers to Bemidji to lead the classes.

Optivation will manage the overall course project, which builds on a previous Minnesota Job Services Program-funded project that was completed in 2011. The course will also be open to other facility managers who meet eligibility requirements for the course and pay the registration fee, but are not Seven Clans employees. Under this project, Northwest Technical College HVAC instructor Mike Norden also will receive certification to deliver the Level II training courses.

For more information, contact Optivation’s Kerry Ross at (218) 755-4902.

About Optivation
Optivation is designed to increase collaboration between Bemidji’s higher education providers and the business and technology sectors of the northwest Minnesota region. Optivation delivers targeted training and education systems to help organizations succeed in a changing world. Through its affiliations with Bemidji State University and Northwest Technical College, Optivation is able to tap into an unparalleled network of people and technology across the state of Minnesota. Optivation is operated jointly by BSU and NTC. For more information, visit optivation.org or call (218) 755-4900.