360° Center of Excellence adds two members

Ridgewater College and South Central College have been accepted into 360° Manufacturing and Applied Engineering ATE Regional Center of Excellence, a collaborative group of 15 colleges. Each college brings unique perspectives and programs to help further 360°’s goals to enhance the pipeline that prepares students for the manufacturing industry and refine industry-driven curriculum that is relevant today.

“We’re excited to have Ridgewater College and South Central College join,” says Karen White, executive director. “They bring valuable programs and expertise to our consortium, and they are willing and ready to promote the importance of advanced manufacturing in Minnesota.”

Ridgewater College
Ridgewater College offers seven manufacturing options in the areas of automation, machining, welding and drafting and three engineering technology options that serve manufacturing in the areas of nondestructive testing (NDT) and calibration. The core manufacturing programs have a shared core curriculum and electives where students learn about the breadth of manufacturing while specializing in one area. Ridgewater also engages with a variety of organizations, including manufacturing associations, regional chambers of commerce, economic development authorities and local manufacturers.

“We’ve looked forward to the opportunity of joining 360o for some time and are very pleased to now join our colleagues in working to better serve the needs of Minnesota’s manufacturers,” shares Mike Boehme, dean of instruction at Ridgewater College.

South Central College
South Central College has been providing advanced manufacturing education to South Central Minnesota since 1946. The college currently offers three advanced manufacturing programs in the in-demand fields of computer integrated machining (CIM), mechatronics and welding. Curriculum in these programs incorporates nationally recognized certifications that build upon one another (portable, stackable credentials), offering individuals the flexibility to obtain each credential at a time that is right for them. South Central College is a participant in many state manufacturing organizations. The college is also a member of the Minnesota Center for Manufacturing and Engineering Excellence, headquartered at Minnesota State University, Mankato. The college is also involved in national manufacturing initiatives, including President Obama’s national Advanced Manufacturing Partnership.

“360°’s goal of providing career opportunities for our state’s residents and employees for our state’s manufacturers aligns directly with South Central College’s activities in the advanced manufacturing arena. We look forward to collaborating with the other members of 360-degrees on this work so important to Minnesota’s economy,” says Barb Embacher, dean of workforce education and training for South Central College.

With the addition of Ridgewater College and South Central College, 360° expands their presence in the western and southern parts of the state. The consortium, led by Bemidji State University, has a total of 15 members from central, metro, northeast, northwest and southeast areas of Minnesota.

About 360°
360° Manufacturing and Applied Engineering ATE Regional Center of Excellence is a consortium of 15 institutions led by Bemidji State University and includes 14 technical and community colleges. 360° is designing a 21st century education system that prepares individuals to have rewarding careers in manufacturing and meets the needs of the region’s manufacturing employers through an enhanced pipeline, industry-driven curriculum and authentic assessment. 360° is a member of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system and received a National Science Foundation grant in 2012 to become an Advanced Technological Education Regional Center.

Jessica Gehrke, 360° communications specialist, (218) 755-2209

• 360°
Ridgewater College
South Central College