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MN Energy Presents at Bio Conference

Worthington Campus
Minnesota West Community & Technical College and the MN Energy Center presented at the 2014 Bio Conference with Presenters: Jeff Williamson, Minnesota West Provost, Bruce Peterson, Director MN Energy Center, Rose Patzer, Minnesota West Faculty, Aaron Barker, St. Cloud Technical & Community College Faculty, Gary Olson, Minnesota West Faculty and Melanie Waite-Altringer from Anoka Ramsey Community College.

Bruce Petersen, Director MN Energy Center, shared information about the Minnesota Energy Center (MEC) and the Minnesota Energy Consortium (MnEC).  The MN Energy Consortium has been in existence for over 9 years, and it was started by a group of energy companies and Minnesota State Colleges & Universities (MnSCU) college partners. At the time of formation, a huge concern over the projected shortages of workers in energy production needed to be addressed.

One of the outcomes from the group to address the projected shortage of workers was the development of the Energy Technical Specialist (ETS) A.A.S. program. While this program includes 35 credits of core curriculum, it allows students from the various intuitions to take courses from each of the colleges and to concentrate in specialized energy areas such as wind, solar, ethanol, biodiesel, fossil fuels, or power generation. Faculty members Rose Patzer (MnWest CTC), Gary Olsen (MnWest CTC), and Aaron Barker (SCTCC) had the opportunity to share information about their programs that support the energy concentration areas in the ETS degree. Melanie Waite-Altringer from ARCC also shared information about her alternative cropping research that continues at ARCC Cambridge campus.

Petersen also shared information about the MN Energy Center which was formed and funded by MnSCU in 2013 where Minnesota West Community & Technical College was charged to be lead intuition. This Center was formed in effort to improve connections for businesses to communicate their need for college and university graduates, as well as to assess and develop industry (career) pathways to increase student program completion and program efficiencies. He shared information about the grant opportunities that have been awarded to the MEC and to the MnEC, and highlighted the opportunities that are in the future.

Dr. Williamson comments, “The MN Energy Center and MnSCU colleges collaborating to help lead energy education and industry have allowed us to expand on connecting and communicating together.”