Customized Training delivers at Uponor
The Continuing Education & Customized Training division at Dakota County Technical College never stands still. For the division’s CT directors, “cutting-edge” isn’t a stale buzzword, it’s a state of mind they carry forward as they work to develop and deliver the best and brightest management, workforce and technical training in the business.
“We are constantly searching for the latest and greatest technical and leadership knowledge that’s out there,” said Pat McQuillan, who serves as the director of trade and industry in the CT division. “Working through the grant process, we are very good at delivering that knowledge to companies and businesses through progressive training programs.”
One textbook example is DCTC’s partnership with Uponor, the pioneering world leader in the production of cross-linked polyurethane tubing, commonly known as PEX tubing, for heating, plumbing, fire safety and commercial systems. With its North American headquarters in Apple Valley, Minn., Uponor has built 30 years of experience in the field with more than 12 billion feet of its PEX tubing installed worldwide.
Thanks to a nearly $300,000 Minnesota Job Skills Partnership grant, DCTC Customized Training is delivering leadership and fire safety training to Uponor employees onsite at the company and at the college’s Apple Valley site. Contributing almost $520,000 to the two-year project, Uponor will apply the training to better compete globally, respond to the needs of a diverse workforce and prepare for the expansion of a new fire suppression product line.
Eric Fiedler, Uponor North America’s manager of learning and organization development, reported that DCTC is working with the company’s workforce in three areas:
- Fire safety training
- Lean production training with a focus on green technologies
- Advanced maintenance mechanics training
“By partnering with DCTC, Uponor looks to expand operations and use the training project as a springboard to place the company in a strong position when the current downturn comes to an end,” Fiedler said. “DCTC’s approach to customized training will give our workforce the skills needed to move forward now when other companies might be waiting for the economy to improve.”
Kristen Owens, an operations training supervisor at Uponor North America, said thatUponor maintenance mechanics, who are already highly trained, have benefited from a number of classes taught through the project.
“Feedback from maintenance has been all positive,” Owens said. “They described the learning as relevant and thought that the instructor was superb. A couple employees sought me out personally to thank me for assisting in getting the grant that brought the training onsite to Uponor.”
“We are always looking for training that’s five and even 10 years out in front of what business and industry are doing today.”
For Pat McQuillan such words are music to his ears. But McQuillan is quick to point out that developing and delivering training for tomorrow today is only part of his job. During the last eight years, he and Larry Raddatz, the CT director of manufacturing and railroad, have been instrumental in launching nine new academic programs at DCTC.
The following programs (and more) actually started out in Customized Training before becoming full-time, for-credit programs at the college:
- Biomedical Equipment Technology
- Concrete and Masonry
- Electrical Construction and Maintenance Technology
- Nanoscience Technology
- Nuclear Technician (starting fall semester 2010)
- Railroad Conductor Technology
“We are always looking for training that’s five and even 10 years out in front of what business and industry are doing today,” McQuillan said. “Because we have earned a reputation for breakthrough thinking, companies now come to DCTC when they need top-notch, college-level programs to train their employees to not only compete but thrive in an increasingly global economy.”
Visit Continuing Education and Customized Training, to learn more about the wide array of leading-edge CT programs available at DCTC.