BLOOMINGTON, Minn–A consortium including U.K.-based visual communications service provider Pinnaca, higher education institutions and regional employers and government agencies is using distance learning to train thousands of dislocated workers and veterans for advanced manufacturing jobs in Wisconsin and Minnesota.
Since its inception in mid-2014, 1,009 workers have studied a total of 58 courses in the Regional Advanced Manufacturing Retraining program (RAMR) for high wage and high skilled manufacturing jobs. At the core of the distance learning initiative is Pinnaca’s cloud-based service platform that allows workers to connect to the classroom through video conferencing on a mobile device and computer.
A combination of college professors and industry adjunct instructors–all credentialed through the Minnesota State Colleges and University System–provided the teaching for the advanced manufacturing courses. The video conferencing system is funded by a $13.1 million Federal Department of Labor grant. Further partnership plans are in the works for individuals in prison and workers with union membership seeking to expand skills.