ST. CLOUD -- Training in advanced manufacturing is on the horizon at St. Cloud Technical and Community College.

After receiving a $2.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration, plans are underway for the Advanced Manufacturing Training Lab. The college is contributing an additional $2.8 million to complete the expected $5.3 million state-of-the-art lab.

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Dean of Trades and Industry Aaron Barker says the new lab will be a bonus for existing programs, but will really shine in customized training.

The plan is to open the area up and have a partnership with a lot of industry; a collaborative space that will always continue to grow. We're working on getting people that are involved, companies that are involved, so that we can continue to grow this Advanced Manufacturing Center to always meet the future needs of the community.

Barker says the new lab will feature the latest technology in manufacturing to help train current workers and develop the next generation of manufacturing employees.

We're getting metal 3-D printers. The SCADA system, which is a supervisory control and data acquisition. So the SCADA systems allow all these machines to connect together and gather the data, so that supervisors can make the correct decisions on should these machines be replaced? Are they about to break down? Are they making us money?

The lab will be used for C-N-C and Advanced Machining, Computer-Aided Design Manufacturing, energy and electronics, and more.

The new lab is scheduled to open in the fall of 2023.

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