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Northland College Adds Mechatronics Degree at Marvin Windows Campus

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February 11, 2022 | Bill Esler

Warroad, MN—Marvin Windows and Northland Community & Technical College launched a unique education program to provide advanced workforce skills in mechatronics. The program began in January at the Marvin campus in Warroad, MN.

The program provides a modernized, human-centered curriculum that lets students structure their learning schedule around their individual needs, permitting them to advance at their own pace through online learning and in-person skills assessments.

“Advanced manufacturing automation is the highest sought-after skill set in the country, while mechanical, electrical, automation, and manufacturing technologies are an urgent and growing need for employers throughout Minnesota,” says Peggy Anderholm, education manager at Marvin and head of the Advanced Resource Center for Innovation and Education, as the center will be known.

“This partnership allows Marvin to be a part of the solution while providing a first-of-its-kind education opportunity to our community,” says Anderholm. Marvin employs 7,000 in 16 cities, and announced plans for two more factories in Fargo, ND last month.

In August 2021 Marvin announced the partnership with Northland College to launch the accredited mechatronics program. It features innovative curriculum and delivery methods to support the growing need for advanced manufacturing automation skill sets in northwest Minnesota and nationwide.

The new mechatronics program requires adaptive thinking and collaborative performance. Marvin donated the Warroad facility to will serve as Northland College’s fourth site, committing to remodeling it into a mechatronics lab with adjoining student study center and meeting spaces, as well as a space for future programming collaboration. Northland invested in a redesign of the mechatronics curriculum, and will staff a full-time instructor in Warroad while enhancing support services for students in the surrounding areas.

The Advanced Resource Center for Innovation and Education is rooted in a competency-based education (CBE) model that caters to all learners regardless of their educational goals. The CBE model does not rely on traditional college timelines or semester blocks and allows students to enter courses any time during the year while working through the material at their own pace and on their own schedule. Additionally, students have the opportunity to complete competency demonstrations with an instructor to gain credit for prior learning.

Students are able to earn up to a two-year Associate of Applied Science degree or any number of certificates within the 60-credit program. Courses also will be available on a stand-alone basis to help students master a specific new skill or take their personal interests to the next level. Junior and senior students at Warroad High School will have the opportunity to complete the Certified Production Technologist program, comprising the first four courses of the mechatronics curriculum. The high school program can be completed for college credit or for a Manufacturing Skills Standards Council (MSSC) industry certificate and provides an opportunity for paid work experience, giving students a head start on their post-secondary education or career.

Scholarships and financial aid may be used toward tuition costs. More information on the new mechatronics opportunity can be found at northlandcollege.edu.

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