College receives grant for biodiesel training

By Erin Voegele
Posted Aug. 24, 2010

The Minnesota Governor's Workforce Development Council has awarded $100,000 in grant funding to the Anoka-Ramsey Community College in east-central Minnesota. The funding will allow up to 44 displaced workers to receive biofuels training.

Participants in the one-year training program will be selected from a target population that includes military veterans, displaced workers and incumbent employees. According to Stephen Jones, the college's director of continuing education and customized training, participants in the program will be recruited through the Anoka County Workforce Center and the Central Minnesota Training Partnership Program.

The grant funding will cover 100 percent of the tuition for participating students. "We are primarily looking at the recruitment of dislocated workers who maybe have some mechanical background – certainly an interest in [biofuels] – as well as some incumbent workers at different biofuel plants here in Minnesota," Jones said.

To develop the biofuels training program, the college is partnering with two local businesses; SarTec Corp. and Ever Cat Fuels LLC. SarTec is an Anoka-based agricultural products company that has developed a biodiesel production process. Ever Cat Fuels is a biodiesel producer that is implementing SarTec's patented technology at its demonstration plant in Isanti County. "They will be…advising us in curriculum [development] and classes to offer to make sure we are offering the right subject matter and the right level of content," Jones said. "They will also provide a virtual tour of the Ever Cat Fuels facility and provide guest speakers who will visit with the participants about trends, interests, and things like that in the biofuels industry."

Students participating in the program will receive training in biofuels fundamentals, technical report writing, spreadsheet use, and OSHA safety standards. The course includes existing online course work, experiential lessons within production facilities and virtual tours of existing plants. Students will also perform instructor-led classroom activities and participate in production control computer simulations.

While the biofuels training program is not currently part of the college's for-credit programs, Jones said the long-term goal of the college is to add the biofuels program to a two-year associates of science program. Those who participate the one-year grant-funded program will receive a certificate from the college.
 
 
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