South Central College president appointed to federal committee on advanced manufacturing - Faribault MN: News

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South Central College president appointed to federal committee on advanced manufacturing

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Posted: Tuesday, October 1, 2013 4:45 pm | Updated: 7:04 am, Fri Apr 25, 2014.

Annette Parker, president of South Central College, has been named as one of 21 people across the country to join a federal committee on creating and maintaining high-quality manufacturing jobs in the United States.

The Advanced Manufacturing Partnership Steering Committee, announced last week, will involve leaders in industry, academia and labor.

“South Central is committed as an institution to support preparation of our future workforce in partnership with communities that we serve, and I’m honored to have this position and have the opportunity to work with the community to ensure that we do everything in our power to prepare the workforce for the future,” Parker said.

Parker said she received a phone call two weeks ago from the U.S. Secretary of Commerce who was familiar with her prior nationally recognized work on advanced manufacturing while involved with the Kentucky Community and Technical College system, and asked Parker to represent community colleges on the committee.

“It’s all about partnership,” Parker said. “Colleges and companies and K-12 and university all need to come together and partner together and listen to manufacturers and see what their needs are.”

As of Monday she has been rallying a team to get other Minnesota stakeholders on board, including Faribault component parts producer Mike Gramse of MRG Tool & Die, as well as Bemidji State, MnSCU and an advanced manufacturing supplier in Plymouth, Minn.

Parker also recently led a group of Faribault leaders to Kenosha, Wis., where they toured Gateway Technical College, which is operating an advanced technology center Parker hopes to recreate at SCC. Parker and Faribault Schools Superintendent Todd Sesker’s goal is to have FHS students use the center in a post-secondary capacity — the idea being to allow students to try their hand at a skill or career path before they enter college.

The national committee is co-chaired by Andrew Liveris, CEO of Dow Chemical, and Rafael Reif, president of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and includes industry leaders from University of California-Berkeley, Dow Chemicals, Honeywell, University of Michigan and Siemens Corp., among others.

“This tremendous honor is powerful evidence of Dr. Parker’s nationally recognized expertise,” said MnSCU Chancellor Steven Rosenstone. “Our collaboration with industry, and continued focus on student success in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, are helping to advance Minnesota’s manufacturing capabilities. These partnerships, and Dr. Parker’s leadership, will help keep Minnesota at the leading edge of emerging technologies and enhance our global competitiveness.”

Parker said that spurring interest in advanced manufacturing as a fulfilling career for young people will be an important part of preparing the next generation for those jobs.

“We don’t have the workforce — either it’s not being prepared or not interested because they have a misconception about what (advanced manufacturing) is,” she said.

One of the goals of the committee will be to engage the manufacturing community through regional working sessions and forums to brainstorm strategies designed to build U.S. manufacturing competitiveness, according to a press release from the White House.

“Of course American ingenuity is amazing,” she said, “and we’ve come a long way, but to make sure we have everything we need, there’s more work to be done.”

You can reach reporter Carrie Swiggum at 333-3128. Follow her on Twitter @FDNCarrie

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