Riverland raises funds for program’s truck

Published 1:08 pm Saturday, January 14, 2017

Several local companies donated funds or services to the Riverland Community College industrial maintenance and mechanics/welding program, according to a press release. 

Non-cash and cash donations valued at more than $29,000 were provided by Lou Rich Inc., Chart Industries and Mat Inc., and were used as a match to obtain an additional $24,000 from the Minnesota State Leveraged Equipment fund sponsored by the Minnesota Legislature. The program used the funds to buy and brand a 2006 F350 Ford Truck.

The branded truck will help the instructors transport some of their high technology teaching tools to recruiting events, high school visits and special student competitions through the SkillsUSA and VEX Robotics clubs across southern Minnesota and northern Iowa.  The truck will also provide exclusive access for the instructors to pick up donated materials from local industry including tools, equipment, steel, welding rod and aluminum for use in the labs to help reduce operating costs and increase the quality of teaching and learning.

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The graphics on the truck were donated by Rochester Ford, and additional support for the I program was provided by sponsor partners like Ventura Foods, Hormel Foods, McNielus Steel and Zumbro River Brand.

“Technical programs such as the industrial maintenance and mechanics, welding and machining technology offered through the Albert Lea campus provide a high-skill, high-demand workforce for local business and industry,” said Rich Finley, Riverland instructor. “Local companies are experiencing a significant need to add employees with these types of skills in the immediate future which makes partnering with Riverland a logical choice.”

“The instructors at Riverland are some of the best in Minnesota and are always looking for ways to partner with local companies to ensure they are teaching the skills needed to ensure success for not only the graduate, but the employer as well,” said Steve Bowron, Riverland dean for institutional advancement.

“When you hire one of our graduates, you are getting someone who has been well trained, had access and experience with advanced technology, and the ability to hit the ground running,” said Bob Bender, one of the program’s instructors.  “Local partnerships with companies like the ones who helped with this project are the key to our continued success.”