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Marvin Windows and Doors and M State

Together Ten Years

Driven by the needs of the region and its workforce, Marvin Windows and Doors began a process more than 10 years ago to bring higher education opportunities to Warroad, Minnesota. Marvin directors formed partnerships with the Custom Training Division of Minnesota State Community and Technical College and four-year colleges to create educational pathways for its full time employees. All M State programs at Marvin articulate to four-year degrees so that employees can seamlessly complete a bachelor's degree.

This Marvin Windows and Doors Corporate University is affectionately known as Northern Lights University and the company's vision has been led by Peggy Ann Anderholm, Manager, Education and Workforce Development. Since its inception, the company has graduated more than 50 employees in M State's Manufacturing Engineering Technician and Supervisory Leadership Associate of Science degree programs, and another 25 with Bachelor's degrees. In 2005, a new Associate Degree in Industrial Mechanical Maintenance began and a cohort of Marvin employees will graduate in 2008. The partnership was recognized with a Citation of Excellence Award in 2004 by The American Association of Training and Development.

All classes are taught by M State instructors on site for Marvin employees, but the company offers the program to area residents as well, creating a live college environment otherwise impossible in remote northwestern Minnesota. Full time working adults attend classes part time, often completing an associate degree in four to five years.

All three programs are fully accredited and maintain the rigor of campus courses.

By completing company-related projects assigned by their instructors, students apply theory and knowledge to practice. These customized assignments maximize the active learning experience.

The M State/Marvin Windows and Doors partnership extends far beyond the corporate college. It has taken advantage of two Minnesota Job Skills Partnership grants to provide incumbent worker training and to address critical workforce strategies. Currently, the knowledge transfer project is addressing upcoming retirement projections by documenting skills, training, and career paths for all levels of wood product technicians in the company. With the skilled labor shortage across the region and state, this strategy is key to ensuring a quality workforce for the company in years to come.

In 2007, a short certificate program, Product Design Technician, is being developed to assist CAD draftsmen develop more auxiliary technical skills and the knowledge needed to manage projects to maximize customer service. By working closely, the company and the college have assessed the departmental and unique job performance needs to determine exact training and educational outcomes for the certificate.

Last modified: January 22nd, 2009 at 11:52am