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Pinnaca's successful distance learning program has helped thousands of Veterans and dislocated workers find high-skilled manufacturing jobs in Minn. and Wis.
BLOOMINGTON, Minn. (April 2016) - Pinnaca (formerly Video Guidance), a leading strategic visual communications and collaboration service provider, is playing a lead role in training thousands of Veterans and dislocated manufacturing workers in Minnesota and Western Wisconsin. In mid 2014, a unique consortium was launched -- Advanced Manufacturing Education (AME) -- to upgrade skills of the manufacturing workforce. By the end of 2015, just over a year later, the number of individuals trained through AME has catapulted from 13 to 1,009 workers, studying 58 courses. Some workers have taken multiple courses, doubling the number of class seats to 2,040. In addition, the program's partners have expanded from three to 92 employers/businesses, workforce/labor organizations and prisons through the Department of Corrections.
The successful initiative has been made even more impactful thanks to a new, one-of-a-kind, multimedia cloud-based service that allows workers to connect to the classroom using a phone, tablet, computer or video system. Pinnaca's new Video Conferencing as a Service platform is based on Acano technology that unites previously incompatible audio, video and web technologies. Now students can connect anytime, anywhere on any device.
"Pinnaca has cracked the nut," said Dr. Tom Stober, lead instructor for the AME courses and president of True North - Compass, which provides customized training solutions focused on process and organizational improvement. "The Acano technology is less expensive and more deliverable. It provides unprecedented solutions for our distance learning because we can virtually connect everyone on any communications device. It's not limited to bandwidth and it's not point to point; it's point to many."
AME is a regional consortium of employers, workforce and government agencies, community organizations, and institutions of higher education that include Central Lakes College, Pine Technical and Community College, St. Cloud Technical and Community College, and Bemidji State University's 360 Manufacturing Center of Excellence.
Since its inception, the AME program has focused on connecting colleges to companies, Veterans and TAA-impacted workers. Today the initiative has expanded to provide distance learning training to prisoners, to unions assisting their member workforces and to many other businesses and organizations.
"Video eliminates distance and time barriers and enhances the learning experience," said Heidi Braun, program director for customized training at Pine Technical and Community College. "And now, with Pinnaca's new Acano technology, learning has no limits."
The consortium's program, the Regional Advanced Manufacturing Re-Training (RAMR), has created high-wage, high-skilled employment outcomes for workers in Minnesota and Wisconsin. The video conferencing system is funded through a $13.1 million Federal Department of Labor TAACCCT (Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training) grant awarded to the consortium.
"Video conferencing has revolutionized the way people connect and as a result, educational institutions and organizations everywhere are making visual communications a strategic priority," said Mike Nelson of Pinnaca. "Our new technology has helped to create unlimited opportunities for workers to learn the new skills necessary to find higher-wage jobs. It is so exciting to see these amazing results."
College Manufacturing Faculty, in cooperation with Adult Basic Education and College Developmental Education personnel, offers introductory, core manufacturing courses to expand the educated labor pool. Enhanced online courses emphasize advanced manufacturing areas of machining, metals, plastics and composites, automation technology and rapid prototyping.
In the AME alliance, participating higher education institutions solicit partners to provide real-time training that meets partner needs. Courses are held via on-line interactive classrooms, which allow participants to connect from work or home, saving both time and money.
In each course, participants connect with a subject matter expert and industry peers to discuss and work on real world solutions which benefit everyone.
"I initially enrolled in class to understand the content of the programs. I wanted to make sure the next group of our employees would be getting an education that would have a payback for both themselves and our company," said Brian Burley, president of Tooling Science, Inc. "So far the classes have exceeded my expectations."
Participants also receive help from an advisor including pre-class and in-class support, information for developing professional soft-skills, as well as community and professional organization referrals as needed.
Pinnaca (www.pinnaca.com) is an independent leading provider of managed videoconferencing, telepresence and visual collaboration services. Privately held and headquartered in Berkshire, UK with regional offices in Minnesota, New York, Toronto, Shanghai, Singapore and Hong Kong, Pinnaca provides customized state-of-the-art products, services and solutions from the world's finest manufacturers. Pinnaca is a global certified partner of Acano, Cisco, Polycom, Avizia, Pexip and Vyopta, and maintains strategic alliances with key vendors, including Ashton Bentley, in the company's A/V integration practice.
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