Hennepin Tech Graduates First LRT Technicians
A group of Hennepin Technical College students will help shape the region’s mass transit system. A handful of students received associate degrees to become light trail technicians.
“I never expected I would ever go back to school again, so this is a surprise for me,” said graduate Calvin Hill.
Hill along with five others completed the program which required working full-time at Metro Transit and being a full-time student.
“We learned fluid power, hydraulics, we learned about electrical circuits,” explained Hill.
“It started about 3 years ago, and all our participants are from underrepresented communities,” said Hennepin Technical College President, Merrill Irving Jr. “Having support for diverse backgrounds and people that need us to support the workforce is critical to us.”
Hennepin Technical College, Metro Transit and Twin Cities R!se partnered to train the graduates.
Irving says the program comes just in time for the Southwest Light Rail expansion because electrical technicians are in demand.
Gary Courtney with Metro Transit says special testing needs to be done before the Southwest Line can operate in 2023. But that’s not the only reason for the workforce challenge.
“Right now, over half our workforce is over age 50. We have 10 percent attrition rate annually, due to retirement and separation,” explained Courtney.
Graduates hope to fill those positions but they first have to past a test and interview.
“I feel just fine about it,” said Hill, “I feel all prepared and I know what to do.”
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