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Star Tribune: Minnesota State College Southeast puts a new spin on ye olde engineering degree

Students can get their start by designing and building bicycles

Dan Browning, 11/10/18

Travis Thul had an intractable problem as the dean of trade and technology at Minnesota State College Southeast.

The Upper Mississippi River region is the most industrial-, manufacturing- and engineering-dense region of the country when ranked by jobs per capita, "rivaled only by the Ohio-Indiana corridor," Thul said.

"Yet we are unbelievably shorthanded in the advanced manufacturing realm, especially when you look outside the metro area."

Thul said it's the school's job to build professionals to keep the gears of industry churning. To do that, he added, the college needs to attract students to mechanical engineering and technology degree programs so that they can get jobs at major area manufacturers like Winona-based Fastenal, which makes fasteners.

But it's tough to get high school students excited about making nuts and bolts. So Thul pitched a new approach: The nation's first two-year degree program in bicycle design and fabrication.

Read the full story:

Also ran in Winona Daily News; included in Lumina Foundation's daily news summary

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