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CLC, M State are partners for new degree program

Photos provided Dr. Larry Lundblad, president of Central Lakes College, and Dr. Ann Valentine, president of Minnesota State Community and Technical College, announced a partnership between campuses in Wadena and Staples.

Central Lakes College President Dr. Larry Lundblad and Dr. Ann Valentine, president of Minnesota State Community and Technical College have signed an agreement to establish a new M State degree program at the Staples campus of CLC.

Starting this fall, M State's two-year industrial mechanical maintenance program will be housed in space formerly occupied by part of the Central Lakes diesel technology program at Staples.

It will be a program directed by M State of Wadena. Students will enjoy full use of Central Lakes College facilities and many support services, and a joint advisory board will oversee this new collaboration.

Other top administrators at the ceremony were Dr. Suresh Tiwari, Central Lakes College vice president of academic and student affairs, and Barry Lane, M State vice president of learning services at Wadena.

It is estimated that about 20 students will be accepted as the first cohort in this program, which will provide ample facilities and equipment for hands-on training to enrolled students. Pending grant funding, a single instructor from M State will teach the curriculum in the fall.

Typical wages for first-year employment of the graduates from this program are as high as $23 per hour.

Officials agreed that this is just the first step toward a variety of other collaborations to benefit residents in the region -- such as online courses and seamless transfer of general education credits toward the AA degree.

It is anticipated that additional general education credit opportunities for M State students could be provided at Staples as joint offerings to serve both colleges.

There is established transportation service between Wadena and Staples, a factor considered as the new partnership developed.