South of the River Education Center grand opening video The new Dakota County Burnsville WorkForce Center at 2800 County Road 42 West is sharing space with Inver Hills Community…
The new Dakota County Burnsville WorkForce Center at 2800 County Road 42 West is sharing space with Inver Hills Community College and Metropolitan State University as part of a new partnership with higher education in Burnsville, Minn.
South of the River Education Center/Dakota County Burnsville WorkForce Center
2800 County Road 42 West
Burnsville, MN 55337
Tuesday, Oct. 22, was the day dozens of students, faculty and staff at Inver Hills Community College attended the grand opening of the college’s newly renovated library. Cake and refreshments were served, and the buzz of conversation happily exceeded traditional library guidelines regarding noise production.
“We now have a modern, clean and open space that our students really seem to like,” said Brenda B., one of the college’s three librarians. Brenda added that the renovation included eight new group study rooms that students can reserve in advance as well as a new spacious silent study space, the latter a top item on an informal list of student requests. Outdated carrels and tables were replaced, larger tables that can accommodate student projects were installed, and the library’s capacity to utilize state-of-the-art technology received a significant upgrade. New furniture, better lighting and other appointments give the library the look and feel one student compared to an “Apple Store.”
“Our classroom space was remodeled and includes fifteen additional computer stations for a total of thirty-eight,” Brenda reported. “When library classes are not in session, the classroom functions as an open computer lab. Both the classroom and our group study rooms are equipped with whiteboards and whiteboard paint. On our first day open, a group of chemistry students filled up two walls in one of the study rooms with a chemistry problem. That showed us they are happy with the space.”
Brenda noted that the original design process was augmented by a library staff Pinterest project created by Chad Gilman, a former library technician at Inver Hills. The project employed spitballing, a brainstorming concept favored by entertainment professionals. Story ideas are flung at random into the mix just to see which idea, or spitball, will stick. To learn more, visit Library Design Spitballing on Pinterest.
Librarian Ann Schroder is excited by the way students are not only drawn to the new library, but also seem to have a stronger appreciation for the tranquil atmosphere promoted by the library’s updated design. “Students are just naturally quieter,” she said. “They like the idea of having a place they can go to study without distractions.”
Ann added that the dust and gloom of the old library are long gone. “We’ve made it to the 21st century,” she said. “One student made a point of telling me that he liked the new technology and high design.”
That same student also showed that he was pleased with an age-old boon of libraries everywhere. He was busy checking out actual hard-copy books.
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Unmanned aerial vehicles, perhaps better known as drones or UAVs, have applications beyond surveillance, military operations and meteorology. Charles Eide, media entrepreneur, film director, event producer and unmanned aerial systems expert, is coming to the Inver Grove Heights campus of Inver Hills Community College to give an hour-long presentation on drones, specifically how to capture incredible aerial footage and photos using cameras mounted on radio control helicopters and multi-rotor systems. The presentation is FREE of charge.
Unmanned Aerial Systems Special Presentation
Presenter: Charles Eide
Time: 12 noon • Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2013
Location: Fine Arts Theatre • Fine Arts Building • Inver Hills Community College
Maps & Directions
FREE registration: CE/CT • 651-450-3578
“UAVs are remarkably easy to fly thanks to modern Arduino microcontrollers,” reported Phil Zuidema, a customized training representative at IHCC, who added that DIY drone operators benefit from a number Arduino-based options, including:
“I’m calling Charles Eide’s presentation ‘Bare Bones on Drones,” Zuidema said. “Charles is one of the nation’s top authorities on the commercial use of unmanned aerial systems.”
The presentation offers a glimpse of drone technology that is readily accessible to the general public. For individuals seeking professional certification, Eide founded FLYSAFE, a three-day workshop that provides radio control aerial photography training. Workshop topics include:
Customized Training Representative
Center for Professional and Workforce Development
Originally from Tirana, a city of 419,000 that is both the capital and cultural center of Albania, Julia Miller arrived in the United States in 2006 with a wealth of international experience. Miller, 33, traveled throughout Europe and is fluent in four languages beyond her native Albanian—Italian, Greek, Spanish and English. In fact, she lived and worked in England for two years, long enough to pick up a thick British accent (which she has since updated with a more American accent).
Miller studied at the University of New York in Tirana before coming to the U.S., where she earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Minnesota and then her Master of Arts in Organizational Management from Concordia University. She started working as a career navigator for Goodwill/Easter Seals Minnesota in 2012.
“Goodwill/Easter Seals Minnesota created the Career Navigation program in partnership with Inver Hills Community College to help our participants achieve their college goals and then find employment that sustains their families,” Miller said. “The new program is a free, individualized and flexible service that is designed to meet the specific needs of our participants.”
“The career navigator is a cheerleader, coach and mentor. You need to stay on top of employment trends and have a really good understanding of the academic world. You also need to be a great listener.” — Julia Miller, M.A.
Miller reported that her role as a career navigator has three main components. She assists participants with college navigation, which encompasses basically anything related to the higher education experience at Inver Hills, including programs, enrollment, financial aid, campus visits, student organizations and student services as well as introductions to faculty and staff.
She also makes sure participants take advantage of the plentiful resources offered through Goodwill/Easter Seals. “As a career navigator, I work to get our participants connected with the resources that will eliminate barriers and allow them to focus on school and searching for a job,” Miller said. “Our aim is to achieve a balance between academics, career advancement and family obligations. Obstacles are typically linked to transportation, child care and housing.”
One participant’s story…
Vincent R. is in his third semester at IHCC. His barriers include:
- Low income
- Criminal background
- Single father
- Recovering chemical dependency
- Short-term history of employment
When Vincent enrolled in the Career Navigation program, he knew he wanted to make a difference in his life, but he couldn’t picture himself as a college student. “When Julia explained career navigation services to me,” Vincent said, “I thought to myself, I am not college material, but I’ll give it a shot and go on a college tour.”
After his visit to Inver Hills and the warm welcome he received from the college’s admissions advisors, Vincent became more comfortable with the idea of attending college and starting life as a college student. Shortly after those initial meetings, Vincent began talking about starting and running his own business. With the support of Julia Miller, his career navigator, and college staff and faculty, his dream emerged as his real-life goal.
Today, Vincent is working on his goal and is almost halfway to earning an A.A.S. degree in Contemporary Business Practice from IHCC. In a recent meeting, Vincent stated: “For the first time in my life, I feel that I have people who’ve got my back and I am treated with respect and dignity. This time around, I feel that I have to work hard so that I don’t fail the people who have put so much energy and resources into helping me.”
The third component, career development, involves helping participants forge strong resumes and job search techniques in concert with enhancing their professional image. Mock and informational interviews are integral to the process. “I also serve as a reference for prospective employers,” Miller said. “Participants realize early on that they need to establish a rapport with me. Strengthening our relationship helps give them the life and people skills they need to succeed in their future careers.”
Miller is working with 30 Inver Hills students even as she actively recruits more students for the program through visits to WorkForce Centers, libraries and various nonprofit agencies. Paula Brugge, director of outreach and recruitment at the college, welcomes the partnership with Goodwill/Easter Seals Minnesota and is delighted by the work Miller is doing. “Julia is a wonderful career navigator,” Brugge said. “She has the experience and knowledge to really make a difference in the lives of the students she assists.”
As Miller continues to build on her work as a career navigator, she is looking forward to her first wave of graduates. “Many of our participants believed they weren’t smart enough to attend college,” she said. “I encourage them to get their insecurities out in the open. We deal with barriers one at a time and celebrate every single accomplishment. And when a participant starts making progress, the gratitude they express is amazing. I know I am doing my job when they say, ‘I could never have done this without you.’”
Goodwill/Easter Seals Minnesota works to build strong families and communities. The mission of Goodwill/Easter Seals is to assist people with barriers to education, employment and independence in achieving their goals. Goodwill/Easter Seals prepares people for work. Eighty-five percent of every dollar donated to support the Goodwill/Easter Seals mission goes directly toward helping people in Minnesota train for and find employment. For more information, visit: Goodwill/Easter Seals Minnesota.
Julia Miller, M.A.
Goodwill/Easter Seals Minnesota
According to Davis Langdon, a construction consultancy company based in the United Kingdom, world construction spending reached $4.3 trillion in 2011. Looking ahead to 2015, McGraw Hill Construction forecasts a 73 percent jump over 2011 levels for nonresidential construction starts in the commercial, industrial and institutional building sectors. A new report by Global Construction Perspectives and Oxford Economics predicts construction output by volume will increase to $15 trillion worldwide by 2025. Due to issues related to the Great Recession, retiring baby boomers and constricted educational pipelines, construction industry leaders are concerned about potential workforce and talent shortages—particularly in green sustainable building, which is expected to reach 48 percent of the overall construction market by 2015.
FMI, a management consultant for the engineering and construction industries, views construction careers as a smart solution for the “Lost Generation” of 18- to-34-year-olds who face serious employment challenges in uncertain national and world economies. Scott Holm, M.Ed., C.B.O., a construction management instructor at Inver Hills Community College, was thinking of ways to provide his students with a window into the global construction industry, including varied and rewarding career opportunities, when he invited three top executives from Mortenson Construction to the IHCC campus.
“I wanted my students to get a flavor for construction management at the international level,” Holm said. “Mortenson ranks as one of the top builders in the U.S. with offices in major cities along with global operations in Canada and China. Mortenson understands how to do business overseas—and I wanted my students to gain a fundamental understanding of the differences between construction projects in the U.S. versus projects in other countries.”
Founded in 1954, Mortenson Construction was ranked number 19 on the ENR list of Top 400 Contractors in the nation in 2012. Headquartered in Minneapolis, Mortenson is a family-owned company with 2,200 employers, 2011 sales of $2.47 billion, and U.S. offices in Chicago, Denver, Milwaukee, Phoenix and Seattle. According to a Star Tribune article that named Mortenson Construction number 11 on a 2012 list of top workplaces in Minnesota, the company has completed a what’s what of home-front projects, including:
“The three Mortenson executives we invited have very busy schedules and they also work in different countries,” Holm said. “Setting up their visit to the Inver Hills campus took a year.” Shuke Miao, Mortenson China general manager (based in Shanghai) and a corporate vice president, Brent Bergland, director of project development for Mortenson Canada (based in Toronto), and Blair McNeil, a Mortenson construction executive in Minnesota, arrived Monday, Oct. 21, 2013, and proceeded to impress the students in Holm’s Construction Management program with their real-world experience and insights into how major construction projects are managed overseas.
“The benefits for our students were immense,” Holm said. “I watched the students perk up and get engaged. They wanted to know about salaries and what it’s like working for one of the big players in the industry. They realized that an A.S. degree in construction management could be a stepping stone to much bigger things—and that has inspired them to really knuckle down on their coursework.”
About the instructor
Born and raised in Cokato, Minn., Scott Holm resides in Biwabik, a town of around 1,000 people in Saint Louis County. Holm has more than 30 years of experience in the construction industry, including 24 years as a building inspector. He currently serves as the university inspector in the University of Minnesota Building Code Division. Building on practical experience working as a carpenter and concrete worker, he earned an M.Ed. in business and industry education and a B.A.S. in Construction Management from the U of M as well as an A.A.S. in building inspection technology from North Hennepin Community College and a two-year certificate in carpentry from St. Cloud Technical & Community College. He teaches construction management courses at IHCC and the U of M.
Holm is a member of the Board of International Professional Standards of the International Code Council. He also serves on ICC committees and has a strong interest in building codes and practices around the world.
Scott Holm, M.Ed, C.B.O.
Construction Management Instructor