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Four U.P. universities expanding training offerings, aiming to fill 300 manufacturing jobs

UPPER PENINSULA, Mich. (October 12, 2022)  InvestUP, the Upper Peninsula’s regional economic development organization, together with support from Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) and other vital partners across the U.P., has convened an initiative aimed at supporting the demand for advanced manufacturing talent. The training and job placement program, called UP Pathways to Employment in Manufacturing, began this fall. It is open to the general public who meet the following criteria: high school graduates, early career workers, displaced workers, and others seeking new career opportunities. A webinar on Oct. 25 will provide additional details, followed by opportunities to virtually meet one-on-one with representatives of the higher education partners.

Fifty-one percent of the program’s trainees must be from low- and moderate-income (LMI) households. This supports the initiative’s goal to reduce barriers for people who meet LMI income thresholds, such as costs associated with further education. The initiative is backed by a Regional Talent Innovation grant and part of a Community Development Block Grant — CARES Acts funding allocated to MEDC.

DATE:  Wednesday, November 9th at 3:00pm EST

WHO: InvestUP, Gogebic CC, MTU, NMU, Bay CC and UP Michigan Works! (InvestUP hosting)

WHAT: RTIG overview and eligibility detail on trainings offered through the MEDC grant

WHERE:  All virtual with a general overview followed by an opportunity to meet with the higher education partners one-on-one at their respective booths.

Any questions can be directed to Amy Berglund, Director of Business Initiatives, InvestUP

The colleges are designing their trainings to last from two days to eight weeks in areas related to mechatronics, such as medical device and advanced electronics manufacturing, software and systems support, and more. The goal is to help fill just over 300 manufacturing positions needed across the U.P.  Access to training will conclude in late summer of 2023. Trainees will receive a certificate of completion and will be provided with job placement and advancement assistance.

“Mechatronics is a fast-growing, high-demand field,” explains InvestUP Director of Business Initiatives Amy Berglund. “Skilled workers have great potential for advancement and higher-wage employment. Whether you’re just starting out or you’re looking for opportunities to advance in your career, we encourage you to invest some time in your future by enrolling in one of these innovative programs.”

InvestUP will help expand existing training opportunities at four UP higher education institutions: Bay College, Gogebic Community College, Michigan Technological University, and Northern Michigan University. Each institution will deliver its own unique training program designed to address local employers’ demand and needs.

For example, NMU will offer four manufacturing and cyber training opportunities for eligible applicants. They include a two-week manufacturing production boot camp (hybrid of online and hands-on);

a two-week hands-on welding training; a four-week online medical device advanced manufacturing training; and an online, ten-week Cisco Certification Technician training to build skills needed for working with Ciscodata center system devices and operating software. More information about these and the other programs will be posted on individual university websites as well as InvestUP’s website in the coming weeks.

A Mobile Lab operated by Michigan Tech is a key asset. The lab is a self-powered, expandable, 53-foot semi-trailer with spacious room that can be used as a classroom or configured for hands-on experiential learning. The Mobile Lab will support the project by providing both outreach and training offered by Michigan Tech. The programming will be delivered at strategic locations across the U.P. to maximize its impact on targeted participants.

“There is enormous opportunity for skilled workers trained in advanced manufacturing,” notes Adam Paltzer, Vice President of Operations at Able Medical Devices. “The high-tech medical device sector is booming. Our industry needs trained people right now to help us keep pace with a steady stream of new innovations and advancements.”

Berglund adds that this program is a win-win for both workers and manufacturers. “Reskilling people with mechatronics training opens up higher-wage opportunities for workers, while helping companies fill a critical need. This collaborative effort has yielded some innovative, sustainable, and efficient programs with the potential to build a mechatronics workforce that we need now and in the future.”

For more information about individual training programs, please contact:

  • Bay College — Renée Lundberg at (906) 217-4224
  • Gogebic Community College — Glen Ackerman-Behr at (906) 307-1234
  • Michigan Technological University Mobile Lab —  Vinicius Bonfochi Vinhaes (906) 370-3878
  • Northern Michigan University — Stephanie Zadroga-Langlois at (906) 227-1683


About InvestUP
InvestUP is a private sector-led economic development organization keenly focused on driving economic growth across Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Founded by the region’s leading private sector businesses and the region’s leading universities, its mission is to deliver business and job growth across the peninsula.

About Bay College
Bay College is a public two-year college founded in 1962. The college has a main campus in Escanaba and another 25-acre campus, Bay College West, in Iron Mountain, serving Dickinson County.

Bay College is devoted to student success in the classroom, on-campus, online, in the community and into the workforce.

About Gogebic Community College
Founded as Ironwood Junior College in 1932, Gogebic Community College has a main campus in Ironwood and a site in Houghton. Gogebic Community College, accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, is a learning community that contributes to academic, cultural, economic, and social success for its students and its region. 

About Michigan Technological University
Founded in 1885 in Houghton, Michigan Technological University is a flagship research university that is home to more than 7,000 students from 55 countries around the world. Consistently ranked among the best universities in the country for return on investment, the University offers more than 125 undergraduate and graduate degree programs.

About Northern Michigan University
Northern Michigan University is a public university in Marquette, established in 1899. NMU offers its 7,600 students a choice of 170+ degree programs, including 25 graduate programs. The University challenges its students, faculty, staff, and alumni to strive for excellence, both inside and outside the classroom, and to become outstanding citizens and leaders.

Workforce Development partner:
UP Michigan Works

Education Partners:
MiSTEM – Region 15 and Eastern Upper Peninsula
Upper Peninsula Career and Educational Advisory Council (CEAC)              

Economic Development Partners:
Dickinson Area Economic Development Alliance
Keweenaw Economic Development Alliance
Luce County Economic Development Corporation
Lake Superior Community Partnership
Sault Ste. Marie Economic Development Corporation

Private Industry Partners:
Burton Industries
Calumet Electronics
Cloverland Electric
Engineered Machined Products
ABLE Medical
Northern Hardwoods
REL, Inc.
Superior Fabrication
Systems Control
TN Michigan
Westfall Technik

As a part of our commitment to the Upper Peninsula, we collaborate with partners to share some of the most compelling stories about business and job growth across the region. Our goal through these stories is to get at the heart of what makes the U.P. unique — and to ensure these stories travel beyond our peninsula and broadly illustrate why the UP is the place to live and work.

If you have an idea for an article, please contact a staff or board member at InvestUP.

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