Minneapolis College launches bicycle technician program – City College News
Minneapolis College will become one of two post-secondary institutions * in the United States to offer a Bicycle Assembly and Repair Technician certificate. The program starts September 20. The first students to enroll in the program will get their certificates just in time to be hired before the start of the busy spring season for the local cycling industry. Students who complete the program will have a higher skill level, earn higher wages, and produce higher value for stores. “This program is designed to meet the needs of employers in our community,” said Vincent Thomas, dean of the School of Trade Technologies at Minneapolis College. “Most importantly, we are providing a new career path for our students. “
The College will launch the program in conjunction with the Bicycle Industry Employers Association (BIEA), a national non-profit organization created to establish college-level programs that train students for careers in the bicycle industry. Dave Olson, CEO of Minneapolis-based Erik’s Bikes, is the all-volunteer chairman of the BIEA board of directors. “What started out as a no-credit training program idea turned into a vision for a new department and an academic award when we met Dave,” Thomas said. “The BIEA brings its industry expertise and connection to a national network of employers for graduates of the certificate program. He also donates educational material to the College.
Thomas first met Olson in his office at Erik’s Bike Shop, Inc. head office. “We were introduced to each other by a former Minneapolis College employee named Earl Lingerfelt,” Thomas said. Lingerfelt no longer works at Minneapolis College. Thomas said he was a bespoke training representative at the College’s Continuing Education and Workforce Development department. “I was his supervisor,” Thomas said. “Sir. Lingerfelt came to me with an idea for a new uncredited training program: what if we could train people for entry level jobs as a bicycle mechanic? I told him I liked it. idea and asked him to do the necessary market research and planning.
Lingerfelt met Olson during his market research. Olson was already working on a project to establish a college-level program that would train students for careers as bicycle service technicians. “When Mr. Olson learned that our College was working on a similar project, he said he wanted to meet with us to discuss a possible partnership,” Thomas said.
The fall semester cohort will participate in two 12-week semesters to earn their certificates. Then, a new cohort of 24 students will begin the program each fall semester. Courses in the certificate program will include lectures and labs. “Students will learn how to assemble and repair all types, brands and ages of bikes, including electric bikes, which have become very popular with cyclists,” Thomas said. “As with the College’s other vocational and technical programs, the goal is to train students not only for jobs, but also for careers in a skilled trade.
The College hired Casey Coughlin last month to become the program’s first instructor. Previously, she worked as a service mechanic and service manager at Erik’s Bikes before being promoted to a position of manager of market training and field support in several stores.
“Our students will benefit from the combination of Casey’s experience in the bicycle industry and her role as a teaching assistant at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire,” said Thomas.
(* NorthWest Arkansas Community College in Bentonville, Ark. Offers a Technical Certificate for Bicycle Assembly and Repair Technician.)
Minneapolis College is a member of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System and offers students over 100 liberal arts, career, and technical programs designed to prepare them for good jobs in high-demand occupations or for go to a four?college or university year. Located in the heart of downtown Minneapolis, more than 10,000 students enroll in both credit and non-credit programs each year. The College Foundation offers scholarships and emergency aid prizes to highly motivated, low-income students. Without this support, most of these students would be unable to pursue their academic dreams. For more information, please visit Minneapolis.edu.