WINONA — A $325,000 grant from the Minnesota Jobs Skills Partnership will help Minnesota State College Southeast collaborate with six Winona-based companies to develop a new advanced mechatronics certificate over the next three years.

MSC-SE will partner with Acuity Brands Lighting, Bay State Milling, Behrens Manufacturing, Miller Ingenuity, RiverSide Electronics and Thern Inc. The businesses will help design and development the curriculum and enroll their employees in the training. The new 22-credit advanced mechatronics certificate will provide employees advanced mechatronics training that is currently unavailable in the region.

Larry Lundblad, MSC Southeast Interim President, said the new partnership will help provide needed skills to workers while giving the college a much-needed advanced technology certificate program that will continue to serve the region after the grant is complete.

The study of mechatronics spans electronics, mechanics, hydraulics and motors. Mechatronics technicians work with industrial electricians, engineers and technical support staff to ensure that production processes and equipment can be expanded and sustained in a wide range of industries.

"Manufacturing technology continues to change and evolve,” said Chad Dull, MSC Southeast Vice President of Academics. “As the relevance and rigor of the courses are shared with area companies, the sustained utilization of this program for employee training is assured.”

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Housing authority plan can help individuals dealing with COVID-19 debt

OWATONNA — With COVID-19 causing economic turmoil, SEMMCHRA, the regional housing authority, is offering a program to help people create plans to catch up on bills and missed payments.

SEMMCHRA Financial Wellness is a program designed to assist people with budgeting, developing a savings plan, managing their debt and improving their credit. The program is designed for people trying to get on a better financial footing as well as those looking to buy a home. For either group, Financial Wellness is a program that can help.

SEMMCHRA serves residents of Goodhue, Wabasha, Winona, Houston, Fillmore and Dodge counties in southeast Minnesota.

For more information on this program visit www.semmchra.org/home-ownership/financial-wellness or contact Tressa at (651) 565-2638 ext. 204 or email tsauke@semmchra.org.

Rochester family named Olmsted County Farm Family of the Year

The Borst family of Rochester has been named Olmsted County’s 2020 Farm Family of the Year by the University of Minnesota.

The Borst farm was started by the first and second generations of the family to farm at the current location in Olmsted County in 1946. At that time, the family was milking 20 cows by hand. Over the years, the farm has grown and changed to what it is today, a modern farm where around 230 Holsteins are milked while the farm raises its own youngstock. Additionally, the family grows corn, soybeans, alfalfa, sweet corn and peas.

Currently, Borst Famtily Dairy is owned in partnership between the third and fourth generations of the family: Brothers Matt and Larry Borst and two of Matt’s sons, Kevin and Kyle.

Matt and his wife, Julie, have five children: Kevin, Jeff, Kyle, Jake and Luke. Larry and his wife, LuAnn, have two children, Aaron and Adam. Matt, Larry, Kevin and Kyle work full time on the farm. Aaron helps on the farm when he’s able and Luke helps with milking and other chores. Julie works for the local school district and is the bookkeeper for the farm operation. Kevin’s wife, Lindsey, is employed by All American Co-op and is the herd veterinarian. LuAnn and Kyle’s wife, Heather, are both employed by Mayo Clinic Health Systems.

The Borst families are involved with 4-H and FFA and serve on the Olmsted County DHIA board. Family members are involved in various dairy-related clubs and local dairy promotion activities.

Normally honored at the annual Minnesota Farmfest, due to COVID-19 this year’s honorees will be celebrated in an online video tribute. The recognition, lead by University of Minnesota President Joan Gabel, will be available at 1 p.m. Aug. 6 at mnfarmfamilies.cfans.umn.edu.