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Area manufacturers to benefit from $100,000 Connexus donation to Anoka Technical College

Anoka Technical College Foundation and the college’s Machine Trades program are thrilled at a recent $100,000 donation by Connexus Energy toward a multi-axis Swiss machine. The Connexus donation plays a lead role in encouraging other industry partners to invest in their future workers by participating in getting this equipment purchased.

Don Haller, Connexus Energy’s Vice President of Member Services said the idea to fund the Swiss machine came about after talking with local manufacturers. “Connexus saw this as a way to help the manufacturers find local, talented, skilled workers to help their businesses grow and expand. It’s also an opportunity to increase economic development in the north metro.”

Swiss CNC multi-axis machines are valued within the machining industry. They are ideally suited to the flexible machining necessary for longer components and for their ability to efficiently provide precise machining of complex features on small components.

“In considering the needs of the region’s manufacturers, one of the priority areas at Anoka Technical College has been to add multi-axis Swiss machine training to the Machine Trades program,” said Pete Gravett, Development Director at the Anoka Tech Foundation. “A $100,000 commitment from Connexus Energy serves as our first commitment from an area manufacturer and puts the Anoka Technical College Foundation within $40,000 of getting that piece of equipment on the floor in time for fall programming.”

“From the student perspective, a Swiss machine involves the culmination of our two major disciplines of milling and turning,” said Matt Rogers, Machine Trades faculty at Anoka Tech. “When combined, these two functions demand a higher level of comprehension and a heightened skill set. From a program standpoint, this piece of equipment will enable us to expand our curriculum in the related course discipline of process control while incorporating finishing techniques used on a daily basis at our neighboring manufacturing partners.”

“High precision repeatable work pieces involving high levels of complexity are required by many of our neighboring industry partners,” Rogers added. “We need this piece of equipment if we are to effectively prepare our students for these workplaces.”

Anoka Technical College offers several programs in Machine Trades including: an associate in applied science degree and a certificate in CNC Manufacturing Technology; a diploma in CNC Machining; a diploma in Machining; and an advanced certificate in Multi-Axis Machining.

For more information on the comprehensive Machine Trades programming at Anoka Technical College, visit

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