December 29, 2008



Lisa Skriner, MSU Billings College of Technology, 247-3055
Dan Carter, University Relations, 657-2269 


MSU BILLINGS NEWS SERVICES — The workforce training potential at Montana State University Billings grew by nearly 40 feet this month when the College of Technology took possession of a new mobile training lab.


The college’s new Mobile Energy Training Laboratory was funded by a U.S. Department of Labor “Energy for Tomorrow” grant.  The lab is 38 feet long and rides on a diesel truck chassis.  The lab can accommodate up to 10 students at a time and will soon be seen around the region training students and workers in the latest energy-related technologies.


The mobile lab was constructed by Nomad Technologies in Kalispell, which was the successful bidder in the state and national bidding process.


The lab will be used to conduct training which will cover a wide range of topics including:

  • Microsoft Office Suite;
  • Solid works computer aided design;
  • Hydraulics instruction using Amatrol simulator software;
  • Safety training (including HAZMAT, OSHA and MSHA);
  • Process control and programmable logic control;
  • Instrumentation;
  • Welding. 

New mobile training labThe new mobile training lab is one of a few of its kind in the western United States, said John Cech, dean of the College of Technology. He said the mobile lab will broaden the COT’s opportunities for workforce training and outreach and provide many opportunities for partnerships with other educational institutions and industry across the state.   The mobile lab will also be available for training demonstrations at area K-12 schools.


In addition, the MSU Billings COT will be working with other Montana University System colleges and tribal Colleges — including Little Bighorn College, Chief Dull Knife College, Rocky Boy College and Fort Peck Community College — to partner on training efforts through the federal Department of Labor’s WIRED grant. 


The COT plans to complete the new mobile lab with the installation of a high speed satellite internet antenna which will enhance the ability of the training unit to provide remote access to the Internet. Cech said that this will particularly be valuable in remote locations where high speed Internet access would not be possible.  With the satellite connection, the unit would be able to handle up to 10 MB both inbound and outbound.  


Cech said the shifting economy and demand for workforce training has resulted in the college’s plans to launch a new two-semester welding certificate program this spring semester as well as a new Associate Degree in Business Administration, and a Power Plant Operations Program


“With this new mobile training classroom on wheels, we will be able to bring portions of these academic programs directly on-site in remote locations in the state,” said Cech.


For additional information on the MSU Billings COT Mobile Training Laboratory or to learn how to schedule it for a free demonstration at an area school, contact Lisa Skriner, COT Energy for Tomorrow Program Manager, at 247-3055.


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