Always a new challenge …

Men working in IMC department at Moraine Park

“You’ll never be bored if you choose a career in Industrial Maintenance – there’s always a new challenge. Being in Industrial Maintenance means being a problem solver, knowing how to prioritize, and having a massive knowledge base since multiple things will break at the same time, for different reasons, on different kinds of equipment, throughout the whole plant; Even if you’ve never seen any of if break before, you have to know what to fix first, figure out how to fix it best, and prevent further equipment failures in the future.” said Gerry Vanderloop, Industrial Maintenance Boot Camp Instructor.

For Vanderloop the field of Industrial Maintenance never stops providing a learning environment, so when MPTC offered Vanderloop the opportunity to teach Industrial Maintenance boot camps this spring, and another starting August 10, he gave up some of his retirement days to get back in the classroom.

The opportunities to learn didn’t stop with the many years of knowledge and experience Vanderloop brought to the classroom, 14 students who worked for a variety of local employers started in the boot camps in the spring and brought their unique industry experiences to the classroom as well.

“The Industrial Maintenance boot camp started out as a way into the field – we didn’t expect it to attract the attention of people already in the field,” said Abby Pluim, Economic and Workforce Development Bootcamps Project Manager. “The breadth of knowledge needed by any one person brought in a lot of people from companies who said their people might be very strong in some areas, but need additional skills in others. It turned out that “entry-level” in any one piece of the boot camp meant a lot of gain in the whole boot camp – and it meant a lot of knowledge sharing throughout the cohort.”

The classroom learning and cooperative knowledge sharing meant on-the-job applications almost immediately. Boot camps are open to everyone, but participants are encouraged to be working with an employer down this career path when they begin. For Signicast in Hartford, encouraging their employees to take the boot camp was a win. Roxanne Betts, Training and Organizational Development Leader, said, “We asked two of our up and coming technicians if they wanted to advance and grow in our maintenance area – they jumped at the chance.  At first they thought – I don’t want to go back to school – then they could not get enough of it and looked forward to the time spent in the boot camp.  They used the skills from the classroom at Signicast right away!  When companies are looking to fill the skills gap – this is a great choice!”

Boot camps are short term training opportunities, meaning a lot of information is packed into a short period of time. The 11-credit Industrial Maintenance courses cover the following courses in a blended format between the August 10 start date and the December 21 end date:

  • Industrial Maintenance Safety
  • Basic Blueprint/Schematic Reading
  • Introduction to Power Transmission Systems
  • Introduction to Industrial Controls
  • Basic Hydraulics and Pneumatics
  • Programmable Controllers 1
  • Occupational Math 1
  • Team Building and Problem Solving

“The online/blended format is new to boot camps, but addresses the needs of employers, who covet the training of valuable employee but struggle to continue operation without them. Moraine Park’s intent in offering the online opportunity is to create growth opportunities for those already employed full time – “We want to make opportunity not only for those who are unemployed or underemployed, as we do in the CNC and welding boot camps, but also for those who have started down their career paths and want to keep moving up,” said Pluim.

To find out more about the Industrial Maintenance boot camp, visit or call Kim at 920-924-3334.

Written by Samantha Story