Vermilion opens downtown Tech Center

by Tom Coombe

Vermilion Community College will soon have a downtown presence with the opening of its TechNorth Prep Center.<BR><BR>Part of the True North economic initiative advanced by the regional community college system, the TPC will be the home of a VCC employee and a location aimed at marketing and promoting the development of high-technology jobs in the Ely area.<BR><BR>VCC has signed a one-year lease for 1,200 square feet of office space in the Queen City Federal building on East Sheridan Street. The college will use the space previously occupied by Ely Realty.<BR><BR>Bill Henning, former Ely area economic developer and current member of the Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board, is working for VCC as a consultant on the project.<BR><BR>“What the TPC is going to do is provide a contact point with the college,” said Henning. “It’s an economic development initiative with technology and training, and a marketing effort through True North. Basically what we’re saying is that if you have a business out there and you’re outsourcing or doing things in high-tech and you’re looking for people you can train, look north and do it in the TPC network.”<BR><BR>Other TPCs are being developed in Virginia, Grand Rapids, Hibbing and International Falls - all cities with community colleges in town.<BR><BR>Henning said that VCC would develop courses aimed at training individuals for technology work, and the college will partner with economic development organizations in an attempt to bring firms to the area.<BR><BR>The Ely center is expected to be open within two weeks.<BR><BR>“We’re in a phenomenal location,” said Henning. “One of the ideas is to have a storefront on the main street. Ely’s location is significant because of its visibility.“<BR><BR>Henning said that the location will help VCC efforts to boost enrollment.<BR><BR> <BR><BR>