North Hennepin Community College and diagnostics company, Beckman Coulter have created a brilliant partnership. What first started last year, as an instrument donation to NHCC’s Medical Laboratory Technology department, has turned into a very promising alliance.
This partnership will offer MLT students equipment and supplies for hands-on learning. Exposure to the industry and career paths through job shadowing and mentoring with Client Support Specialist’s and Field Applications Specialist’s. Through this partnership, Beckman Coulter will also provide a streamlined hiring process and a shortened learning curve to students.
Beckman Coulter visited an MLT class last week, to demonstrate how the new instruments work, share company information and fill students in on the current job outlook.
We chatted below with an MLT student, as well as Beckman Coulter employee’s to find out why they’re excited about this partnership.
“For myself, the partnership gives us the opportunity to focus on the importance of medical lab technician positions and allows us to grow our industry. That way, we can bring more people in and ultimately, be able to serve a lot more people. This partnership will help Beckman Coulter to bring in younger and more diverse folks to the field. We want to diversify the current force that we have right now, understanding that getting more diverse folks in will only strengthen us. We specifically chose to partner with the MLT program because we knew people were interested in our industry. Our hope is to provide students who are curious about this field with information, so they can join the industry.” -Chue Yang, NHCC Alumni and Production Operations Manager at Beckman Coulter, (pictured above, on the lower right).
“We need to grow the field. I don’t think enough people are aware of it and there just aren’t enough people currently working in the MLT field. With the Beckman Coulter partnership here, I think we need to advertise to students, about the great products that we already have within the building. NHCC has wonderful labs here, it’s beautiful! Knowledgeable instructors and people that are engaged and willing to help students learn this instrumentation. When students come into NHCC’s labs, they’re actually going to touch and see the instruments that they will be working with in the field. Students have the opportunity, if they want to, they can come out to Beckman Coulter’s laboratory. Especially with Chaska nearby, it’s a very big opportunity for them. I go into hospitals and they’re so short on MLT staff. I know of small rural hospitals that told me they’ve had jobs open for a year, and not gotten any applicants. This is an exciting partnership and Beckman Coulter is a good place to work. There are great opportunities within this company. It's a good opportunity for NHCC and for us. A win-win partnership.” - Lyle Rudningen, Advanced Field Service Engineer at Beckman Coulter, (pictured above, on the upper left).
Nathan Wehri is an MLT student at NHCC, (pictured above). He used to work for Electrolux, building refrigerators in St. Cloud. “The union there, connected me to the Trade Adjustment Assistance program through the State of Minnesota. This program helped retrain and relocate people who were laid off after the closure of the manufacturing site.” Through this State program, Nathan took a bunch of tests to find out what he was interested in. One of the career options that popped up was in the MLT field. The overall goal of this program was to find new jobs for people and allow them to further their education. Fast forward to now, Nathan goes to school at NHCC, and his tuition is paid for through the Trade Adjustment Assistance program. “I’ve always been interested in mechanical stuff and instrumentation. I have also always wanted to work in the medical field as well and I have a lot of family and friends that already work in the medical field too.” Nathan laughs, “It is a little higher in complexity, going from refrigerators to lab instrumentation, but I really like tinkering with stuff, and this is where I ended up!”
What drove you here, to NHCC specifically?
I came to NHCC specifically to get my MLT degree, but my wife and I were planning on moving closer to the cities anyway. I started looking for schools, NHCC popped up and we were thinking of heading towards Maple Grove already, so it worked out well.
What do you hope to do with your degree?
After seeing Beckman Coulter’s presentation, I would love to work for them and be a Field Applications Specialist. That really spoke to me, because that would allow me to work, almost exclusively with the equipment. Then I could really get an idea of how they work and have a very good knowledge of them. I also like the traveling bit of it, I love to drive. Right now, I work as a delivery driver. Obviously, I drive around a lot already, and that aspect of this career really appealed to me. I got a chance to talk to Spencer from Beckman Coulter about how his time is scheduled. That was helpful for me to see how he does that. He knows all the maintenance days he has every month, and he gets to decide and plan them on his time each month. It just seemed like an interesting way to schedule your work, and it sounded great to me. I could see myself working with Beckman Coulter in the future.
Do you like the instruments at NHCC and the new machines we have coming up?
Yeah, I think it's super cool that we have all this stuff to work with. I wasn't expecting that, honestly coming here. This is awesome for me.
Does the new instrumentation make you feel more prepared for the next step?
Oh, for sure. Yeah, I feel like we probably have a leg up on a lot of other places. Now, with access to these instruments.
Do you think you’ll need any additional school after NHCC, or do you think you’re done?
I'm already a non-traditional student and I have gone to college, a couple times before this, so I'm hoping that this will be the last time. I graduate in the spring of 2023, and I hope this Beckman Coulter partnership will help me to have a smooth transition straight into a career, that'd be awesome.
What interests you the most about this field?
Hands down, the instrumentation. Initially when I started this program, that is honestly, what I was excited about the most. Working in the lab, using the equipment, working with those tools, and becoming an expert on them.