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First of its kind in Minnesota: New program offers free college and an engineering career

Omar Lopez-Sanchez

Brooklyn Park, November 9, 2021 After graduating from Osseo Senior High School, Omar Lopez-Sanchez planned to study mechanical engineering at a university – then realized he couldn’t afford it even with a scholarship.

Omar was determined to find another option. When he learned about the ICATT program, he believe it offered everything he was looking for and more. ICATT is the Industry Consortium for Advanced Technical Training apprenticeship program. It provides a full scholarship and an “earn while you learn” model.

Omar is studying Automation Robotics Engineering Technology at Hennepin Technical College (HTC) while also working part-time at Buhler, a manufacturing firm in Plymouth, Minnesota. Though he splits his time between college and work each week, he earns a full-time salary. In effect, he’s being paid to attend classes!

Another benefit – Omar is gaining hands-on education and training – both at HTC and on the job. At Buhler, while he completes his work responsibilities, his supervisor provides instruction. At HTC, faculty provide hands-on education in robotics labs filled with state-of-the art training equipment.

“I wanted more than doing math equations in a book and watching videos of other people working. I’m a visual learner. Now I can touch equipment, fix it and see it working,” said Omar.

After successful completion of the program, Omar will work full-time at Buhler. He also plans to continue his education and complete a four-year engineering degree.

First-of-its-kind in MN

HTC is the only college in Minnesota in ICATT, the largest apprenticeship program in the U.S that is fully benchmarked on the German Dual Education System.

Since its launch in 2020, eight students are enrolled at HTC and working at manufacturing employers through ICATT. One apprentice at HTC called the program “the best thing ever” because of the financial perks and benefits.

About Hennepin Technical College
Founded in 1972, Hennepin Technical College (HTC) is the largest stand-alone technical college in Minnesota. With campuses in Brooklyn Park and Eden Prairie, the college has a diverse student population and offers degree and non-degree courses in over 45 programs. HTC is a member of Minnesota State, which includes 30 colleges and seven state universities.

Last updated by mdibba : 2022-07-29 12:17:28