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Iron Range Engineers have jobs, even before graduation

11 to get degrees Saturday

Iron Range Engineers: Jobs, even before they graduate.

By Renee Passal, WDIO-TV Reporter [broadcast on WDIO-TV, Duluth, Minn., 12/7/2011]

Christine Nelson is prime example of how Iron Range Engineering is a success story.

She's an employee at United Taconite in Forbes. She's a project engineer, who works on things to improve safety or productivity.

She's also an Iron Range Engineering student, who is graduating on Saturday.

The project-based learning four-year degree program kicked off in 2009. It gives students a chance to work with industries like mining, to get real-world experience.

Nelson oversaw the design and creation of a new walkway, that makes it safer for the maintenance workers at the plant in Forbes.

She said, "I love my job. I love how it's something different every day. The whole process, is like watching an infant grow."

She'll continue to work at United Taconite, after she graduates.

There are 11 others in her class, who are also getting jobs at places like Proctor and Gamble and Medtronic, or the mines.

"Iron Range Engineering made me an engineer," she added.

The next wave of students will graduate in the spring.

Ron Ulseth is the director of the program. He said, "These students have been with me for five years, since we all started at Itasca Community College. They got on a train, and we didn't know where it was going. I'm proud of the risk they took, and where they're going now with their skill set."

IRRRB funds the program, along with some grant money.

The degree is a four year degree, through Minnesota State Mankato. Students will walk across the stage there on Saturday.

A local celebration is Thursday at Giant's Ridge.

For the WDIO-TV video, click on

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