Last month, Minneapolis Community and Technical College (MCTC) was awarded a $300,000 grant by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development to develop and implement "lean process improvement training" for 560 employees of Thermo King, the Bloomington-based manufacturer of refrigeration systems for the transport industry.

The MCTC-Thermo King agreement is part of a growing collaboration with the two-year college, which also sends a lot interns and graduates to Thermo King.

And, it should be added that, under state rules, Thermo King must match each dollar with at least $1 of its own in the effort. And these training grants have leveraged about $3 in corporate investment since the program's inception in 1983, say state officials.

The announcement also underscores the 25 percent, five-year growth of MCTC, which has struck training-and-placement relationships with dozens of business and nonprofit partners, from Target to Project for Pride in Living to Mortenson Construction. Business invests money, expertise and equipment. MCTC trains workers.

MCTC, with about half its students from minority groups, maintains a low profile in the Loring Park neighborhood.

But its annual economic impact of $377 million ranks it the fourth-largest among the 31 institutions in the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) system behind St. Cloud State University, Minnesota State University, Mankato, and Normandale Community College of Bloomington, according to a study by St. Paul-based Wilder Research.

In the study, researchers Jose Diaz and Gabriel Pina incorporated MCTC's 2011 operating budget of $74.5 million, spending by its faculty and 14,000 students; 2,593 direct jobs generated by MCTC and its students, and more than 1,000 jobs generated by contractors and suppliers. MCTC, which awarded 1,300 degrees and certificates in 2011, also generates "future" economic value for the Twin Cities by enhancing the productivity and wealth of the Twin Cities through training that nets higher-value jobs, the researchers conclude.

commonbond keeping busy

CommonBond, the nonprofit developer of housing and support programs for the low-income elderly, immigrants and working-class folks, has been busy lately, thanks partly to a $21 million capital campaign from individuals, corporations and foundations.

The campaign allows CommonBond to leverage its equity with low-cost borrowing, low-income tax credit financing and other investments.

Last week, CommonBond and partner Enterprise Community Investment had a "grand reopening" to celebrate the $17 million renovation of 106-unit Yorkdale Townhomes in Edina.

CommonBond recently opened Riverview Apartments, 42 apartments for seniors, in south Minneapolis that cost about $8.4 million to acquire and build.

Construction soon begins on a $15.5 million project to renovate five abandoned buildings at Fort Snelling into 58 apartments for low-income veterans and their families.

These deals are financed with equity, debt, some government appropriations and low-income-housing tax credits for affluent investors. CommonBond manages about 5,400 rental housing units.


Adine Momoh, a fourth-year associate at Leonard, Street and Deinard, has been selected as a 2013 Fellow of the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity, a national organization composed of the law trade's top executives and corporate general counsels who seek to advance diversity. Momoh, who litigates commercial cases, is the daughter of immigrants from Sierra Leone. She is thankful for mentors. In turn, she mentors through Twin Cities Diversity in Practice, which seeks to recruit and retain minority lawyers, and through pro bono service with the firm's legal clinic.

"My parents helped me to do my best and help others," Momoh said. "I have had mentors and I definitely appreciate the connection to like-minded attorneys." Barbara Portwood, a board member at Leonard Street, said Momoh will bring her "exemplary leadership skills to a national platform" through the national diversity program.

• Since launching four years ago, Dress For Success Twin Cities has helped more than 1,500 disadvantaged women increase their confidence, job skills, find work and financial independence. Some have rebounded from homelessness and incarceration. The staff and volunteers provide professional clothing, as well as a lot mentoring. The annual luncheon this month has sold out. More information about volunteering:

• The Minnesota Women Business Owners Hall of Fame, sponsored by the National Association of Women Business Owners, will be announced at an inaugural dinner and program on April 25 at Cargill Inc. headquarters in Minnetonka. Twenty-five women have been selected for the inaugural class, including five in memoriam. The honored include Sharon Avent of Smead Manufacturing; Constance Bakken of Citizens Independent Bank; LouAnne Berg of J&L Steel Erectors, and Marilyn Carlson Nelson of Carlson. More information: