Pinnaca’s Successful Distance Learning Program Has Helped Thousands of Veterans and Dislocated Workers Find High-Skilled Manufacturing Jobs in Minn. and Wis.

Increase in success due to one-of-a-kind Acano video technology
that connects workers, companies and educators anytime, anywhere, on any

BLOOMINGTON, Minn.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Pinnaca (formerly Video Guidance), a leading strategic visual
communications and collaboration service provider, is playing a lead
role in training thousands of Veterans and dislocated manufacturing
workers in Minnesota and Western Wisconsin. In mid 2014, a unique
consortium was launched — Advanced Manufacturing Education (AME) — to
upgrade skills of the manufacturing workforce. By the end of 2015, just
over a year later, the number of individuals trained through AME has
catapulted from 13 to 1,009 workers, studying 58 courses. Some workers
have taken multiple courses, doubling the number of class seats to
2,040. In addition, the program’s partners have expanded from three to
92 employers/businesses, workforce/labor organizations and prisons
through the Department of Corrections.

The successful initiative has been made even more impactful thanks to a
new, one-of-a-kind, multimedia cloud-based service that allows workers
to connect to the classroom using a phone, tablet, computer or video
system. Pinnaca’s new Video Conferencing as a Service platform is based
on Acano technology that unites previously incompatible audio, video and
web technologies. Now students can connect anytime, anywhere on any

“Pinnaca has cracked the nut,” said Dr. Tom Stober, lead instructor for
the AME courses and president of True North – Compass, which provides
customized training solutions focused on process and organizational
improvement. “The Acano technology is less expensive and more
deliverable. It provides unprecedented solutions for our distance
learning because we can virtually connect everyone on any communications
device. It’s not limited to bandwidth and it’s not point to point; it’s
point to many.”

AME is a regional consortium of employers, workforce and government
agencies, community organizations, and institutions of higher education
that include Central Lakes College, Pine Technical and Community
College, St. Cloud Technical and Community College, and Bemidji State
University’s 360 Manufacturing Center of Excellence.

Since its inception, the AME program has focused on connecting colleges
to companies, Veterans and TAA-impacted workers. Today the initiative
has expanded to provide distance learning training to prisoners, to
unions assisting their member workforces and to many other businesses
and organizations.

“Video eliminates distance and time barriers and enhances the learning
experience,” said Heidi Braun, program director for customized training
at Pine Technical and Community College. “And now, with Pinnaca’s new
Acano technology, learning has no limits.”

The consortium’s program, the Regional Advanced Manufacturing
Re-Training (RAMR), has created high-wage, high-skilled employment
outcomes for workers in Minnesota and Wisconsin. The video conferencing
system is funded through a $13.1 million Federal Department of Labor
TAACCCT (Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career
Training) grant awarded to the consortium.

“Video conferencing has revolutionized the way people connect and as a
result, educational institutions and organizations everywhere are making
visual communications a strategic priority,” said Mike Nelson of
Pinnaca. “Our new technology has helped to create unlimited
opportunities for workers to learn the new skills necessary to find
higher-wage jobs. It is so exciting to see these amazing results.”

College Manufacturing Faculty, in cooperation with Adult Basic Education
and College Developmental Education personnel, offers introductory, core
manufacturing courses to expand the educated labor pool. Enhanced online
courses emphasize advanced manufacturing areas of machining, metals,
plastics and composites, automation technology and rapid prototyping.

In the AME alliance, participating higher education institutions solicit
partners to provide real-time training that meets partner needs. Courses
are held via on-line interactive classrooms, which allow participants to
connect from work or home, saving both time and money.

In each course, participants connect with a subject matter expert and
industry peers to discuss and work on real world solutions which benefit

“I initially enrolled in class to understand the content of the
programs. I wanted to make sure the next group of our employees would be
getting an education that would have a payback for both themselves and
our company,” said Brian Burley, president of Tooling Science, Inc. “So
far the classes have exceeded my expectations.”

Participants also receive help from an advisor including pre-class and
in-class support, information for developing professional soft-skills,
as well as community and professional organization referrals as needed.

About Pinnaca
Pinnaca (
is an independent leading provider of managed videoconferencing,
telepresence and visual collaboration services.
Privately held
and headquartered in Berkshire, UK with regional offices in Minnesota,
New York, Toronto, Shanghai, Singapore and Hong Kong, Pinnaca provides
customized state-of-the-art products, services and solutions from the
world’s finest manufacturers.
Pinnaca is a global certified
partner of Acano, Cisco, Polycom, Avizia, Pexip and Vyopta, and
maintains strategic alliances with key vendors, including Ashton
Bentley, in the company’s A/V integration practice.


Shore to Shore Communications, Inc.
Gail Shore, 612-770-4106