New Minnesota Center for Electrification Opportunity aims to grow workforce in electric power industry

University collaborates with industry leaders and Minnesota government to build electrification infrastructure

MINNEAPOLIS / ST. PAUL (07/25/2023)—The University of Minnesota Twin Cities Technological Leadership Institute (TLI), in collaboration with the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED), Toro, Polaris, and Design Ready Controls, recently announced the launch of the Minnesota Center for Electrification Opportunity (MN CEO). 

With funding from DEED, the pioneering consortium will lead workforce development training in electrification—or the process of replacing fossil fuels with more sustainable, electric technologies—and act as a bridge between academia and industry.

“The conversion of fossil fuel technologies to electric and hybrid power systems promises to be a decades-long process requiring enormous talent and organization,” said Allison Hubel, a mechanical engineering professor in the University of Minnesota College of Science and Engineering and director of TLI. “MN CEO is going to be a very important player in building the electrification infrastructure in the state and nation.”

According to the research firm, the global electrification market was worth an estimated $74.2 billion in 2022 and is expected to grow to about $170.4 billion by 2032, which will result in an increased demand for a stronger workforce in the industry.

“MN CEO is an incredibly strategic resource for our region," said Andrew Chasse, vice president of strategy & partnerships at Polaris. "As electrification continues to advance across industries, the need for talent and training grows, and this program will help Minnesota become a national player in creating a robust future workforce for companies locally and beyond.”

The new center is already working to engage stakeholders and develop a long-term vision to accelerate the adoption of electrification technologies in Minnesota. These efforts will position Minnesota both for sustained economic growth and leadership in the renewable energy and electric power fields.

"We're thrilled to be working in this space with our partners in business and academia," said John Hurst, senior director at the Toro Company. "This is a great opportunity to expand the state's capabilities in electrification, and The Toro Company is proud to be a part of it."

"MN CEO is going to be a game-changer for our region," said John Hacker, chief financial officer of Design Ready Controls. "Minnesota has both the infrastructure and the educated workforce to quickly become a leader in electrification. Getting involved at an early stage was important to us.”

MN CEO’s first announced initiative is its inaugural Electroposium, to be held at the University of Minnesota’s McNamara Alumni Center on October 9, 2023. The first-of-its-kind event aims to inspire and empower the next generation of electrification leaders by showcasing the latest technological advancements, offering hands-on training sessions, and fostering discussions about the future of electrification in Minnesota.

The event will also serve as a networking opportunity for students, industry professionals, and academic experts alike. Students from regional high schools, the Minnesota State system, the University of Minnesota, and other universities and colleges will have the opportunity to attend the Electroposium at no charge.

For more information about the new center and the upcoming Electroposium, visit the MN CEO website or contact Chip Laingen at or 612-384-4270.

About the Technological Leadership Institute: Founded in 1987 with major support from the Honeywell Foundation, TLI was created as a bridge between academia and industry, training tech professionals for high-tech leadership roles. The Institute offers three graduate programs as well as numerous courses and certificates. For more information, visit the TLI website.