Roger Hughes, executive director of the Minnesota Job Skills Partnership, announced that the Minnesota Job Skills Partnership board has awarded a $399,359 grant to The Mangement Center at the University of St. Thomas to provide a wide variety of training for employees of Heat-N-Glo.

The training, most of which will take place at the Heat-N-Glo locations in Lakeville and Lake City, will include courses in international market development and disruption-free production, and the development of a hands-on manufacturing training cell.

Also participating in the project is the Johnson Center for Virtual Reality at Pine Technical College, Pine City, which is developing computer-simulated training modules.

Heat-N-Glo is a division of Hearth Technologies and has been producing fireplaces since 1975. The company employs 450 at its Lake City manufacturing plant and another 150 at its Lakeville corporate office and research center. The training project is designed to help the company remain competitive, especially in light of the labor shortage in southeastern Minnesota.

The company makes gas- and wood-burning fireplaces and fireplace inserts. It patented the Direct Vent fireplace in 1987, and recently added electric models and outdoor products to its line.

The Management Center, part of St. Thomas’ Graduate School of Business, has a staff of 150 industry experts and regular faculty who annually conduct more than 800 workshops and training programs. More than 13,000 individuals participate in The Management Center programs each year.

The Minnesota Job Skills Partnership helps meet the training needs of the state’s changing labor force. With administrative support from the Business and Community Development Division of the Department of Trade and Economic Development, the partnership provides matching grants to educational institutions to provide training for Minnesota businesses.

A kickoff marking the start of the training partnership was held May 12 at the Heat-N-Glo Lakeville site.