UNDATED - From gears, to soaps, to engines Central Minnesota is a hotbed for manufacturing.  Tim Zipoy is a Workforce Development Advisor.  He says most people are surprised by the wide range of products that are made here.

Central Minnesota manufacturers also ship their products around the globe.  This area is known to have more manufacturing companies that any other part of the state.

Meanwhile, manufacturers in Central Minnesota are looking for workers.  Les Engel is the President of the Central Minnesota Manufacturers Association.  He says a lot of their companies are in needed of skilled workers.

Engel says the manufacturing industry is working with schools like the St. Cloud Technical and Community College to train more workers.  But, he says there are often problems for people like having to pay for schooling, and also having to go back into a classroom for the first time in many years.

The manufacturing industry has also changed since your grandparents days. Engel says there's often a misconception of what manufacturing today means.

Engel owns Engel Metallurgical in Sauk Rapids. They provide testing services of products.  They also do failure analysis for insurance companies and lawyers, to find out why a product failed in an accident, and who should pay for it.  The do work all over the world.

Today (Monday) we are starting a two-week series called "Made in Central Minnesota".  We'll be featuring companies - both big and small - making unique products.  Tomorrow (Tuesday) we'll tell you about a man who makes boat anchors in Sauk Centre.