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News Release: 1/11/2024

ST. CLOUD, Minnesota — MedTech is a constantly evolving field, and St. Cloud State University’s campus in Plymouth is well-equipped to continue to train the future workforce.

A new federal recognition could grow that demand even further, as the Biden-Harris administration announced in October that the Minnesota MedTech 3.0 proposal has been selected by the U.S. Department of Commerce as one of its inaugural Tech Hubs.

It was one of 31 designations selected out of nearly 200 proposals, and the designation is an endorsement of the region’s strategy to supercharge the technological industry and create jobs. It also stresses a shared and strategic vision of utilizing cutting-edge technologies like artificial intelligence, machine learning and data science to improve the medical device ecosystem in Minnesota.

SCSU’s Plymouth campus offers three graduate programs in the MedTech industry: Applied Clinical Research, Medical Technology Quality and Regulatory Affairs & Services.

The Applied Education in the MedTech Industry department within the College of Science and Engineering is extremely hands-on, and the location in Plymouth also plays a part in the programs’ success. With over 130 MedTech companies in Plymouth alone, this comprehensive network of MedTech companies has emerged as a leader in Minnesota, while the state is at the forefront of the industry worldwide.

Dr. Will Collis-Prather is the director of the Applied Clinical Research program at SCSU. Collis-Prather worked for over 20 years in the medical device industry as a clinical research leader before moving into academics at SCSU, experience that is valuable for the hands-on program.

“People in these professions have historically learned their skills on the job,” Collis-Prather said. “What’s attractive about our programs is students can develop their technical and professional skills and go back to employers more educated and prepared to contribute to the development of medical technology therapies. We are simulating the work they will eventually do in the workplace.”

Most students truly learn how to “do” the work in these applied programs, often pivoting from a different career field into MedTech. Professors in the programs are adjunct instructors who are working professionals, experts in their respective fields of instruction. Students in the programs see nearly a 100 percent positive placement rate in the field within one year of graduation.

The job market is incredible strong, with the increase of technology and remote monitoring in past decades creating more need for oversight. That means more clinical studies and employees, requiring skilled workers to fill the need.

An annual program career fair is well attended each spring from Twin Cities-based companies, aided by strong relationships built by SCSU professors within the industry.

The program’s advisory council is primarily made up of industry leaders, giving direct access to the current needs in the workforce. Collis-Prather and his fellow programs directors and professors can focus
on creating students who are attractive in the job market, displaying professional skills in writing and working in teams.

“Our goal is to listen to what skills they need; (Companies) know we exist and will come to us when they have a need; we have a reputation,” Collis-Prather said. “Our goal is to listen to what skills they need.”

The STEM designation of the program and its in-person classes are also a draw for international students, staying true to SCSU’s mission of offering market-relevant programs to all learners.

And with the recent MedTech 3.0 designation, the Twin Cities area will continue to need talented graduate candidates ready for the field.

“The focus is on interaction between education and employment; universities integration into it is really important,” Collis-Prather said. “The MedTech industry is generating jobs, and we are generating the skilled people to fill those jobs. I feel like it’s a great opportunity for SCSU.”

Contact SCSU University Communications at for additional questions.