Jim Retka

Dean, Workforce & Economic Development
Northland Community & Technical College
1101 Hwy One East
Thief River Falls, MN 56701
Phone: 218-683-8643


Jim is the Dean of Workforce and Economic Development, and Aviation Maintenance Technology at Northland Community and Technical College in Thief River Falls, and East Grand Forks, MN. In that capacity, Jim works closely with the professionals of the Center for Outreach and Innovation to further the college’s mission of creating business and industry training partnerships for value-added workforce development opportunities. Jim also works closely with the Aviation Maintenance Technology Program and its partners in the development of the nation’s first maintenance technician training program for the unmanned aerial vehicle industry.


Jim holds a baccalaureate degree in Industrial Technology from Bemidji State University, a certificate in Lean Manufacturing through the Executive Education Program at Fisher College of Business, The Ohio State University, and has completed Six Sigma Green Belt training through Prairie State College. He has worked with Glencoe/McGraw-Hill and the Manufacturing Skill Standards Council (MSSC), as a contributing editor for High Performance Manufacturing: Portable Production Skills. Jim has worked with the Society of Manufacturing Engineers on pilot preparation courses for their Bronze Level, Lean Certification Program.


Jim is the State Coordinator for the MSSC in Minnesota and has contributed to the MSSC Marketing and Curriculum Review committees. He is a member of The Society of Manufacturing Engineers, Manufacturing Skill Standards Council, the National Council for Advanced Manufacturing, and the Lean Educators Academic Network (LEAN). Jim serves on the board of directors for the Occupational Development Center with locations across northern Minnesota.

Jim is an executive committee member of 360 Degrees, Manufacturing and Applied Engineering Center of Excellence, a unique collaborative of 9 two-year colleges and Bemidji State University within Minnesota State Colleges and Universities.