Ten New Grants Boost Nontraditional Careers for Women


October 22, 2019

I am pleased to announce that DEED has awarded 10 grants totaling $1,425,000 under the Women’s Economic Security Act (WESA) Competitive Grants program.

DEED received about $3.6 million in funding requests, and only $1,425,000 was available for grant awards in the SFY2020-21 funding cycle.

This funding supports programs statewide that serve women from eligible populations in recruitment, preparation, placement, and retention in high-wage, high-demand, nontraditional occupations; secondary or post-secondary education; training and development for counselors and caseworkers; incentives for employers and sponsors of registered apprenticeship programs; training and technical assistance to employers; public education and outreach; and supportive services to trainees.

As part of the competitive grant improvement process we rolled out earlier this year, the team of reviewers, who represented both DEED and community organizations, read and scored each proposal. This was no small task. DEED received nearly twice as many competitive requests for WESA funding than we could fulfill. And this year, we set out to allocate more funding across the state; include new service providers, who target their services to individuals with multiple barriers to employment; and as part of our equity goal, ensure services are available to serve communities of color and new immigrants. I want to acknowledge and thank everyone for their work, especially those from across the state who gave valuable feedback and input to the process.

The 10 organizations below have been awarded grants, pending contract finalization and financial review. I look forward to working with them over the next year on programs that fortify women’s economic and occupational futures.

– Deputy Commissioner Hamse Warfa

New Vision Foundation, A New Vision for Social Connections and Digital Opportunities for Young Women of Color in the Twin Cities, $150,000

This project provides young women with coding and digital literacy classes. New Vision is working with employer partners to develop an apprenticeship/internship program for young women of color to enter the IT workforce.

Northwest Indian Community Development Center, Gidanishinaabekwenaaneg Ondaasagiwewag, $200,000

The Women's Transitioning Home Work Program recruits American Indian women with criminal system convictions, providing an Adult Basic Education program to help trainees complete their GED and, with partners, provides industry recognized workforce readiness training in welding, carpentry, construction, and machinery. The Northwest Indian Community Development Center serves Beltrami, Cass and Clearwater counties.

YWCA-Saint Paul, Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) Training Program for Women, $96,000

In this program, low-income women (predominantly of color) earn a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL Class B), an industry-recognized credential that qualifies them for high-wage, high-demand, nontraditional job opportunities.

Central Minnesota Jobs and Training Services, Inc., Women on the Move, $150,000

The Women on the Move project will train low-income women, with an emphasis on serving low-income women of color. Trainees will be equipped with the skills and expertise to achieve success in high-paying, nontraditional careers, connected to employment opportunities, and given career pathway support. The organization serves Local Workforce Development Area 5 consisting of Chisago, Isanti, Kanabec, Kandiyohi, McLeod, Meeker, Mille Lacs, Pine, Renville, Sherburne and Wright counties.

Ramsey County Workforce Solutions, The Katherine Project, $155,514

The Katherine Project provides software development and coding training to 17-24-year-old women of color, who reside in Ramsey County.

Southwest Minnesota Private Industry Council, Inc., Women in Skilled Employment (WISE) Project, $93,517

The WISE project will introduce and advance the careers and wages of girls and women of color through opportunities and support to obtain academic credit, industry-recognized credentials, marketable skills, on-the-job training and work experience, and employment in nontraditional occupations. Southwest Minnesota Private Industry Council serves the Southwest and South Central counties of Big Stone, Blue Earth, Brown, Chippewa, Cottonwood, Faribault, Jackson, Lac qui Parle, Le Sueur, Lincoln, Lyon, Martin, Murray, Nicollet, Nobles, Pipestone, Redwood, Rock, Sibley, Swift, Waseca, Watonwan, and Yellow Medicine.

Washington County Community Service, Non-Traditional Opportunities for Women (NOW), $78,969

NOW will recruit and enroll women who are either age 50+, or of color, or low-income to complete classroom-based training for nontraditional work in occupations that are in-demand.

Dunwoody College of Technology, Women in Technical Careers (WITC), $150,000

WITC provides tuition and other financial support, mentoring, professional development, and career services to support participants' pursuit of 2-year degrees in the automotive field, computer technology, construction sciences and building technology, and robotics and manufacturing. WITC will include an outreach effort focusing on middle and high school girls to raise awareness of the benefits of post-secondary technical education and careers. Dunwoody College of Technology serves the Metro Area.

National Able Network, Inc., IT Career Lab, $150,000

IT Career Lab will serve women and women of color through a 10-week training course that prepares participants to earn two credentials from Microsoft and Cisco. Both credentials will serve as a first step toward entering the IT industry. National Able Network serves the Metro Area.

Southeast Minnesota Private Industry Council, Inc., If Given The Opportunity…Women Can Do Anything, $201,000

The project will promote nontraditional careers and help women obtain education in nontraditional career pathways; educate staff, providers, and K-12 students about these opportunities; connect women to mentors; and collaborate with employers to create a female-friendly workplace. Southeast Minnesota Private Industry Council serves Dodge, Fillmore, Freeborn, Goodhue, Houston, Mower, Olmstead, Rice, Steele, and Wabasha counties.


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