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DEED Awards More Than $2.9 million in Grants to Minnesota Colleges and Universities for Employer Workforce Development Projects

St. Paul – Today, the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) announced 19 workforce development grants totaling over $2.9 million to eight Minnesota educational institutions that are partnering with Minnesota businesses to develop and deliver customized workforce training programs. Grantees expect to train more than 4,000 workers through these programs.

"Workforce training programs help Minnesota workers develop new skills, while also helping employers build employee engagement and ensure workers have necessary skills for personal and organizational success," said DEED Commissioner Matt Varilek. “Minnesota’s higher education institutions are excellent training program partners with proven track records in delivering effective, customized training programs for Minnesota businesses.”

Participating businesses must partner with an accredited educational institution for these Minnesota Jobs Skills Partnership (MJSP) grants, awarded to the educational institution to develop and deliver custom training for the business. Programming covered by the grants includes onboarding and training new workers, upskilling current workers, promoting workforce diversity, defining career pathways, developing communication and leadership skills and more.

Since 2019, MJSP has awarded $32.2 million to train more than 34,000 workers and has leveraged $68.2 million in private funding.

Grants announced today include:

$399,827 to Minnesota State College Southeast for partnership with 3M Fall Protection, Ardent Mills, Food Service Specialties, Gemini, Hearth & Home Technologies, Intek Plastics and Red Wing Shoes

The seven partnering Red Wing-area manufacturing companies identified a common need for advanced mechatronics and automation training as their operations incorporate more automation and robotics technologies. Minnesota State College Southeast will build upon its existing foundational mechatronics program with advanced curriculum to develop a new, 20-credit Automation Essentials Certificate program, a nine-credit Computer Aided Drafting Technologies Certificate program and a three-credit welding course for 71 employees.

$300,000 to Anoka-Ramsey Community College (ARCC) for partnership with United States Distilled Products

United States Distilled Products/Phillips Distilling Company, a spirits, cordials and crème products producer with locations in St. Paul and Princeton, is partnering with ARCC to develop a training program for 250 employees to help the company adapt to recent market shifts, reposition its approach in the marketplace and enhance its work environment. ARCC will develop a training program focusing on business, technical, wellness and personal/professional development skills.

$298,804 to Century College for partnership with Russ Davis Wholesale

Russ Davis Wholesale, a fresh produce processor and distributor with locations in Eagan, Inver Grove Heights, St. Paul and Wadena, is partnering with Century College for training in food safety, technological advancements, quality assurance and compliance, sustainable production practices, workforce development and diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI). Century College will provide training for 735 employees in various manufacturing processes and translate training materials into Spanish; the company’s leadership, administrative and support staff will also receive training in computer skills, lean manufacturing and leadership; and maintenance employees will receive training leading to Manufacturing Skills Standards Council Certified Production Technician certification.

$279,443 to Century College for partnership with J&B Group

J&B Group, a meat products producer and distributor in St. Michael, is partnering with Century College to develop a training program to meet new regulatory safety requirements and improve workforce skills, engagement and efficiency for 398 employees. The safety training content will also be translated into Spanish.

$226,729 to Hennepin Technical College for partnership with Upsher-Smith Laboratories

Upsher-Smith Laboratories, a pharmaceuticals company with locations in Plymouth and a new 270,000-square-foot facility that opened last year in Maple Grove, is partnering with Hennepin Technical College to train 153 production employees on new automated equipment and robotics. The 10-week, two-credit manufacturing associate course will be customized for the pharmaceutical industry. Intermediate and advanced levels of occupational English training will also be provided for 25 employees from across the company who speak English as a second or third language.

$224,080 to Minnesota State University, Mankato for partnership with Industrial Fabrication Services

Industrial Fabrication Services, a custom metal products fabricator in Lake Crystal, is partnering with Minnesota State University, Mankato for training on lean manufacturing principles and tools. The advanced training program will be developed for and delivered to 96 employees.

$205,485 to St. Cloud State University for partnership with Central McGowan

Central McGowan – a St. Cloud-based welding supplies and specialty gases distributor and FANUC-certified robotics and automation solutions integrator that also has locations in Little Falls and St. Paul – is partnering with St. Cloud State University for a training program to develop team managers and emerging leaders, retain employees and upskill current workers into advanced positions. Professional development training for 135 employees will cover leadership, management, sales/marketing, customer service, financial/accounting and technical skills topics.

$194,153 to Minnesota State University, Mankato for partnership with Mayo Clinic Health System

Mayo Clinic Health System is partnering with Minnesota State University, Mankato to develop a training program that enables emergency department physicians and advanced practice providers to practice critical procedures in safe, controlled environments. Training for 296 employees will be held in simulation labs resembling actual hospital and home settings, using high-fidelity mannequins that interact with the trainees throughout the sequence.

$140,845 to University of Minnesota Technological Leadership Institute for partnership with Polaris, Toro, Thermo King, Design Ready Controls

This partnership project is a follow-up to a June 2023 MJSP Pre-Development grant awarded to the University of Minnesota Technological Leadership Institute to explore ways for private sector, public sector, nonprofits and academia to work together to address workforce development needs spurred by the rapid migration to electrification technologies. Through this grant, the university and partnering businesses will focus on technology policy, electrification safety and management best practices, including a daylong training program for hundreds of electrification stakeholders from across Minnesota.

$123,434 to Hennepin Technical College for partnership with Japs-Olson Company

Japs-Olson Company, a full-service, custom print and direct mail provider located in St. Louis Park, is partnering with Hennepin Technical College and The Lean Way to develop and deliver a training program to develop new and emerging leaders, increase operational efficiency, improve workflow and optimize processes. All 568 Japs-Olson employees will participate in one or more training topics that will include waste management and reduction; DEI; conflict management; leadership; and Microsoft Office.

$95,004 to Hennepin Technical College for partnership with Apple Tree Dental

Apple Tree Dental – a dental services provider with clinic locations in Coon Rapids, Fairmont, Fergus Falls, Hawley, Little Falls, Madelia, Minneapolis, Mounds View and Rochester – is partnering with Hennepin Technical College to develop a clinical assistant onboarding and training program for individuals with no dental experience. The customized, eight-week, 40-hour program is designed to advance career opportunities for 30 new and existing clinical assistants in the organization.

$49,983 to University of Minnesota, College of Continuing and Professional Studies for partnership with Monarch Healthcare Management

Monarch Healthcare Management, an Eagan-headquartered short-term rehabilitation and long-term care services provider with 50 locations throughout Minnesota, is partnering with the University of Minnesota to develop a custom training program for 50 new and emerging leaders.

$49,969 to ARCC for partnership with Interscapes Inc.

Interscapes, a custom architectural woodwork builder and installer headquartered in Brooklyn Center, is partnering with ARCC to support workforce adoption of the company’s business management platform. ARCC will develop and deliver training for all 47 Interscapes employees.

$49,583 to ARCC for partnership with Mate Precision Technologies

Mate Precision Technologies, a metalworking machinery manufacturer headquartered in Anoka and with global sales and operations, is partnering with ARCC to develop a training program for 65 employees to optimize the company’s internal software system capabilities and enhance employee leadership skills.

$48,277 to University of Minnesota Technological Leadership Institute for partnership with Ryan Companies

Ryan Companies, a Minneapolis-based national commercial real estate services company with offices in 12 states, is partnering with the University of Minnesota to design an AI training program, which will be piloted with 30 employees at their Minneapolis headquarters, to meet the commercial real estate industry’s unique and evolving requirements.

$48,277 to University of Minnesota Technological Leadership Institute for partnership with Target Corporation

Recognizing the impact machine learning engineering (MLE) is poised to have on the retail industry and the necessary technology skills of the future, Target Corporation is partnering with the University of Minnesota’s Technological Leadership Institute to enrich its current learning programs by incorporating MLE training modules for its software engineers.

$48,023 to Minnesota State University, Mankato, for partnership with Mankato Clinic

Mankato Clinic, a health care services provider with 15 locations in Mankato, St. Peter and Mapleton, is partnering with Minnesota State University, Mankato to develop a comprehensive customer service training program designed to enhance patient experience, improve communication and ensure health care professionals deliver compassionate, effective services. All employees will receive 4-5 hours of training in patient care and care team skills.

$44,261 to University of Minnesota Technological Leadership Institute for partnership with Essentia Health

Essentia Health, a Duluth-headquartered health system serving patients in Minnesota, North Dakota and Wisconsin, is partnering with the University of Minnesota’s Technological Leadership Institute to develop a training program for 50 mid-level IT professionals and decision-makers addressing coordinated, integrated security covering the latest government guidance and requirements, techniques for reducing risk and mitigating threats and structured opportunities for internal sharing of information.

$30,654 Pre-development grant to Fond du Lac Tribal & Community College for a partnership with Fond du Lac Band Cannabis Corp.

Fond du Lac Band Cannabis Corp. in Cloquet is a startup company opening a cannabis cultivation and manufacturing facility, located on the tribe’s reservation, that will supply medical and adult-use cannabis products ranging from flower to edibles and concentrates. Training programs to address the newly emerging industry’s specific needs are limited in Minnesota. The college and company will collaborate with national and state cannabis industry partners and private agriculture industry partners to identify the industry’s specific training needs and begin developing a curriculum that will initially focus on agricultural and manufacturing operations, including preparing employees to operate industry-specific equipment such as fluid systems, trim machines and drying racks. Additional training needs areas will also be explored.

Partnership Project Contacts

• Anoka-Ramsey Community College, Matthew Salo, 763-422-6116

• Century College, Eric Riedel, 651-779-3310

• Fond du Lac Tribal & Community College, Jeannie Kermeen, 218-879-0790

• Hennepin Technical College, Leslie Price, 763-488-3705

• Minnesota State University, Mankato, Tammy Bohlke, 507-389-2572

• Minnesota State College Southeast, Calvin Clemons, 507-450-0683

• Cloud State University, Ileana Merten, 320-308-6160

• University of Minnesota, College of Continuing and Professional Studies, Helen Weber, 612-301-8637

o Monarch Health Management partnership

• University of Minnesota, Technological Leadership Institute, Allison Hubel, 612-626-4451

o Essentia Health partnership

• University of Minnesota, Technological Leadership Institute, David Nguyen, 612-281-3573

o Ryan Companies and Target Corporation partnerships

• University of Minnesota, Technological Leadership Institute, Travis Thul, 651-399-6826

o Polaris, Toro, Thermo King and Design Ready Controls partnership

DEED is the state’s principal economic development agency, promoting business recruitment, expansion and retention, workforce development, international trade and community development. Find out how DEED delivers for Minnesota by visiting the DEED website,  JoinUsMn.com, CareerForceMN.com or follow us on X.

 

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