Klobuchar, Franken, Peterson Announce $13 Million for Minnesota Colleges Including Central Lakes College in Staples to Train Workers for Manufacturing Jobs

Sep 20, 2012 Issues: Economy and Jobs, Education

WASHINGTON, D.C – Today, U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken and Representative Collin Peterson announced $13 million for four Minnesota colleges, including Central Lakes College in Staples, to expand their programs to train workers for high-wage, high-skilled manufacturing jobs in Minnesota. A recent study from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development found that nearly half of manufacturers in the state have job openings they can’t fill because they can’t find employees with the skills they need.


The grant from the Department of Labor will be used to create the Regional Advanced Manufacturing Re-Training (RAMR) program to equip workers with industry-recognized qualifications in an effort to lead to high-wage, high-skilled employment opportunities for an estimated 3,900 workers. The RAMR program seeks to target veterans, the long-term unemployed, and workers who lost their jobs due to manufacturing jobs moving overseas.


“This grant will enable Central Lakes College to provide its students with the necessary skills and advanced training needed in today’s job market,” Peterson said. “The RAMR program will help our communities continue to grow by ensuring local businesses can employ local, high-skilled workers.”


“From paper mills to poultry lines, American industry is changing. Increasingly, economic success depends on matching advanced technology with workers who have specialized skills to use that technology and get the job done,” said Sen. Klobuchar. “This investment will help Minnesota be a leader in the effort to prepare students for the ‘jobs of tomorrow’ that our businesses are creating today.”


"Nearly every manufacturer I’ve talked with in Minnesota has told me that they have jobs they can’t fill because they can’t find workers with the right skills—something that shouldn’t be happening at a time when far too many Minnesotans are struggling to find work,” said Sen. Franken. "This grant will help provide manufacturers with a trained workforce, so that Minnesota businesses can grow and successfully compete."


“This is a great example of two-year colleges working together with public and private entities to meet the region’s needs. The grant is a tremendous boost for regional manufacturing, students and for the colleges,” said Dr. Larry A. Lundblad, President Central Lakes College. “This is a wonderful day for rural Minnesota and career and technical education.”

The grant will be administered through the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training program and will also be provided to St. Cloud Technical and Community College in St. Cloud, Pine Technical College in Pine City, and Bemidji State University in Bemidji.