Minnesota Lawmakers Announce More Than $17 Million to Support Job-Driven Training Programs at 14 Minnesota Community Colleges

Oct 2, 2014 Issues: Education

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S Senators Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken and Representatives Collin Peterson, Betty McCollum, Keith Ellison, Tim Walz, and Rick Nolan today announced more than $17 million in grants to support job-driven training programs at 14 community colleges in Minnesota. The grants are provided through the Department of Labor’s (DOL) Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training competitive grant initiative. Funding can be used for developing new curricula and training models, hiring and training instructors, purchasing new equipment, and other activities.

“For Minnesota to succeed in the 21st century economy, we need a 21st century education system,” Klobuchar said. “Our schools need to foster partnerships with local businesses and create new job training opportunities that will connect our students to the jobs of tomorrow that business are creating today. That is the best way for our students to succeed and for Minnesota businesses to remain ahead of the curve and competitive in the global marketplace.”

“One of my top priorities is to help Minnesotans get the tools they need to find good jobs,” Franken said. “Right now, our nation is facing a ‘skills gap’ that has left more than 3 million jobs unfilled because there aren't enough workers with the skills and training to fill them. That’s why I’ve championed these types of partnerships with legislation in the Senate and why I strongly supported these grants. We need to train students for the skilled jobs that are available and this will bolster that important effort.”

“With these grants, schools will be able to provide Minnesota students with the necessary skills and advanced training needed to succeed in today’s job market,” Peterson said. “Support for job-driven training also benefits our communities by ensuring that Minnesota businesses can employ local, highly-skilled employees.”

“With these TAACCCT grants, the Obama administration is making a great investment in our state’s community colleges,” said McCollum.  “With this support for the education of students in the construction, utilities, and manufacturing fields, we are building the workforce that builds a stronger Minnesota.”

“Minnesota is leading the nation when it comes to training people to find highly-skilled jobs right out of our community colleges,” Rep. Ellison said. “The Department of Labor grant will ensure Minnesota’s community colleges continue to equip students with the skills to find good job opportunities in our communities”

“The number one thing I hear from Minnesota employers is that they need more highly skilled workers in order to grow and compete in the global market,” Walz said. “We must ensure our students have the tools and training they need to fill these good paying jobs, start and provide for their family, and contribute to their local community. These job training programs at community and technical colleges are critical to this endeavor, and I’m pleased we’re taking steps to expand them here at home.”

“I am particularly proud to recognize the leadership role of faculty and students at Pine Technical and Community College in Pine City, Central Lakes College in Brainerd, and Bemidji State University as they use this money to advance their state of the art offerings in rural information technology and manufacturing," Nolan said. “These grants will help create good jobs and improve our quality of life in northern Minnesota.”

Minnesota State Community and Technical College in Fergus Falls will receive $2.5 million to provide training and certifications in the construction and utilities industry. South Central College in North Mankato is leading a group of 13 colleges that will receive nearly $15 million – including $5.6 million for South Central College – to focus on training in the advanced manufacturing industry. The 13 schools included in the consortium are: Bemidji State University (360° Center of Excellence in Manufacturing); Century College; Dakota County Technical College; Lake Superior College; Minneapolis Community & Technical College; MN State Community and Technical College; MN West Community and Technical College; Nomandale Community College; Northland Community & Technical College; Ridgewater College; Riverland Community College; South Central College; and Saint Paul College.

For more information on the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training Grant Program, click here.