ST. PAUL – Rep. Dean Urdahl, R-Acton Township, urges local entities to take advantage of grants the Legislature funded this year to assist Greater Minnesota's workforce and workforce housing initiatives.
The grants are available through the Department of Employment and Economic Development and include:
Job training grants
Job training grants are available to help businesses in Greater Minnesota provide skilled job training for the positions at their facilities.
This program provides training grants of up to $100,000 to new or expanding businesses located in Greater Minnesota, which are required to match the grant on a 1-to-1 basis. A total of $900,000 is available each fiscal year 2016 and 2017. Applications for job training grants will be accepted beginning Oct. 15.
"The skills gap in many parts of Minnesota is problematic and is an issue I continue to address at the Capitol," Urdahl said. "We need to do more to match the training our students receive with workforce demands, but these grants will help people already in the workforce receive training for new positions while also helping expand the talent pool for businesses that have a tough time filling some positions."
Rural career counseling coordinators
Funding is available for the hiring of rural career counseling coordinators in the state’s rural workforce service areas. Coordinators will ensure that education and training investments meet the regional needs of community employers in Greater Minnesota.
Each service area may apply for up to $95,000 per year, over the next two years. A total of $475,000 each year for the 2016 and 2017 fiscal years is available. The application deadline is Oct. 16.
Workforce housing grants
A total of $4 million in workforce housing grants was provided to help areas in Greater Minnesota mitigate shortages in workforce housing. Projects for cities outside the metro area will be selected on the basis of need, statewide economic impact, project financial plan and project readiness. Preference will be given to areas with fewer than 18,000 people. Units of local government, nonprofits or the benefiting businesses must contribute $1 for every $2 provided by the program.
The first round of the grant application process will open on Nov. 2 and will close on Jan. 15, 2016. A second round will follow in 2017.
More information on all three programs is available at www.mn.gov/deed or by calling (651) 259-7114.