November 1 through November 7 is National Apprenticeship Week, and Minnesota did some great things last session to promote innovation and apprenticeship expansion.
Forbes recognized our state's leadership in an article earlier this week, citing the Minnesota PIPELINE project that "brings employers, local colleges and state officials together to develop occupation skill standards in four areas where job growth is expected to be high: advanced manufacturing, healthcare services, IT and agriculture."
Bipartisan legislation I authored earlier this year that was signed into law established a dual training grant program with the Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) to fund training for occupations in those four fields.
The Department of Labor and Industry is tasked with providing competency standards for fifteen of the highest need occupations within those four areas, and this new law provides grants for occupations for which the competency standards have been completed.
Businesses who apply for this employee training grant share the costs with DEED, and the apprenticeship training is taught by both private colleges and Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) who have a proven track record in providing customized training.
Many places around the state, particularly in Greater Minnesota, are facing shortages of workers with training in technical fields. Cutting into our workforce shortage and getting more people the training they need to have good, high-paying jobs is beneficial to everyone.
I'm so pleased Minnesota's efforts to improve our skill-based economy is being recognized nationally. I hope next session we can continue to innovate and implement more meaningful reforms that help close the skills-gap and boost our state's economy.
If you'd like to learn more about PIPELINE or how to apply, you can check out the Department of Labor and Industry's website here: http://www.doli.state.mn.us/Pipeline.asp
As always, please feel free to contact me about any state legislative issue. You can e-mail at Rep.Marion.ONeill@House.MN or call my office at 651-296-5063. You can also write a letter to me. My office address at the Capitol is 549 State Office Building, 100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd, St. Paul, MN 55155.