Workforce Development gets part of total $7M in grants from state

Published 5:48 pm Tuesday, July 11, 2023

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Gov. Tim Walz and the Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) announced Tuesday more than $7 million in grants have been awarded to 47 organizations to provide young people workforce development and training opportunities.

As part of that $7 million, $225,000 has been earmarked for Workforce Development, Inc., which serves southeast Minnesota and has an office in Austin. 

 “The job training we provide for our young people today will pay off for our entire state tomorrow,” Walz said. “This training will grow our workforce and help thousands of kids fill the good-paying jobs we have available and need to fill right now. With these grants, 47 organizations will be able to provide that leg up, helping us reach our goal of allowing every child, in every neighborhood and community across our state, to thrive.”

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DEED’s Office of Youth Development awarded the Youth at Work grants to organizations providing services to economically disadvantaged or at-risk youth ages 14 to 24. These programs will support youth of color, youth with disabilities, and economically disadvantaged youth by connecting them with good-paying jobs in high-growth industries.

 “The Youth at Work program services young people of Minnesota who face barriers to employment and educational success,” said DEED Commissioner Matt Varilek. “One of our goals at DEED is to create opportunities for our most vulnerable populations where obstacles might exist, and these youth development and job training programs are crucial to the well-being of our communities and our state’s economy.”

 The Youth at Work program has statewide impact:metro-focused organizations received 59% of available funds while Greater Minnesota received 39% of available funds. The remaining 2% of available funds went to organizations serving both  Metro and Greater Minnesota.

 As the state continues to make investments to get young Minnesotans into training and development programs, DEED’s Youth at Work program partners across the state are helping support the workforce of today and tomorrow in finding economic stability and developing new skills. 

The program is in high demand: last fiscal year, DEED received over $17.7 million in funding requests from 60 organizations for the Youth at Work program. 

Lawmakers recently doubled funding for the program in order to provide the necessary support. 

 “The Youth at Work program is one of the ways DEED is investing In Minnesota’s future. Helping youth gain soft skills and jobs skills are critical to building a strong pipeline of workers and advance Minnesota’s economy,” said DEED Deputy Commissioner for Workforce Development Marc Majors. “Thank you to Governor Walz, Lieutenant Governor Flanagan, and lawmakers for making this program a priority.”