Posted: July 19, 2006

Contact: Doug Anderson,, 651-201-1426

Thousands of Minnesota workers will upgrade their skills and improve the profitability of Minnesota businesses with customized workplace training provided by 21 Minnesota State Colleges and Universities.

The training will be funded with 15 grants totaling more than $3.1 million from the Minnesota Job Skills Partnership Program, according to the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development. The grants, which will assist more than 2,200 workers, are being given out under two programs.

The Special Incumbent Worker Training Program focuses on expanding opportunities for businesses and employed workers in high-demand occupations. These grants include:

$243,310 to Inver Hills Community College and the IP Telephony consortium to train 110 information technology workers from eight participating businesses in Cisco IP Telephone Support Specialist certification.

$400,000 to Dakota County Technical College, the Truck Driving Consortium and the Minnesota Teamsters Service Bureau to address a shortage of qualified commercial drivers.

. $269,159 to Pine Technical College and Deli Express to train 571 employees in functional workplace English, cross-cultural skills and retail site services. The Consortium for Manufacturing and Applied Engineering - a Minnesota State Colleges and Universities Center of Excellence based at Bemidji State University - will assist.

. $293,712 to Pine Technical College and Reviva, a manufacturer of diesel and gas engines, for a two-year project to train 172 production and managerial employees in production-related areas.

. $284,164 to Riverland Community College and Viracon, which manufactures architectural glass, for a three-year grant to recruit and train 200 minority workers.

. $350,000 to Northland Community and Technical College and Manufacturing Skills Consortium to facilitate the integration of the Manufacturing Skill Standards Council's Production Technician Certification throughout the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities.

The Low-Income Worker Training Program, which began in 2005, pays for training individuals with incomes at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty line. These grants include:

. $58,305 to South Central College, Community Action Center of Northfield, Inc., and Faribault Adult Basic Education to recruit, assess and train 33 eligible low-income workers to become production welders. A customized English-as-a-Second-Language course will address safety and welding vocabulary needs.

. $88,190 Dakota County Technical College and Lifetrack Resources to identify, screen and prepare 105 individuals for the 40-hour customized customer service training in health care support careers.

. $259,997 to Minnesota State College-Southeast Technical, Rochester Community and Technical College, Riverland Community College, Winona State University and Workforce Development, Inc. to refer and select 210 low-income, disadvantaged individuals to be trained as certified nursing assistants.

. $172,468 to Normandale Community College and HIRED to address recruitment and retention challenges in the hospitality industry. About 120 participants will be trained for full-time, entry-level positions.

. $52,693 to Central Lakes College and Rural Minnesota CEP, Inc. to train 24 unemployed or underemployed individuals for health and manufacturing careers in central Minnesota.

. $156,288 to Minnesota West Community and Technical College, St. Cloud Technical College, Ridgewater College, South Central College, ROCORI Community Education, Sauk Rapids-Rice Adult Basic Education, Melrose Community Education, Southwest Minnesota Private Industry Council, Faribault Adult Basic Education, Willmar Adult Basic Education and Southwest Adult Basic Education to increase the diversity of the greater Minnesota health care workforce by helping 128 individuals start a health care career and assist those who do not speak English as a primary language.

. $158,350 to St. Paul College, Century College, Hennepin Technical College, North Hennepin Community College, College of St. Catherine and International Institute of Minnesota to help 70 immigrants learn language and academic skills needed for employment in a variety of medical professions.

. $187,391 to Anoka Technical College, Anoka-Ramsey Community College and Anoka County Job Training Center to train 90 new recruits as universal health care workers for older adults, a new job classification in residential care settings.

. $155,520 to Anoka-Ramsey Community College, Anoka County Job Training Center and Metro North Adult Basic Education for training workers in entry-level assembly and manufacturing positions in the medical device industry.

The Minnesota Jobs Skills Partnership offers technical, financial and job training assistance to businesses, communities, educational institutions and workers. The board brings businesses with specific education needs together with educational institutions to design customized training programs. In each project, partnering businesses provide a private match, and educational institutions build expertise in their curriculum and support the needs of regional industry.