GMNP, DEED work together to ensure new job training program works for Greater Minnesota

In 2015, the Minnesota legislature passed legislation to create a new job training program that is fast, flexible and employer-driven. The program, modeled after a similar program that has been successful in North Dakota, was funded at $1.8 million over the next two years. The Greater Minnesota Partnership was instrumental in helping to research, develop the legislation and advocate for this new program, which aims to help communities and businesses fill the rising number of job vacancies in Greater Minnesota (there has been a 126% increase in job vacancies since 2006 in Greater Minnesota compared to a 46% increase in the metro area).

The Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) recently released its guide to the job training program, which GMNP members Ryan Nolander of the Albert Lea Economic Development Agency, Albert Lea city Administrator Chad Adams and Jim Fisher of Zumbro River Brands quickly spotted as being unworkable because the wage requirement was too high. Upon further review by GMNP staff, it was discovered that the wage data that DEED was using in its guide was from a different source than what had been required under state statute. Over the past week, staff members from the GMNP and DEED worked together and gathered the correct data (U.S. Census American Community Survey data rather than data based on unemployment insurance claims). By catching this discrepancy, we were able to work with DEED to ensure the correct data is used and prevent significant issues with the program before grants are administered. Thanks to Ryan, Chad and Jim for their input, and thanks to the staff at DEED for their flexibility and commitment to making sure the program operates as intended.

For more information on the new job training program, go to http://mn.gov/deed/business/financing-business/mjsp/training-grants/index.jsp and click on “Job Training Incentive Program.”