Written by Timm Boettcher – Realityworks President and CEO
In January, five community programs throughout the state of Minnesota were awarded $95,000 in grant funding to develop and implement paid learning opportunities for 16- and 17-year-old students. The funding came from the Youth Skills Training Program at the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry (YST@DLI), which was created in 2017 with funding from the Minnesota legislature (Minn. Stat. 175.46) to help communities create local programs that give high school students exposure, training, certifications and paid work experience in five high-demand, high-growth industries: advanced manufacturing, agriculture, automotive, health care and information technology.
To be successful, local programs rely on connections between industry and education to ensure student experience is meaningful and relevant. Five pilot programs were awarded grants last year to develop paid learning opportunities in manufacturing, health care, and information technology; this year, programs in Elk River, Hutchinson, Marshall, Red Wing, St. Paul, White Bear Lake, and Winona will enable students in 27 school districts to get paid work experience in manufacturing and health care.
“Employers throughout the state are reporting an increasing number of unfilled positions in high-paying jobs that require certification or two-year degree and describe significant challenges to find qualified and trainable employees to fill these skilled positions,” said Rich Wessels, Youth Skills Training Program Senior Project Manager. “The YST program is a way to address this issue by connecting industry with education to provide students with opportunities to learn about and gain hands-on experience.”
Click here to read the entire article, which was originally posted in ACTE’s IndustryConnect blog in April 2019.