Workforce Development Inc. will receive $400,000 to train underrepresented workers for clean energy jobs | Local

ST. PAUL, Minn. – Southeastern Minnesota is sharing $2.7 million in state grants to build career pathways for Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) and low-income Minnesotans in union jobs in construction, clean energy and energy efficiency.

Gov. Tim Walz announced the grant award Tuesday.

“A green economy gives us a healthier future while ensuring that all Minnesotans can benefit from clean and renewable energy. This includes equal opportunity to fill innovative positions that become available,” says Governor Walz. “These grants help us build the skilled, diverse workforce we need to achieve 100% clean energy by 2040.”

$400,000 will be donated to Workforce Development, Inc. based in Rochseter to create development paths for the construction industry. The organization has nine locations in southeastern Minnesota.

“Climate change has disproportionately affected the people who are least responsible for the problem: low-income communities and communities of color,” says Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan. “That’s why these grants are so important. They help us ensure that people who continue to struggle with the negative impacts of climate change have the opportunity to fill well-paid jobs that are part of a more sustainable economy. These grants are a small step towards climate justice.”

Eight other workforce development organizations across Minnesota will also receive funding from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) Clean Economy Equitable Workforce initiative, a new program to develop a skilled, diverse workforce to support the state’s transition to a green economy .

“The Clean Economy Equitable Workforce Program invests in historically overlooked workers to provide BIPOC communities with rewarding career opportunities,” says DEED Commissioner Matt Varilek. “Minnesota needs workers with the right skills to build and implement climate solutions that promote energy efficiency, increase resilience and support the state’s transition to clean energy. DEED helps prepare Minnesota’s workforce to fill a growing number of good-paying new jobs as the state moves toward a cleaner, more sustainable, more equitable and climate-ready economy.”

All grant recipients will provide program participants with the following services:

– Employee training, case management services and support towards certification or credentialing.

– Career development support, which includes setting career goals based on an individual’s strengths and removing potential barriers to achieving goals.

– Workers’ rights training, including introduction to trade unions, legal advice and wage recovery.

– Job placement and advancement with employer partners offering self-sustaining remuneration and/or the opportunity to participate in registered apprenticeships.

– Culturally and linguistically appropriate job preparation training programs.

“Minnesota’s clean energy companies employ tens of thousands of workers and will create many more clean energy and energy efficiency jobs as the state moves toward achieving its 100% clean electricity commitment by 2040,” says Marc Majors, DEED Deputy Commissioner for Workforce Development. “This initiative helps eliminate workforce barriers and invests in the career readiness and skills development of BIPOC workers who want to join the rapidly growing clean energy field. Additionally, we are pleased to partner with the Wilson Foundation and the Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropies on this initiative as they offer additional funding opportunities for DEED grantees in this critical sector.”

The following organizations also received Clean Economy Equitable Workforce grants:

$400,000 to Avivo for HVAC training. The organization is based in Minneapolis and has 10 locations around the Greater Twin Cities metro, including Buffalo, Milaca and St. Cloud.

$400,000 for Summit Academy OIC to train electricians and carpenters. The organization has two locations in Minneapolis.

$340,000 for the Southwestern Minnesota Private Industry Council to train technicians in power lines, solar energy, wind turbines and electric vehicles, and home energy efficiency training. The organization has offices in Marshall, Montevideo and Worthington and serves 14 counties in southwestern Minnesota.

LEASE $310,000 for home energy audit and home insulation training. The organization is based in Minneapolis and serves the Twin Cities metropolitan area.

$300,000 to Minnesota Training Partnerships for wind energy installation and millwright training. This St.-based nonprofit organization Paul was founded by the Minnesota AFL-CIO.

$200,000 for Community Action Duluth’s green building initiative and home energy reduction training.

$200,000 to Unidos Minnesota for pre-apprenticeship training. The Latino-led organization is based in Minneapolis.

$150,000 to the Initiative Foundation for energy efficiency training. The organization is based in Little Falls and serves central Minnesota.