Workforce Development one of nine organizations to receive funding to train underrepresented workers in clean energy careers – Austin Daily Herald

Workforce Development is one of nine organizations that will receive funding to train underrepresented workers in clean energy careers

Posted 8:50 am Wednesday, June 12, 2024

An organization with connections in Austin is one of several Minnesota organizations that received grants to build clean energy career pathways for people from underrepresented communities.

Workforce Development, based in Rochester with offices in nine areas of southeastern Minnesota, including Austin, was one of nine organizations to receive a portion of $2.7 million in grants for Black, Indigenous workers and people of color (BIPOC), as well as low-income workers and Minnesotans.

The pathways will lead workers to union jobs in fields such as construction, clean energy and energy efficiency.

Gov. Tim Walz announced the grant award on Tuesday. The funding will come 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.

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

Workforce Development received $400,000 for development opportunities in the construction industry.

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 that includes setting career goals based on an individual’s strengths and removing potential barriers to achieving goals.
  • Employee 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.

The Wilson Foundation and Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropies issued a joint request for proposals to nine DEED grantees to strategically combine private support with government funding. The aim of private support is to enable beneficiaries to provide participants with flexible financial resources that go beyond standard comprehensive support, which will further enable them to achieve success. In July, DEED scholarship recipients will receive up to $600,000 in private funding.