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M State gets competitive workforce grants

Minnesota State Community and Technical College has been awarded $65,000 in grants from West Central Initiative for projects designed to boost employment skills for workers in health care and manufacturing in west central Minnesota.

The awards are part of WCI's first-ever Competitive Workforce Grants.

M State received a $40,000 grant for a joint project between six manufacturers and two school districts.

The project, called Machining for Manufacturing, is focused on the Detroit Lakes, Fergus Falls and Perham area and will provide current workers with machining training and mentoring that will allow them to advance in their careers.

Also through the machining grant, the Fergus Falls and Detroit Lakes high schools will upgrade equipment and revise their industrial technology curriculum to make it more relevant to the needs of local manufacturers.

A second grant provides $25,000 for a joint project between M State and four long-term care facilities in Alexandria, Fergus Falls, Glenwood and Wheaton.

Through the Long-Term Healthcare Workforce Development project, nursing assistants will receive specialty training that will be linked to bonuses and help advance the nursing assistants on a health care career path.

The proposal also targets licensed practical nurses for training.

Both Machining for Manufacturing and the Long-Term Healthcare Workforce Development project will be directed by M State's Custom Training Services, which applied for the grants.

The Competitive Workforce Grants are intended to improve the economy of west central Minnesota by providing one year of start-up funding for organizations and communities to launch promising new workforce development strategies that address skill shortages in the area. WCI awarded a total of six grants for $100,000.

West Central Initiative, based in Fergus Falls, is a regional community foundation that serves nine counties in west central Minnesota.

As a member of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system, M State serves more than 9,200 students in credit courses each year in more than 120 career and liberal arts programs at its four campuses in Detroit Lakes, Fergus Falls, Moorhead and Wadena, and through eCampus.

By partnering with communities, the college also provides custom training services and other responsive training programs.