Detroit Lakes High School will use a $90,000 state grant to develop partnerships with local businesses involved in manufacturing, health care and agriculture.

"Our initial partners to get the program started will be BTD, Ecumen and Bergen's," said Vern Schnathorst, School to Work Program coordinator for Detroit Lakes Public Schools, adding that more businesses can be brought into the program as it develops.

DLHS was announced last week as one of 17 recipients of a Youth Skills Training Grant from the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry.

Grant funds can be used "to create programs, recruit students and employers, provide training, transport students and pay for student certifications," according to the news release from Gov. Tim Walz's office.

“Youth Skills Training grants provide students with hands-on workforce training in high-demand, high-growth fields,” Gov. Tim Walz said in the release. “Employers across the state are facing workforce shortages, and these innovative partnerships connect schools with local business to create career pathways for younger Minnesotans.”

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"These grants allow high schools, businesses and community organizations to work together to train students and create skilled workers for their communities," Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry Commissioner Nancy Leppink said in the release.

Besides the three focus areas included in the Detroit Lakes project, automotive and information technology could also be incorporated, but Schnathorst said that they chose to focus on health care, manufacturing and agriculture because they felt those best fit the need for skilled workers in this community and surrounding areas.

Schnathorst added that the funding will be used locally to develop both classroom training and paid work experiences in each of the three focus areas. Students participating in the program must be 16 years of age or older.

The grant will be officially awarded on July 1, with implementation to start during the 2020-21 school year. Other partnerships to receive YST funding in 2020 were Bemidji Career Academies, Bloomington Public Schools, Burnsville-Eagan-Savage Public Schools, Elk River Area Schools, Faribault Public Schools, Forest Lake Area Schools, Genesys Works Twin Cities (St. Paul), Goodwill Industries (St. Paul), Lakeville Area Schools, Monticello Public Schools, North Branch Area Public Schools, Princeton Public Schools, Ramsey County Workforce Solutions, Red Wing Ignite, South West Metro Intermediate District (Shakopee) and Spark-Y (Minneapolis).

These partnerships represent more than 50 school districts and more than 100 employer partners in advanced manufacturing, agriculture, automotive, health care and information technology, according to the release. A total of $1.5 million in grants were awarded statewide.