ACCESS for Youth and Young Adults


Advocating for College and Career Education Success in Southwest Minnesota (ACCESS) for Youth and Young Adults

Some quotes from participants:

“I see the value of working and earning money-it has given me a sense of purpose and higher self worth”

“I found the program very helpful as it has increased my skills for working and I also learned that if you work hard you can go far”

“I realize more than before that education is the cause of your success in the work place.”

The ACCESS for Young Adult Program, formerly the Southwest Minnesota Private Industry Council’s Youth Programs, is committed to helping youth ages 16-24 prepare for the workforce. ACCESS offers employment and training programs for young adults looking to obtain employment, maintain employment, and/or advance in their career pathway by means of secondary school completion, entering a post-secondary education program (short-term/long-term), Apprenticeship, work experience, or on-the-job training.

The ACCESS team realizes that we have work to do in educating our regional population about what the NEW definition of College is: any post-high school training opportunity resulting in an earned credential, from a certificate to a bachelor’s degree and beyond. The team also realizes that a College Going Culture needs to be woven into the fabric of the culture in our region.  To make this happen we need to affect attitudes, and practices in schools and communities that encourage students and their families to obtain the information, tools and perspectives to enhance readiness for access to and success in post-secondary education.

Because Southwest Minnesota is so diverse and covers a large population, we are able to use our mutual contacts and individual resources to produce a program that will reach a population that resides in rural isolation consisting of low-income and First Generation College seeking people.  Our goal is to provide a program that will impact and improve the way one views their future opportunities.  We would like to see more young adults in the SW region get some kind of training beyond high school to break the cycle of poverty in the area.  When this happens we believe it will also increase community involvement, produce more business leaders, improve health and increase voting to mention a few improvements.

Vision: To work in partnership to ensure that all youth have access to the services they need to become self-sufficient adults.

Mission: To guide the coordination of services that fully develop the employment potential of youth in Southwest Minnesota.

Our PIC ACCESS team works one-on-one, and in group or cohort settings to increase the skills of our region’s youth so they might become more marketable in today’s economy. It is estimated that by 2020 over 60% of jobs will require some sort of post-secondary education and/or training.  With state, federal and private sector funding, the SW MN PIC offers youth the ability to earn wages, receive academic credit, stackable credentials, apprenticeships, on-the-job training, and gain leadership skills that transcend into adulthood.

ACCESS for Young Adults offers comprehensive training to young adults ages 16-24, in our 14-county service area (Big Stone, Chippewa, Cottonwood, Jackson, Lac qui Parle, Lincoln, Lyon, Murray, Nobles, Pipestone, Redwood, Rock, Swift, and Yellow Medicine counties) who traditionally face barriers to successful employment. We coordinate fundamental career and technical skills training concentrating on high-growth, in-demand industries in southwest Minnesota. The expressed need throughout each industry is the increasing demand for skills with the ability to advance along the employer or industry career pathway for rewarding successful career opportunities throughout the region.

Eligibility Guidelines

Any student in our residing in our fourteen county service area that is 14-21 years old who meets established guidelines may be considered for services. Applications are available for download on this page, from local school counselors, teachers, county family service agencies, and probation officers, or by contacting your local WorkForce Center.

WIOA Youth Eligibility

The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) provides out-of-school youth between the ages of 16 and 24 and in-school youth between the ages of 14 and 21 with year-round employment and training services. Under this law passed in 2014, WIOA youth services emphasize services to out-of-school and disconnected youth, high school dropout recovery and attainment of recognized postsecondary credentials.  Out-of-school youth under WIOA is a person between the ages of 16 and 24 who is not attending ANY school and is one or more of the following: a school dropout; a youth who is within age of compulsory school attendance in Minnesota but has not attended for at least the most recent complete school year calendar quarter; a youth with a high school diploma or equivalent who is low income and is basic skills deficient or is an English language learner; an offender; a homeless, runaway or foster youth; a pregnant or parenting youth; a youth with a disability; or a low-income individual who requires additional assistance to enter or complete an educational program or to secure and hold employment.

MYP Youth Eligibility

The Minnesota Youth Program serves low-income and at-risk youth ages 14 to 24 who lack academic and “applied skills” considered critical for current and future workplace needs. For more information contact your local WorkForce Center.

Available Services and Resources

Services for eligible* youth and young adults may vary some versus those services available to universal** youth and young adults, employers, and/or schools. For more information please contact your local Workforce Center.

ACCESS Outreach to Schools

The Southwest Minnesota Private Industry Council (PIC), a partner in the WorkForce Center System, is excited to offer the ACCESS Outreach to Schools services to youth, young adults, and school districts in the region. The vision of the PIC ACCESS for Young Adults Program is to work in partnership with school districts to ensure that all youth have access to the services they need to become self-sufficient and successful adults. We are eager to continue partnering with you to achieve this goal.

Please contact Eriann Faris, Youth Program Manager for more information regarding the ACCESS Outreach to Schools component.


Minnesota American Indian Center Workforce Investment Act (MAIC/WIA)

Workforce Investment Act (WIA) funds for Native Americans are sent directly to Native American communities and organizations.

  • The Minneapolis American Indian Center handles employment and training programs for American Indians, Alaskan Native and Hawaiian Natives in 71 counties throughout the state of Minnesota (excluding Aitkin, Becker, Beltrami, Carlton, Cass, Clearwater, Cook, Hennepin, Hubbard, Itasca, Koochiching, Lake, Mahnomen, Mille Lacs, Pine, and St. Louis counties). Services include career counseling, case management, work experience, on-the-job training, limited assistance for both short-term training (one year or less) and long-term training (two years or less), assistance with GED test fees (and a GED Employment & Training Award of $150 to those who complete their GED and enroll in career training and/or secure permanent employment), as well as supportive services to those who secure permanent employment.

Interested participants does not need to be enrolled in a tribe, however they do need to provide proof of ancestry (which can be done through an enrolled parent or grandparent).

Interested participants should call 1-800-486-8797. A MAIC/WIA worker will ask questions to determine initial eligibility and can then mail or fax an application form to you. Once the completed application and required papers are processed, an appointment will be scheduled at a local workforce center, GED facility, library or college scheduled for the intake assessment.