The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) has awarded three grants totaling $500,000 beginning SFY 2021 for the Career Pathways Pilot Program (CP3) to Local Workforce Development Areas (LWDAs) to develop and implement career pathways programs that strengthen access to work experience opportunities. Specifically, these projects are designed to promote racial equity as well as gender and disability equality by prioritizing services to youth of color, young women, youth with disabilities, and young veterans. Within the youth workforce development system, paid work experiences serve a critical role for young people in acquiring career-specific skills, advancing work-readiness, and connecting to longer-term career opportunities. LWDAs are required to partner with a community-based organization, a local education agency, and an employer. These funds supplement the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) Youth formula funding that the LWDAs receive on an annual basis. These grants will allow the LWDAs to expand programming to serve additional economically disadvantaged youth ages 14-24.

The Southwest Minnesota Private Industry Council and South Central Workforce Council were awarded $250,000 through open competition and were selected for funding as MN WIOA Region 5. The MN WIOA Region 5 CP3 project will help eliminate the barriers contributing to economic disparities by supporting youth to 1) complete their high school education, or equivalent 2) provide work readiness skills training to prepare youth for the world of work 3) provide rich labor market information on high-growth, in-demand occupations so youth are aware of real, local career opportunities, and 4) provide hands on learning through training, work experience and career counseling services to help youth identify career goals and the career pathway to that career.

This unique culturally appropriate project will serve 40 diverse youth from the Lower Sioux Indian Community and six local school districts with higher concentrations of youth of color including Madelia, Mankato, St. James, Le Sueur-Henderson, St. Peter and Tri-City United.

The project provides youth high quality training leading to industry recognized credentials in healthcare, manufacturing, information technology and construction with hands-on work experience opportunities.

For more information contact Eriann Faris in Southwest Minnesota at efaris@swmnpic.org or Heather Gleason in South Central Minnesota at hgleason@workforcecouncil.org.