WORTHINGTON — A grant combined with collaboration between multiple entities has led to a gift that will benefit students in the Minnesota West Community & Technical College law enforcement program. 

Ryan McGaughey | The Daily Globe | December 9th, 2020

EDITOR’S NOTE: Masks were only removed for one minute to take the photo. Minnesota West strictly adheres to the wearing of masks by students and faculty when within the 6-foot distance. 

Following the SW MN Private Industry Council’s successful application for a Pathways to Prosperity grant, the council opted to team with the college and Southwest Adult Basic Education on a project involving a 10-week welding and blueprint class offered for six college credits.

“The grant covers 100 percent of the students’ tuition and any type of supplies they require,” explained Sandy Demuth, a Private Industry Council career specialist.

Welding and blueprint instructor Kenny Pohlman proceeded to work with AGCO in Jackson, which donated steel to the class. The result — a swinging target for law enforcement program students — was formally presented Thursday afternoon.

According to Demuth, the creation is merely the latest collaborative project for PIC, which consistently uses such grants as opportunities to offer training to youths and adults in high-demand jobs.

“We apply and get funds for a whole year,” Demuth said of the grant, which is administered through a Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) program.

“Programs by grantees help job seekers develop increased career awareness, participate in education training and skills-training programs, obtain certificates, industry recognized credentials and post-secondary credits, and connect to employment in high growth, high demand industries with long-term opportunities,” states an explanation of the Pathways to Prosperity program on the DEED website. Teams of reviewers for the competitive grants are composed of DEED and community organization representatives, it adds.

“We’ve used the grant money for certified nursing assistant, trained medication aide, community health worker and welding classes — we’ve got a CNA class going right now, too,” Demuth said. “We keep doing classes as the needs come up.”

Demuth added that PIC analyzes labor market information and determines the types of employment needs in deciding how to distribute grant money.

“The grant involves many partnerships that result in the students gaining excellent skills and lifelong employment opportunities,” she said.

Minnesota West Workplace Solutions Coordinator Roxanne Hayenga was pleased that one group of students at the college were able to work together to help another student group.

“It was a combination of information exchanged between the law enforcement program at Minnesota West and the welding instructors,” Hayenga said.

“It’s just huge that these kinds of partnerships come together to result in opportunities,” Demuth said.

Demuth encouraged individuals interested in working with PIC to contact her office at (507) 295-5020.