Southwest Minnesota Private Industry Council Receives Four Grants to Empower Youth and Strengthen the Workforce

The Southwest Minnesota Private Industry Council (PIC), a leading nonprofit organization committed to building tomorrow’s workforce through training and leadership, announces the receipt of four grants totaling over $500,000 that will propel its efforts to empower youth and enhance the workforce across their 14-county region of Southwest Minnesota. These grants include LYFT, Otto Bremer Trust, and two DEED grants – Youth at Work and Youth Support Services.

As a school-to-career intermediary organization, the PIC serves as a single point of contact for employers and schools, aiming to increase students’ and parents’ knowledge of local career opportunities and facilitate Career Exploration, Skills Training and Career Experience activities for students in southwest Minnesota. The PIC staff connects students with local employers and assists students in developing marketable experiences and skills needed by the business. The students and the employers benefit from our programs as we develop an essential talent pipeline of future workers to local employers.

“Investing in our youth, expanding their knowledge of career opportunities and equipping them for the workforce is not only important for the student but also vital for the future workforce of southwest Minnesota”

– Carrie Bendix, Executive Director of the PIC.

The PIC expresses gratitude to Governor Walz, Lieutenant Governor Flanagan, the Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED), Otto Bremer Trust, LYFT and all the grant partners and sponsors for their belief in the organization’s mission and their support for the Youth Career Connector initiative and youth development programs.


Governor Tim Walz and the Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) awarded over $7 million in grants to 47 organizations, with the PIC receiving $448,323 in collaboration with South-Central Workforce Council/Minnesota Valley Action Council. The Youth at Work program will provide workforce development and training opportunities for economically disadvantaged or at-risk youth ages 14 to 24. By connecting young people with good-paying jobs in high-growth industries, this initiative aims to create economic stability and development opportunities for Minnesota’s youth.


The Otto Bremer Trust is a private charitable trust based in St. Paul, Minn. Created in 1944 by business and community leader Otto Bremer, it is committed to supporting a better quality of life for residents of Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota, and Wisconsin. Since its founding, OBT has invested more than $1 billion in people, places, and opportunities in its region. Visit


The Launch Your Future Today (LYFT) Pathways funding, a rural CTE pathway initiative, provided $15,000 to the PIC to advance Career Connected Leaming services to expand and enhance career exploration and work-based learning opportunities for schools and students in grades 7-12 through connections with business and industrv. . s LYFT focuses on rebuilding career and technical education in Southwest and West Central Minnesota and to create pathways to further education and careers for the region’s youth. Visit


The Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) announced $950,000 in funding from DEED’s Youth Support Services program for 12 organizations around the state.

Through the Support Services Competitive Grant Program, the PIC received $40,000/year jointly with South Central Workforce Council. This grant aims to address employment disparities to promising communities and build a pipeline of workers by providing a comprehensive set of services, including youth-centered career exploration, employment preparation, industry-recognized credential training, work experience/internships, and job placement. Targeting communities with the highest unemployment and poverty rates, the Youth Support Services Grant aims to address disparities, break down barriers, and provide the necessary support to unlock their full potential.


The Southwest Minnesota Private Industry Council (PIC) works to build tomorrow’s workforce through partnerships with a shared focus on training and leadership. We are a private, nonprofit organization that offers customized training and employment services for individuals and businesses in a 14-county area of Southwest Minnesota. We also facilitate services through three CareerForce Centers in Marshall, Montevideo, and Worthington. For 38 years, the PIC has helped build a skilled and qualified workforce. The PIC’s Youth and Young Adult Division works with employers and educators to assist students with career exploration, career preparation, and skills training that align with the needs of local employers. This is accomplished through work-based learning activities, career-focused events, and workplace experiences.

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