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Press Release

U.S. Department of Commerce Invests $9.6 Million to Expand Workforce Development Programs in Minnesota and North Dakota Through American Rescue Plan Good Jobs Challenge

Competition Provides Once-In-A-Generation Funding to Locally Driven, Diverse Partnerships to Create and Develop Workforce Training Programs that Support Local Economies

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo announced the Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is awarding a $9.6 million American Rescue Plan Good Jobs Challenge grant to The Chamber Foundation, St. Paul, Minnesota, to strengthen the skilled workforce needed to support the local agriculture, manufacturing, and technology industries in the border region of Minnesota and North Dakota.

This project aims to ensure that training programs meet the unique skills needs of local employers in three sectors critical to the region’s economy: agriculture and food production, manufacturing, and information technology. The project will focus on undeserved communities – including people of color, immigrants, veterans and military spouses, justice-impacted individuals – and provide a variety of wraparound services.

“President Biden is committed to expanding career opportunities for more Americans to secure good-paying jobs,” said Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo. “This EDA investment strengthens three key sectors – agriculture, manufacturing, and IT – that are critical to the economies of Minnesota and North Dakota and builds a strong pipeline of skilled workers that employers need to stay competitive.”

“The Good Jobs Challenge is bringing together diverse partners and local leaders to advance workforce training programs across the country,” said Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Alejandra Y. Castillo. “Led by The Chamber Foundation, this project will reduce barriers by providing wraparound services for individuals who want to take advantage of training opportunities and help ensure that economic prosperity is available to all for decades to come.”

“Our agricultural, manufacturing and information technology sectors are key to the economic success of communities across Northwest Minnesota and North Dakota,” said Senator Amy Klobuchar. “These resources will help workers access the skills and training they need to pursue careers in these critical fields.”

“Agriculture, manufacturing, and technology are critical sectors in Minnesota’s diverse economy,” said Senator Tina Smith. “This investment, made possible by the American Rescue Plan, will help support a well-trained, diverse workforce in these important industries while expanding opportunities in underserved communities. This is a big win for Minnesota workers and our local economy.”

This grant is funded through the American Rescue Plan Good Jobs Challenge. The program awarded grants to 32 worker-centered, industry-led workforce training partnerships across the country. The $500 million program is expanding opportunities for more Americans to access and secure good-paying jobs by investing in innovative approaches to advance worker-centered, industry-led workforce training partnerships.

The 32 awardee projects were selected from a competitive pool of 509 applicants. By partnering with stakeholders such as labor unions, community colleges and industry, these projects will solve for local talent needs, increase the supply of trained workers and help workers secure jobs in 15 key industries that are essential to U.S. supply chains, global competitiveness, and regional development. Through a holistic, integrated partnership approach, these projects will provide tangible opportunities and security for American workers, focusing on serving and supporting a broad range of underserved communities and connecting workers with the training, skills, and support services needed to successfully secure a good job. For more information on the grantees, please visit our fact sheet. (PDF)

The Good Jobs Challenge is part of a suite of American Rescue Plan programs developed by EDA to equitably distribute its $3 billion allocation to assist communities nationwide in their efforts to 4 a better America by accelerating economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic and building local economies that will be more resilient to future economic shocks.

About the U.S. Economic Development Administration (www.eda.gov)
The mission of the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) is to lead the federal economic development agenda by promoting competitiveness and preparing the nation's regions for growth and success in the worldwide economy. An agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce, EDA invests in communities and supports regional collaboration in order to create jobs for U.S. workers, promote American innovation, and accelerate long-term sustainable economic growth.

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