Minnesota State Mankato’s MinnPoly Selected for $740,000 DEED Grant

June 07, 2024 | Featured

Mankato, Minn. – The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) recently announced that Minnesota State University, Mankato’s MinnPoly was awarded a $740,000 grant as part of the Drive for 5 Workforce initiative, a new effort to prepare Minnesotans for high-demand jobs in five occupational categories: technology, the trades, caring professions, manufacturing and education.

The Drive for 5 Workforce initiative includes $20 million in grant to workforce training and business organizations across the state, according to a DEED press release. MinnPoly is one of more than 20 grant recipients that will train and place an estimated 1,200 Minnesotans over the next 12 months in high-demand jobs, benefiting an estimated 3,000 Minnesota businesses.

MinnPoly’s grant will support talent development for the electronic manufacturing sector through workforce development and employee upskilling, said Brian Martensen, interim executive director of MinnPoly.

According to Martensen, the grant will provide funding for a partnership with electronics manufacturing organization SMTA, headquartered in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, that allows current industry employees, as well as community college graduates, to participate in the program and received industry certifications during a manufacturing-targeted leadership academy.

Martensen said each academy participant has the option of entering one of Minnesota State Mankato’s unique work-based bachelor’s degree programs focused on integrated engineering, engineering/technology management, automation engineering, or applied analytics. Students receive mentorship from industry professionals and faculty during their remaining 1 ½ to two years working in the field while mapping their industry experience to degree learning outcomes.

“The program provides stackable, industry-ready credentials to enter or advance in careers in electronics and semiconductor manufacturing,” said Martensen. “But what’s really exciting is that participants can then continue and complete a bachelor’s degree while earning real income as full-time employees.”

Tara Dunn, director of training and education for SMTA, said: “SMTA is excited to collaborate with MinnPoly through this significant initiative. This program will create invaluable opportunities for our members and the industry, driving innovation and excellence in electronics manufacturing in Minnesota.”

For more information about the grant awarded to MinnPoly, please contact Brian Martensen by email at brian.martensen@mnsu.edu or visit minnpoly.org.

According to the DEED press release, the industries selected to be part of Drive for 5 are projected to be high-growth in the years ahead and provide family-sustaining wages for workers, defined as having a media hourly wage at or above $19.46. Drive for 5 will benefit Minnesotas who want to join the labor force in these in-demand fields and who need training and employment assistance. It will benefit Minnesota’s economy by preparing people for in-demand careers and meeting the needs of employers.

DEED is the state’s principal economic development agency. DEED programs promote business recruitment, expansion and retention; international trade; workforce development; and community development. For more details about the agency and its services, visit the DEED website.

MinnPoly is the first and only polytechnic in Minnesota. MinnPoly offers an educational path that focuses on applied or experiential learning to solve real business challenges.

Minnesota State Mankato, a comprehensive university with 14,635 students, is part of the Minnesota State system, which includes 26 colleges and seven universities.

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