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Grants to Help Provide Job Training

University working with three of area's largest manufacturers.

Jessica Bies, Mankato Free Press, 11-5-2014

MANKATO -- Working with three of the area’s largest manufacturers, Minnesota State University, Mankato will provide training to 1,084 employees during the next several years, infusing the local job market with a wealth of skilled workers and recertifying many of its current laborers.

The effort is made possible by a series of grants. The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development announced over the summer that Minnesota State Mankato and several local businesses will share in Minnesota Job Skills Partnership funds totaling more than $500,000.

The program itself works with businesses and educational institutions to train or retrain workers, expand work opportunities and keep high-quality jobs in the state of Minnesota. Ann Goebel, director of strategic partnerships at Minnesota State Mankato, said the university will provide training in a variety of customized professional courses while establishing long-lasting connections with the three manufacturers.

“The grant is just a starting point for building relationships,” she said after a special grants award ceremony at Minnesota State Mankato Tuesday.

The three businesses awarded the grants are Firmenich in New Ulm; Michael Foods and Northern Star Co. in Gaylord, Le Sueur, Minnetonka and Chaska; and Truck Bodies & Equipment International in Lake Crystal.

Firmenich, to receive $46,697, is the world’s largest privately owned company in the perfume and flavor business with 6,000 employees in 64 countries. Minnesota State Mankato will partner with the business to develop and deliver training for 93 employees at its manufacturing facility in New Ulm.

Michael Foods and Northern Star Co. were awarded $300,000 to develop a threeyear customized training program. It will serve about 770 employees and opens up the door to future partnerships with the companies’ new owner Post Foods, Goebel said.

Another $157,000 in grants is earmarked for Truck Bodies & Equipment International in Lake Crystal, which is the largest company of its kind in the U.S. It will partner with Minnesota State Mankato to develop customized training for 145 current and 75 new employees.

The entire version of this story can be read in a print copy of the Mankato Free Press. Call the Mankato Free Press at 625-4451 or (800) 657-4662 to find out how to purchase a print copy. The Free Press also prints select stories online at

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