Alexandria College takes to the road to educate Minnesotans in high-demand jobs.

Apr 17, 2024 | 9:16 AM
The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) awarded Alexandria Technical and Community College a $750,000 grant as part of the Drive for 5 Workforce initiative.

The Drive for 5 grants will be used to prepare more Minnesotans for high-demand jobs in five occupational categories: technology, the trades, caring professions, manufacturing, and education. Collectively the grant recipients will train and place an estimated 1,200 Minnesotans over the next 15 months in high-demand jobs, benefiting an estimated 3,000 Minnesota businesses.

Alexandria College and its Customized Training Center will use the funds to provide education in the areas of information technology (IT), carpentry with a construction focus, and welding. 

"We're partnering with organizations across the state to expand job training programs and grow the workforce for the future," Governor Tim Walz said of the Drive for 5 initiative. "By investing in career training, we're helping businesses find the skilled workers they need while helping Minnesotans find fulfilling careers and earn family-sustaining wages. This is good for our workers, our businesses, and our economy."

Alexandria College is using this opportunity to expand its existing relationship with the White Earth Nation. The college developed a relationship with the White Earth Nation through a truck-driving CDL program, and the Drive for 5 grant allows for development of expanded offerings in IT, construction, and welding. Though the primary audience is the White Earth Tribal Nation, the programs are planned to be open to all Minnesotans in the area.

For information technology, the college will provide online coursework with some in-person sessions that would lead to a CISCO professional certification. The college is building two mobile education trailers for welding and carpentry, which would allow the instructors to bring equipment and necessary education resources to the communities they are serving.

The mobile welding education trailer would expose learners to various types of welding while providing a fundamental foundation in the trade. The mobile carpentry education trailer would focus on construction. Upon completion, learners can pursue employment with a construction company to contribute to the construction of residential or commercial buildings in the region.

Learners would be awarded certificates for successful completion of the training, similar to awards available to Alexandria College’s traditional on-campus and online students.

Alexandria College will provide all learning materials and equipment for the training. The grant also allows the college to provide learners with support services such as gas cards, assistance with childcare, and assistance for those with food insecurities.

"The college has been fortunate to work with White Earth Nation, and we are excited to expand our partnership and create more training opportunities for Minnesotans," said Sean Johns, dean of educational services at Alexandria College. "The high-wage and high-demand areas of networking, cybersecurity, construction, and welding have a strong and long-term job growth outlook in the state. We are honored to be a part of Minnesota’s investment in the future."

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