WASECA, Minn. (KEYC) — The Economic Development Administration (EDA) is investing nearly $400,000 to hire an Economic Recovery Coordinator.
The Economic Recovery Coordinator’s job will be to create a three-year strategic plan to help economic recovery efforts in and around Waseca.
The EDA is investing another $203,754 to fund a study looking at the viability of a new Waseca Area Manufacturing Resource Center.
“This feasibility study is going to look at qualitative and quantitative data to really look at what industries we have and what trainings are needed,” Region Nine Development Commission’s Executive Director Nicole Griensewic Mickelson said.
Two years ago, the Waseca area lost a big employer when Quad Graphics shut down.
Shortly thereafter, the Hy-Vee closed, leaving dozens more without a job.
“That did put a number of people out of work. Fortunately, because of the job situation in the region, people have been able to find other jobs but instead of working in Waseca or driving to Waseca to work, they are driving from Waseca,” Economic Development Coordinator Gary Sandholm explained.
The region as a whole is experiencing a shortage of skilled workers.
That's where Region Nine comes in.
The Manufacturing Resource Center they are doing studies for could be a place to have educational opportunities for companies or manufacturing workers, training certifications for specialized workers and a collaborative place where ideas can be bounced off of one another.
This keeps specialization local and would no longer require workers to drive to other areas of the state for job certifications.
“It will make Waseca a center of expertise amongst many things so that companies may want to locate in Waseca to take advantage of close proximity to this facility,” added Sandholm.
That would make it easier for workers and employers alike, all while benefitting the local economy.