MN State program offers to pay for job training for workers

MN State program offers to pay for job training for workers
MN State program offers to pay for job training for workers(KBJR)
Published: Sep. 13, 2022 at 6:53 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 14, 2022 at 4:05 AM CDT
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DULUTH, MN. (KBJR) - Many employers are finding it harder than ever to find skilled applicants to fill open positions.

In Minnesota, a program offered through the Department of Labor and Industry is attempting to fix the problem by paying for a worker’s training after they’ve been hired for a job.

“Staffing struggles. We got them all around,” said Russ Eaton, a service electrician with IPS Cranes in West Duluth.

It’s a familiar tune, echoed by many employers.

“We’re short on welders, CNC operators, machinists, just industry-wide,” said Eaton.

According to Eaton, he’s got five to seven positions he’s looking to fill and his business is rapidly expanding.

Eaton shared that message alongside many other local employers at the Duluth Public Library Tuesday during an informational meeting about the Dual Training Pipeline Program.

“You combine on-the-job training with some formal education to really scale up workers,” said Dan Solomon.

Solomon manages the Pipeline program for the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry.

The program pays up to $6,000 for workers to obtain training for in-demand fields.

“We hope to be a resource for employers to meet the workforce needs through this kind of training model,” Solomon said.

IPS Cranes is using the Pipeline to train a recent proctor grad who showed promise but lacked higher education.

“We had a tour up in Proctor High School, and just noticed a really good weld and had the kid come down, and we started him on part-time,” Eaton said.

“When I first started welding in high school, learned how to weld, and from there it was just like, dang, this is kind of cool,” said Ty Foucault, a welder for IPS Cranes and Pipeline participant.

Foucault is taking classes at Lake Superior College, sharpening his welding skills and the cost is covered by the Pipeline program.

Foucault said the education is a benefit to both him and his employer.

“It’s making me a better welder here and building better products,” Foucault said.

He also says he’s having fun at the same time.

“You’re working with hot metal putting it together. It’s kind of exciting,” Foucault said.

The Dual Training Pipeline Program can cover the educational cost in four different in-demand fields including Agriculture, Healthcare, IT, and Advanced Manufacturing.