(KASOTA, Minn.) - Region Nine Development Commission is working to bolster medical device manufacturing throughout our nine counties. It's the culmination of a three-year grant study from the federal EDA investing in manufacturing community partnerships.

Following the study it was found that six of our nine counties have medical manufacturing as at least 20% or more of their total manufacturing portfolio.
"The technology and the advancement is happening so fast, how can we help that our manufacturers. Out of all the regions in Minnesota for the deed regions we really have strong manufacturing footprint so how can we help that and to ensure we have high paying jobs, great benefits and we can retain and attract strong talent," Region Nine Development Commission Executive Director Nicole Griensewic Mickelson said.
The Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation helped provide some of the funds to match the federal grant to conduct the study.
"All across this region we have the potential through plastics and through other technologies, other electronics to kind of feed into that medical technology sector. I think this will just help to elevate the awareness of the potential for that medical technology growth here in our part of the state and it will help region nine, ourselves, local economic development agencies and other entities better align their resources to help this industry grow," Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation President Tim Penny added.
Specifically enabling areas like Waseca, which has seen hard times as of late, to be in pursuit of a manufacturing resource center.
 "We had the closing of Quad Graphics, it was the former Brown printing company and it employed several hundred people and we lost those jobs when the plant closed. We recently lost our Hy-Vee grocery store which was 130 employees. However there were some silver linings in that because of this happening in our community it opened us up to be able to work with Region Nine and the federal EDA to come up with some fairly low interest loans or grants to do some development in the city of Waseca," Mayor of Waseca Roy Srp said.
This is just the start of the conversation. Region Nine will continue to work with the federal EDA and use the results of this study to make recommendations for what needs to happen next.

--KEYC News 12