Job training funding to focus on sheet metal workers

The Anoka County Job Training Center has been awarded a $154,000 grant by the Minnesota Job Skills Partnership Board.

The two-year grant from July 1 through June 30, 2015 is for a low-income worker training program focused on precision sheet metal workers.

The Anoka County Board, on the recommendation of its human services committee, has approved the grant.

According to Sandy Froiland, assistant director of the job training center, the center will be working with the Anoka Technical College on the project.

In accepting the grant, the county board also approved entering into an agreement with the technical college spelling out the training services the college will provide.

“Staff does a great job and is very successful writing plans to obtain grants,” said Anoka County Board Chairperson Rhonda Sivarajah, who also chairs the human services committee.

“It will give people at the entry level phase training in high need employment areas.”

Once the funds are released by the state, job training center staff will work with the technical college to finalize a work plan and begin outreach and recruitment of potential trainees, Froiland wrote in a report to the human services committee.

“The customized program will serve 40 low-income adults over the two-year grant period,” she wrote.

The grant dollars will cover training costs for low-income people at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty guidelines.

“The intent is for low-skilled adults to acquire additional skills in order to move up the career ladder into better paying jobs,” according to Froiland.

The job training center currently has a low-income worker funded project in health care careers, but there has been interest by local workforce center partners to apply for another low-income worker grant in the manufacturing sector, she wrote.

“The manufacturing industry within Anoka County and the region continues to be a leader in the recovery of jobs since the recession,” Froiland wrote.

“As a result, employers are indicating there is a need for skilled workers in the industry.”

According to Froiland, this program is focused on developing the skill sets of individuals to be employed in the precision sheet metal occupation.

With the grant dollars, a preparatory shop math class will be taught by the Metro North Adult Basic Education prior to the  technical training at the technical college, Froiland wrote.

In addition, the grant will pay for vocational counseling, assessment, support services, employer connections and grant administration facilitated by the job training center, she wrote.

According to Froiland, Anoka Technical College has developed a customized, compressed sheet metal worker training program that aligns with local business needs.

“Originally developed with other funding sources, the partners have experienced successful outcomes, including placement into employment with good wages in a sustainable career pathway,” Froiland wrote.

“Additional training dollars are needed to sustain this effort and to provide low-income individuals the opportunity to gain marketable work skills.”

Under the program, five sessions of training will be provided for participants.

The job training center provides employment and training services to the residents of Anoka County who are most in need of services with the highest priority those who are unemployed, economically disadvantaged, and/or face multiple obstacles to gaining employment.

Peter Bodley is at
[email protected]