County is awarded state job training grants

The Anoka County Job Training Center has been awarded two state grants to enhance its efforts to help people find jobs, although not as much as the center had hoped for.

Both grants have come from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, one for $260,000 through the state agency’s adult workforce program and the other for $69,332 is from the FastTRAC adult careers pathway grant program.

The requests in the competitive application programs had been for $430,000 and $80,000 respectively.

“We are glad to receive both grants,” said Sandy Froiland, assistant job training center director.

The state’s adult workforce program funds projects to serve adults who traditionally face barriers to employment, for example those returning to work from public assistance and older workers, according to Froiland.

The job training center has been partnering with Anoka Technical College, Anoka-Ramsey Community College, Metro North Adult Basic Education and local employers in an Anoka County Careers Connection program to help adults struggling to find jobs, Froiland said.

The grant dollars will be used to expand the scope of the existing program.

Indeed, the job training center will be melding this grant with the FastTRAC funds to develop a third career pathways program, Froiland said.

The two existing career pathways programs are the universal health care worker in older adult services and the precision sheet metal manufacturing, she said.

The third career pathway that the job training center will put in place with the new state dollars is in the area of business services, focusing on Microsoft Office certifications and technical assistance, according to Froiland.

The career connections program supports individuals in identifying attainable career pathways through comprehensive career exploration, assessments, skill training and connections to employers, according to Froiland.

Through the program, each adult develops a personal career road map and adults without a high school diploma have access to a customized, compressed GED preparation class so they can obtain their GED, Froiland said.

Once determined to be training ready, the adult now has the three career pathway options to choose from – healthcare, manufacturing or business services, she said.

The original goal with the adult workforce grant request was to serve 150 adults, according to Froiland.

The job training center and its partners in the careers connections program will be looking at ways to reduce expenses, Froiland said.

And with the “braiding” of the grant dollars, “we expect to be serving more like 125 people,” she said.

The Anoka County Job Training Center was one of 24 Minnesota organizations awarded grants totaling $6.2 million from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development.

They were chosen from a pool of 37 applications with requesting totaling over $20 million.

According to the state agency’s news release, the program is targeted at job seekers who have barriers to employment and populations with identified employment disparities including minority population ethnic groups, veterans, older workers, Minnesotans in transition to work from public assistance and workers with disabilities, including those who are deaf or hard of hearing.

The $69,332 FastTRAC adult careers pathway grant will be used by the job training center to continue and expand its existing universal worker in older adult services healthcare pathway, with which it collaborates with the community and technical colleges, as well as Metro North Adult Basic Education and local healthcare employers.

“As partners, we have been successful in securing multiple competitive FastTRAC and Minnesota Job Skills Partnership funding to support this effort,” Froiland said.

According to Froiland, key program elements include adult basic education classes; technical training for college credits in certified nursing assistant-home health aide, holistic healing, first aid and cardio-pulmonary resuscitation; vocational counseling; support services and career plan development.

“The infusion of these new funds will allow the partners to sustain this viable skill training,” Froiland wrote.

The job training center provides employment and training services to the residents of Anoka County who are most in need of services.

The highest priority to receive services are those who are unemployed, economically disadvantaged, or face multiple obstacles to gaining employment.

For information call 763-783-4800 or visit the workforce center website.

Peter Bodley is at
[email protected]