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Legislative News and Views - Rep. John Petersburg (R)

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Monday, February 8, 2021

ST. PAUL – In order to help local employers fill needed job openings with qualified employees, State Representative John Petersburg (R-Waseca) is chief-authoring legislation that would help fund workforce development needs in the Owatonna and Steele County area.


“We have available manufacturing jobs in our area and we have residents who would like to apply for them but don’t currently have the necessary skills,” Petersburg said. “This bill would help fill those jobs and improve our local workforce.”


Under Petersburg’s proposal, $275,000 in grant funds would be appropriated in each Fiscal Years 2022 and 2023 to Workforce Development, Inc. to provide career education, wraparound support services, and job skills training in high-demand manufacturing fields to low-income parents, non-native speakers of English, and other hard-to-train individuals.


Petersburg said this will help families build secure pathways out of poverty while also addressing worker shortages in the Owatonna and Steele County area.


Funds may be used for program expenses, including but not limited to hiring instructors and navigators; space rental; and supportive services to help participants attend classes, including assistance with course fees, child care, transportation, and safe and stable housing.


Petersburg’s bill was heard in the Minnesota House Workforce and Business Development Finance and Policy Committee, and was held over for possible inclusion in a more comprehensive workforce funding proposal that the committee will unveil later this session.


Additional testifiers included Jinny Rietmann, Exec Director Workforce Development Inc. Executive Director, Brad Meier, Owatonna Chamber President, Phillip Sayles from Viracon, and Jim Kingsley from Wenger Corp.