Walz promotes $20 million in workforce development grants

Walz touts investments in manufacturing industry

Walz touts investments in manufacturing industry

Minnesota faces a shortage of 18,000 workers in high-demand professions like technology, manufacturing, education and trades. That’s why the legislature and governor approved $20 million in workforce development grants in hopes of connecting workers to these jobs.

Minnesota Governor Tim Walz highlighted these investments Tuesday afternoon in Plymouth.

“We can get folks who want to get into high-tech manufacturing,” the governor said while touring Buhler’s food equipment manufacturing plant. “We can get them the training they need and we can get them the jobs. In that case, the workers benefit from that. The companies benefit from that. The state of Minnesota benefits from that being able to track and train a world-class workforce.”

At Buhler, they have an apprentice program in conjunction with Hennepin Technical College. Students get hands-on learning at the company while getting paid. It’s the type of partnership the state would like to see more of with the help of the workforce development grants.

The governor was joined by Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) Commissioner Matt Varilek and manufacturing employees.

“Higher ed is such an important element to the workforce development system,” Varilek said. “They do the curriculum, the formal training piece that goes along with the on-the-job training like you see in the apprenticeships like you see here at Buhler. So this is a great example of the type of partnership we be looking to do more support of.”

According to Walz’s office, he will be making stops in Savage and Duluth over the course of the week as part of a workforce tour. He is scheduled to also highlight investments in education and public safety while on the tour.

“Whether it’s manufacturing, education, or public safety, we’re investing in training and recruitment programs to address the labor shortage and build out our workforce where we need it most,” Walz said in a statement announcing the tour. “Minnesota’s economy is strong. Our unemployment rates have hit historic lows, inflation is falling, and we’re one of the top five states for business. Investing in career training will help businesses find the skilled workers they need while helping Minnesotans earn family-sustaining wages and strengthening our economy.”

On another issue, Governor Walz confirms he has temporarily moved his family into Eastcliff, the University of Minnesota president’s residence. The governor’s residence on Summit Avenue is undergoing major mechanical and foundation repairs. The state will pay $4,400 a month plus maintenance to the U of M. That’s much less expensive than the $17,000 lease of a house on Sunfish Lake that was originally considered.

“We’re grateful house guests of the University of Minnesota,” the governor said. “That’s a very historic building and I think for my family and I to be over there we’re grateful.”