A collaborative of manufacturers in Goodhue County, led by Red Wing Ignite, will receive a $95,000 grant from the Youth Skills Training Program to help connect young students to paid-learning opportunities in high-demand fields. The collaborative is one of five partnerships to receive a grant.

"Manufacturers and other high-demand industries are having a real hard time finding skilled workers," said Sen. Mike Goggin, R-Red Wing, who serves on the Senate Jobs and Economic Growth Committee. "I am proud of the work we have done to close the workforce gap with innovative programs like Youth Skills Training, and I am excited to see the great work Red Wing Ignite and Goodhue County manufacturers will be able to do with this grant."

"These grants allow high schools, businesses and community organizations to work together to train students and create skilled workers for their communities," said Ken Peterson, DLI commissioner.

Red Wing Ignite, a nonprofit founded in 2013, works with community partners, entrepreneurs, businesses and students to provide resources and programs that will spur economic growth.

The Legislature created the Youth Skills Training Program in 2017 with bipartisan support to connect students to opportunities in high-growth, high-demand fields including manufacturing, information technology, health care and automotive industries. It focuses on developing local partnerships in coordination with employers and schools to provide classroom instruction and paid-learning opportunities.Grant recipients can use the funds for student recruitment, training, transportation, certifications, or for program development.

The following partnerships received grants. They represent 13 school districts and more than 50 employer partners.

• Goodhue County Collaborative

• Hutchinson TigerPath Initiative

• Twin West Youth Skills Training Program

• White Bear Lake Area Schools and Cerenity Senior Care

• Winona Chamber's REACH Initiative

Twenty-five local partnerships throughout the state applied for pilot program grant funding. These partnerships involved more than 60 school districts and more than 100 employers in four different industries.

A second round of applications will open this fall.