State Rep. Barb Haley and the Minnesota Departments of Labor and Industry Commissioner Nancy Leppink participated in a roundtable discussion Thursday to learn about Red Wing Ignite programs and initiatives.

Focus was placed on Learn and Earn, which is Goodhue County's Youth Skills Training program, and the funding that would be needed to create such programs throughout Minnesota.

"YST programs connect industry and students ages 16 and older with opportunities to learn and gain hands-on experience in high-growth, high-demand and well-paying careers," said Neela Mollgaard, the executive director of Red Wing Ignite.

Students are able to obtain part-time jobs at companies in the community to learn about careers that interest them as part of their academic curriculum.

"We are confident our work bringing together students, schools and businesses will impact the readiness of students for the workforce and grow the talent pipeline for employers in the region," Mollgaard said Friday.

During the Learn and Earn event, participants toured the Central Research Laboratories in Red Wing and Gemini Inc.. in Cannon Falls. The roundtable discussion was held at Red Wing Ignite and included feedback from participating Goodhue County businesses and representatives from Red Wing High School and Minnesota State College Southeast.

Three students also gave feedback on the program: Teagan Cyr, who works at Hearth and Home Technologies in Lake City; Reed Loer, who works with Red Wing Shoes; and Isaiah Parsons, who is working with USG in Red Wing.