Beginning in 2017, the shortage of qualified, skilled workers to support industry throughout the state inspired the Minnesota state Legislature to take action by creating the Workforce Development Scholarship program.
Initially funded by a $1 million appropriation, the scholarships are targeted to high school students enrolling at any Minnesota State college in four high demand sectors: advanced manufacturing, agriculture, health care services, and information technology.
This spring, Minnesota State College Southeast was able to award eight $3,500 workforce development scholarships to students who will start college in the fall.
In addition to the appropriation by the state Legislature, designated funds were provided through Minnesota State College Southeast Foundation to increase the amount of the scholarships from $2,500 to $3,500.
As a direct result, new students from as far afield as Mankato, Wayzata and Wadena will enroll at MSC Southeast, as well as students from Winona and neighboring southeast Minnesota communities.
“I would like to congratulate the eight recipients of these workforce development scholarships,” said Larry Lundblad, Minnesota State College Southeast interim president. “The high-skill, high-paying jobs of today and tomorrow require post-secondary education. These scholarships give students the resources to gain the necessary skills to get the best jobs.”
Admissions representative Chris Cook attended the scholarship awards ceremony at Winona Senior High School on May 22, where Andy Grathen and Aiden Mohan received Workforce Development Scholarships.
“It was really special to be there in person to present two students with awards for $3,500,” he said. “It was a great way to share the news with their families, the school, and the community. Aiden and Andy are making challenging education and career plans, and they are ready to work hard to accomplish their goals.”
The list of students, their programs and their high schools are:
- Austin Banks (CNC Machine Tool), Rushford-Peterson High School
- Luke Chamberlain (Welding Technology), Hastings High School
- Carson Ekstedt (Welding Technology), Mankato East High School
- Andy Grathen (CAD Drafting Technology), Winona Senior High School
- Isaac Hale (Bicycle Design and Fabrication), Wadena-Deer Creek High School
- John Kelly (Bicycle Design and Fabrication), Wayzata High School
- Brock Lamey (Welding Technology), Plainview-Elgin-Millville High School
- Aiden Mohan (Bicycle Design and Fabrication), Winona Senior High School
Future MSC Southeast students can look forward to the continued availability of workforce development scholarships.
In the recently-concluded Minnesota state legislative session, additional funding was allocated to support awards through 2021.
In addition to advanced manufacturing, agriculture, health care services and information technology, the program will be expanded to include students in early childhood education and transportation.