The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) launched its new $50 million Targeted Population Workforce Programs initiative, which focuses on skills training and support services to bring populations of workers who have been historically overlooked and often face multiple barriers to employment – particularly people of color – into the workforce at family-sustaining wages.
“DEED is delivering for Minnesota’s workforce, employers and the workforce development organizations that help to connect them through our new Targeted Population Workforce Programs initiative,” said DEED Commissioner Matt Varilek. “This program will provide workers in underserved communities with the technical and work-readiness skills and support needed to secure good-paying jobs, and advance employers’ efforts to fill job vacancies statewide.”
Targeted Population Workforce Programs will fund:
- Training services for targeted communities, delivered by workforce development partners that offer high-quality workforce services including outreach, training, work readiness, case management during and after job placement, barrier removal, internships, work experience, on-the-job training, entrepreneurship training and robust supportive services after training and placement to ensure participants’ success.
- Organizational mentorship to provide guidance, organizational development services and support to new and smaller community-based organizations by established DEED providers.
- Diversity and inclusion training for employers to help them develop strategies to attract, hire and retain individuals from historically overlooked populations.
Despite having one of the highest labor force participation rates in the country and seven straight months of workforce growth, Minnesota’s labor market still needs more workers. A strategic investment in developing or re-skilling untapped talent will help to bring new workers into the labor force and provide current workers in low wage jobs with opportunities to move into high-growth and higher-wage occupations.
People of color comprise a growing portion of the state’s population, now accounting for nearly 23% of Minnesota’s 5.7 million residents, which is up from about 15% a decade ago. In addition, data show a larger portion of people of color in the workforce are of prime working age range (25-54) and have higher workforce participation rates than white Minnesotans. However, the average wages of people of color are still significantly lower than white Minnesotan workers.
“These investments will train and upskill Minnesota workers who have historically been overlooked for family-sustainable wage careers or are in low-wage jobs,” said DEED Deputy Commissioner for Workforce Development Marc Majors. “Helping Minnesotans move into family-sustainable wage employment creates greater opportunity for economic security, family stability and generational wealth.”
Request for proposals now open
DEED is inviting community-based workforce development partners to submit proposals to implement Targeted Populations Workforce training programs. Interested applicants should submit their proposal by Jan. 3, 2024. Targeted Populations Workforce Program Request for Proposals can be found on DEED’s website.
DEED is the state’s principal economic development agency, promoting business recruitment, expansion and retention, workforce development, international trade and community development. Find out how DEED delivers for Minnesota by visiting the DEED website, JoinUsMn.com, CareerForceMN.com or follow us on X (formerly known as Twitter).
Upon request, this information can be made available in alternate formats for people with disabilities by contacting the DEED Communications Office at 651-259-7161.