Leading CareerForce partner pilot that offered free short term training for in-demand occupations shows signs of success

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The Workforce Mobility Program pilot provided free, short-term training for several in-demand occupations at Dakota County Technical College or Inver Hills Community College to low income Dakota County residents. The Dakota-Scott Workforce Development Board, a Leading CareerForce partner, partnered with the Dakota County Board of Commissioners and local community colleges to offer the free training, which was paid for through a $250,000 from the federal American Rescue Plan allocation.

The Workforce Mobility Program was aimed at helping low-income residents get on a career path with family-sustaining wages. It also was designed to help area employers who were having a hard time finding employees with the in-demand skills.

Free training was available in the following programs:

  • Boiler Operation
  • Certified Nursing Assistant (CAN)
  • Class A Commercial Driver's License (CDL)
  • Emergency Medical Technician (EMT)
  • Intro to Early Childhood Education
  • Phlebotomy
  • Welding
people standing in front of a UPS heavy truck and trailer

Out of 83 enrollees in the Workforce Mobility Program pilot, about half of the students have completed training thus far with a couple of additional programs yet to finish. Welding, phlebotomy, boiler operations, and CDL training were popular training choices that have already resulted in successful outcomes for job seekers. Among the successful graduates were refugees from Ukraine who completed truck driver training and were hired as drivers. Seven of nine students completed the boiler operation program and all seven got jobs.

Workforce Mobility Program participants were usually first-generation college students who frequently used county economic assistance programs. Some participants struggled to complete classes. The program may be offered again in the future, potentially with changes to help encourage students who struggle to complete the training and find employment.

The Workforce Mobility Program was modeled on the WorkFast Program, from Pine Technical and Community College.