Closing the Skills Gap with the PIPELINE Program

Greater Mankato Growth’s Talent Resources Liaison seeks out and identifies resources that support the attraction, recruitment, and retention of skilled workers in hard to fill positions. Manufacturing, agriculture, health care and technology are critical industries to the Greater Mankato area, all of which are struggling to recruit and retain skilled workers. The following guest blog courtesy by Dr. Paul Dettman of South Central College highlights the PIPELINE Program.

The PIPELINE Program is directly catered to address the skills gaps that employers of these industries are struggling to close. This is an excellent opportunity for Greater Mankato employers to build learning and development opportunities for their employees.

The Minnesota PIPELINE (Private Investment, Public Education, Labor and Industry Experience) Grant involves the creation or the enhancement of a competency-based dual-training approach.  Workers receive a strategic combination of related instruction from a Minnesota College or University, such as South-Central College or a Minnesota State University, Mankato, paired with on-the-job training where the student practices what they are learning. This is a “Learn as You Work” approach to up-skilling new or incumbent workers and can also be used in the creation or expansion of an apprenticeship program.

The Related Instruction component can take two forms:

  1. Customized Instruction at the company location and is usually tied to an Industry Recognized Third Party Credential, or,
  2. Through formal programs of instruction at a college or university consisting of a certificate or degree.

In support of the PIPELINE Program, the MN Office of Higher Education administers the Dual Training Grant to reimburse employers for the costs of related instruction resulting in industry-recognized degrees, certificates, and credentials for their employees. An employer can receive up to $150,000 per year; resulting in up to $6,000 per year for an employee. To date, the Dual Training Grant has received $7,000,000 from the MN State Legislature for grants to employers for the education of their employees.

Mankato’s very own, Dotson Iron Castings has seen a great benefit to this program. Nicole Lynch, Human Resources Generalist, says “Dual training allowed us to open up additional resources so that we could focus on creating a career path for team members to continue developing their skills. Our employees could apply their work-related experience in the classroom, while their classroom experience directly applied to their work. It’s a win-win.”

Jones Metal and Condux International have also participated in the PIPELINE Program.

For further information please contact Paul Dettmann, Customized Training Representative, at South Central College’s Center for Business and Industry: [email protected] or refer directly to the Department of Labor and Industry at [email protected].

Application materials
PIPELINE Program information