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College announces 4 new MN Job Skills Partnership Grants

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Minnesota State College – Southeast Technical announces four major new grants from Minnesota Job Skills Partnership Workforce Development Division

 Read the full press release, including detailed information on each grant

Calli EkbladAsk Calli Ekblad, Southeast Technical Director of Business Relations, about grant writing and her face lights up with enthusiasm. "I love to write grants because each business has a unique story. In writing grants I discover and then tell their stories, and how the particular needs of each company can best be served."

Calli's hard work has helped the College connect with area businesses through four new grants, totaling more than $800,000, which have recently been awarded to Minnesota State College - Southeast Technical to provide state-of-the-art employee training for Cytec Industries, Northern Engraving Corporation, ProAct, Inc. and Winona Occupational Rehabilitation Center (WORC).  

The grants have been awarded by Minnesota Jobs Skills Partnership (MJSP), a program that works with businesses and educational institutions to train workers, expand work opportunities, and keep high-quality jobs in the state. Training grants are used to offset the necessary training-related expenses that are incurred by business, industry and educational institutions to meet future workforce needs.

"Southeast Technical and the Minnesota Job Skills Partnership grant program have a long history in leveraging state, local and private resources to address the critical training needs of our regional businesses," says Jim Johnson, President of Minnesota State College – Southeast Technical. "These unique opportunities help businesses stay competitive and expose Southeast Technical to the current and future trends that affect college curriculum and programs."

Calli Ekblad has worked tirelessly during the past year to secure the four Minnesota Jobs Skills Partnership grants. She says, "At Southeast Technical, we are committed to helping local employers develop a well-trained, skilled workforce. Our training grants offer businesses the opportunity to sharpen the skills of their workforce during a time when training budgets may be minimal or non-existent. We are here to help our local businesses succeed."

She continues, "It’s important to give businesses the opportunity to get the additional funding when they are not able to do that on their own. As they"re expanding their workforce, we can create customized training unique to their particular needs. The outcome is so positive and rewarding - and I am so proud of all of our partners!"

The four new MJSP grants will support partnerships with these companies:

Companies in the southeastern Minnesota region that are in need of customized workforce training are encouraged to work with Southeast Technical on obtaining a Minnesota Jobs Skills Partnerships grant. For more information, contact Calli Ekblad, Director of Business Relations, cekblad@southeastmn.edu or 651-385-6320.

 

Veteran's Day Spotlight: Donna Swenson, Individualized Studies major

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Donna Swenson - PortraitStudent, grandmother, volunteer and veteran, Donna Swenson is in her third semester at Southeast Technical. At 55 years of age, she decided to pursue a degree to set an example for her grandchildren.

An Individualized Studies major, Donna has been taking a variety of Criminal Justice courses and has found them to be helpful in her volunteer work. She has volunteered with the Pierce County Veterans Treatment Court, where, as court coordinator, she had weekly contact with veterans who were in the court system, helping them stay on track with treatment and recovery. Now she serves as a court mentor for veterans in need.

English instructor Peter Beurskens notes how Swenson lives what she learns."Donna has been great to have in class because she takes writing and learning seriously. She is that ideal student who takes what she is learning in class and applies it to her life experience to come up with essays and other writings of real value - to herself and to her readers," he says.

Donna Swenson - ParadeDonna is very community minded. In addition to her work with Pierce County, she also serves as the local Legion's Honor Guard Commander. (That's her in the photo at right, holding the blue flag.) The group provides the traditional three-volley salute for 14 different cemeteries on Memorial Day and dozens of funerals throughout the year, as well as school presentations. She also helps a friend - who has been diagnosed with MS - with her physical therapy two to three times per week. She helps with cookouts and fly-fishing outings for veterans who are patients at the VA Medical Traumatic Brain Injury Center in Minneapolis. She is a volunteer for a Memorial Motorcycle Run for the American Cancer Society, the annual Pierce County Veterans fund raising Golf Tournament, Polka Fest, Cheese Curd Days and more.

Perhaps Donna's community-minded attitude is a result of her 32 years in the military. Her job has taken her away from home for long stretches at times. She retired in 2009 from the United States Army. She served for 20 years in the 652nd Engineer Company in Ellsworth, WI, and 12 years at Ft. Snelling, during which time she was deployed to Guantanamo Bay for over a year. She was mobilized four years state side at a variety of bases across the U.S., working as a Logistical Liaison Officer with troops deploying to and from Iraq and Afghanistan.

"It's been interesting getting to know people from all over the world," says Swenson. "It feels like the kids I worked with were part of my family, I was like the mom."

 As Swenson's English teacher, Beurskens has read many of Swenson writings. "In all of her writings, the theme of community emerges, whether that is the community of family, military or her town and neighbors," he comments.

As Veteran's Day approaches, Southeast Technical honors Donna Swenson and all of our nation's veterans. We will honor Veteran's Day with ceremonies at 12 noon on Thursday, November 7 in Winona and 12 noon on Friday November 8 in Red Wing.