Klobuchar, Smith Secure Significant Federal Funding for Local Projects Benefiting Mankato Area

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Tina Smith (D-MN) announced that they have secured significant federal funding for local projects benefiting Southern Minnesota. These projects will help boost the local economy through expanded workforce development programs and modernize the region’s energy infrastructure with more clean, efficient renewable energy projects.

“This federal funding will have a real impact in Mankato and surrounding areas. From investing in renewable energy to improving access workforce development programs, these projects will address key issues impacting Minnesotans on a daily basis. I am proud to have worked with leaders from across the region to secure the resources for these projects, and I look forward to seeing all the good they will do,” said Senator Klobuchar.

“These investments are an enormous win for our local economy and energy infrastructure in Southern Minnesota,” said Senator Smith. “These projects will help deliver high-quality job training and cleaner, cheaper energy to the region. I am particularly proud of our work to secure this funding, which will directly improve the lives of Minnesotans.”

“As we work to promote energy efficiency in Southern Minnesota, this investment is a game-changer. This project includes a combination of solar renewable energy, county-wide energy efficiency measures, electric vehicle charging stations at County buildings, and the installation of a geothermal heating and cooling system. Thank you to Senators Klobuchar and Smith for helping to secure this funding and bring this vision to life,” said Mark Piepho, Board Chair, Blue Earth County Board of Commissioners.

“We are grateful to Senators Klobuchar and Smith for proposing and promoting funding for this important initiative, which will benefit both manufacturing employers and workers in Greater Minnesota. Employers in our region will have greater access to advanced manufacturing training for their current employees while ensuring a talented future workforce. Current and future manufacturing employees will have the flexibility to gain the skills they need to be successful in a well-paying career through a combination of training at their worksite, on campus and online,” said South Central College President Annette Parker.

Funding secured by Klobuchar and Smith will help further the following priorities:

  • Develop more clean, resilient energy infrastructure
    • $4.3 million for a Blue Earth County’s Energy Efficiency Project, which will provide economic, environmental, and local community workforce benefits in Southern MN. The vision for this project includes a combination of a solar renewable energy application, countywide energy efficiency measures and the installation of a geothermal heating and cooling system.
  • Expand rural manufacturing training
    • $2.06 million to fund the Advance Greater Minnesota project, which will be run by South Central College (North Mankato) and Minnesota State College Southeast. The project will expand access to high-quality training for rural manufacturers by providing technology-enabled, customized training for entry-level employees. Training would be delivered in micro-learning environments at the workplace and via remote learning, minimizing travel times and allowing participation that aligns with shifts and break times.

Klobuchar and Smith have been actively involved in securing this federal funding for projects benefiting communities across the state through a process called “Congressionally Directed Spending” (CDS). During the CDS process, Klobuchar and Smith have considered project proposals and advocated for funding in close coordination with leaders from across the state.

Projects are expected to receive funding over the next several months.