U.S. Senator Tina Smith, Representative Brad Finstad Announce Investment to Strengthen Southwest Minnesota Manufacturing

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Tina Smith (D-MN) and Representative Brand Finstad (R-MN01) announced a $1.6 million grant from the Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) to Minnesota West Community and Technical College in Worthington, Minnesota to help address the growing demand for skilled workers in robotics, hydraulics, welding and machining training. The grant will go towards purchasing and outfitting a mobile mechatronics classroom and customized welding trailer to expand manufacturing workforce training at the college’s campuses in Lyon and Nobles counties. This EDA investment is expected to create and retain 250 jobs and generate $1 million in private investment, according to grantee estimates.

“Technical and community colleges play a critical role in meeting the demand for skilled manufacturing, and it’s fantastic to see the Biden administration investing in Minnesota schools that will help us train and educate the workforce of the future,” said Senator Tina Smith. “This grant will help us meet labor needs, create jobs, and ensure America leads in innovation.” 

“Southern Minnesota has world-class technical programs that equip young people with the experience they need to modernize and meet the demands of today’s workforce,” said Representative Brad Finstad. “Minnesota West Community and Technical College has done great work to ensure the readiness of the next generation in the workplace, and I am happy to see that they receive the funding they need to continue to grow welding and robotics programs which will strengthen the skilled workforce in Minnesota’s First District.”

This project is funded under the Disaster Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2023, which provided EDA with $483 million in additional Economic Adjustment Assistance (EAA) Program funds for disaster relief and recovery for areas that received a major disaster declaration.