Hundreds of college-bound students across Minnesota now could be awarded workforce development scholarships worth $2,500 or more that will help them launch a career in a high-demand occupation in Minnesota. These scholarships were made possible by a $8 million appropriation from the Legislature after a successful pilot program stemming from the 2017 legislative session that initially awarded $1 million in scholarships in the 2018-2019 academic year.
The scholarships are for students pursuing careers within advanced manufacturing, agriculture, health care services, information technology, early childhood education, and transportation at any of the 30 state colleges of Minnesota State. “As I have traveled around the state, a theme that I consistently hear from employers is that Minnesota is facing a critical shortage of workers with the skills needed for high-demand occupations,” said Devinder Malhotra, chancellor of Minnesota State. “Workforce Development Scholarships have proven to be an effective tool for attracting students into these fields and helping them find a path towards a satisfying and well-paying career. We are grateful to the Legislature and the Governor for this opportunity, and we look forward to awarding these scholarships to help meet Minnesota’s workforce needs.”
A PILOT PROGRAM was launched last year: HUNDREDS OF SCHOLARSHIPS WERE AWARDED In the 2018-2019 academic year, nearly 400 Workforce Development Scholarships of $2,500 were awarded to students entering Minnesota State colleges as part of a pilot program funded by a $1 million appropriation from the Minnesota Legislature during the 2017 session. The scholarships were made available to new students entering associate degree, diploma, or certificate programs in high-demand sectors of Minnesota’s economy at any of the 30 Minnesota State community and technical colleges.
The qualifying programs included advanced manufacturing, agriculture, health care, and information technology. The scholarships covered approximately half the cost of tuition and fees for the required credits. As one sign of the impact these scholarships can have: many colleges raised additional funds from private sources to supplement the funds provided by the Legislature. For example, the Minnesota Precision Manufacturing Association donated $30,000 to support students in the manufacturing industry, and Riverland Community College secured matches from business partners totaling $45,000.
OUTCOME OF THE 2019 LEGISLATIVE SESSION The legislation that came out of the 2019 legislative session substantially expands the $1 million pilot program by making $2 million available for FY2020 and a total of $6 million for FY2021. With the additional funding, the number of available scholarships will increase to an estimated 668 in FY2020. The legislation also expanded the program to include two additional programs of study: early childhood education and transportation.
The seven Minnesota State universities will be eligible to award scholarships for FY2021 to students who received scholarships from a Minnesota State college and transfer into a corresponding bachelor’s program. Students who were awarded a scholarship for Fall 2018 semester are eligible to apply again if they have completed two academic terms with a minimum of nine credits each and have maintained a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or higher.
SCHOLARSHIPS AVAILABLE NOW Dozens of scholarships are still available for Fall 2019. Interested
students should contact the admissions or financial aid office at Minnesota State colleges to learn more about these or other scholarship and financial aid opportunities. Additional information is available at http://minnstate.edu/stories/wds.
Minnesota State includes 30 community and technical colleges and seven state universities serving
approximately 375,000 students. It is the third-largest system of two-year colleges and four-year
universities in the United States.