Grants can be used to create programs, recruit employees

Otter Tail County was awarded a $100,000 Youth Skills Training grant from the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry (MN DLI). The grant funding will be used to further the County’s Youth Workforce Navigation Program. This program will build the County’s future workforce by offering meaningful career exposure and experiences for students 16 years of age and older.

The MN DLI’s Youth Skills Training (YST) program was signed into law in 2017 with bipartisan support to create and provide employment training for student learners ages 16 and older in high-growth, high-demand occupations. Thirty-two local partnerships throughout the state applied for this fifth round of grants, and 11 were awarded. 

Grants can be used to create programs, recruit students and employers, provide training, transport students and pay for student certifications.

“Working with these partners gives us the opportunity to support workforce development in a unique and specific way that meets the community and employers’ needs,” said Roslyn Robertson, DLI commissioner.

Otter Tail County’s Youth Workforce Navigation Program is creating partnerships with all the school districts in the County, employers that want to engage high school students, and a variety of workforce partners. Cardinal Consulting Solutions (CCS), a local independent consulting firm focused on workforce recruitment and retention strategies, has been contracted to work with the County on the Youth Workforce Navigation Program. The program is one of the largest to receive YST grant funding in Minnesota.

Otter Tail County Commissioner Kurt Mortenson said he is eager to see the progress of the program. 

“The Youth Skills Training grant will provide a notable kickstart to the Youth Workforce Navigation Program. In the development of this program, we have heard from employers and schools that this program to engage students is important and needed,” said Mortenson.

Otter Tail County welcomes all schools and employers of all sizes and industries to participate in the Youth Workforce Navigation Program. 

For more information, contact Amy Johnson at for more information about building the county’s future workforce and participating in the workforce development efforts.