For students in St. Paul, Minn., getting on the right track to a career in growing local industries starts early. Thanks to a $3.6 million Youth CareerConnect grant, the city’s existing Right Track summer youth employment program is partnering with St. Paul public schools and St. Paul College to create two new career academies in information technology and finance for grades 9-12.
U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez visited the campus of St. Paul College along with Mayor Chris Coleman recently to learn more about the program and discuss with employers and educators this unique approach to strengthening the local workforce. Perez also visited an American Job Center in Burnsville, Minn., where a strong collaboration between the local workforce system and two- and four-year colleges is helping build the skills of job seekers to meet employer needs. The colleges offer evening and weekend classes to better serve job seekers, while participants can access a full suite of employment and training services to help connect them with local employers. Burnsville Mayor Elizabeth Kautz and Katie Clark Sieben, commissioner of the Department of Employment and Economic Development, joined Perez at the center for a discussion of the state’s job-driven training strategies.