Apply Now: $500,000 for Individuals Who Want training in IT, Manufacturing, Healthcare, and Trades

Apply Now: $500,000 for Individuals Who Want training in IT, Manufacturing, Healthcare, and Trades Main Photo

15 May 2024

The Rural Minnesota Concentrated Employment Program, Inc. (RMCEP) was recently awarded $500,000 through Governor Tim Walz’s Drive for Five initiative. The goal of this program is to fill in-demand positions in technology, trades, manufacturing, and education. RMCEP will help individuals finance their education and training, along with funding supporting services, so they can grow their careers.

“We will work one-on-one with each participant to develop an individual employment plan that clearly lays out supports and goals, including incentives along the way, with the goal of full-time employment at a family-sustaining wage,” said Tina Jaster, Executive Director at RMCEP, in a roundtable discussion with the Governor.

These funds will only be available until July 2025. If you are considering changing careers or want to support someone as they step into a new role, now is the time to apply for funding. Let RMCEP help you develop a career path and get the money you need for training and education. 

Consult RMCEP Before You Take Out Student Loans  

RMCEP has set a goal to support 30 participants through their training journeys. The $500,000 in funds from the Drive for Five program are issued as grants to people who want to step into new, in-demand careers. Apply for one of these grants before you take out student loans. Your education could be partially or fully covered through RMCEP.

“We are prioritizing individuals who have faced the toughest barriers to employment,” says Jaster. “We have 8 offices across 19 counties in Northern Minnesota ready to serve the community”

To qualify for Drive for Five funding, you must be authorized to work in the United States, must be at least 18 years old, and cannot be enrolled in any K-12 school, additional priorities apply. 

Drive for Five Funding Can Pay for Supportive Services

While the Drive for Five program is an excellent way to fund your training, it isn't limited to covering tuition. RMCEP can use the funding to eliminate all kinds of barriers to completing your education. For example, the Drive for Five funds could pay for supportive services like a car repair that allows you to get to your classes. These funds could potentially provide tools that allow you to learn or cover costs like child care so your kids are safe while you're training.

Jaster understands the potential limitations that can prevent you from getting the education you need, which is why these funds cover supportive services.

“We face specific barriers as a rural community,” she says. “When you work for a manufacturer in Northern Minnesota, you will likely have to live relatively close unless you have your own car because there isn’t public transportation to get you to the job. The same goes for education and training.”  

Now is a Great Time to Start a New Career

Changing careers or investing your time and energy in training is a big step; however, now is one of the best times to do so. Not only will the Drive for Five funding cover your tuition as you prepare to enter an in-demand field, but you are also likely to get hired once your education is complete.

“Employers right now are very open to considering all workers,” says Jaster. “We have situations where businesses need to close, or reduce hours, because they cannot fill positions. So now more than ever employers are interested in working with whoever has the genuine desire and ability to do the job.”

Jaster adds that all participants will have the opportunity to connect with a business partner who has committed to supporting the student. This could range from providing mentorship to on-site training and even full-time employment. RMCEP doesn’t just provide financial support, it also helps you through your career transition. 

Contact Us to Apply for Drive for Five Funding

If you're ready to take the first step to train or retrain for your future career, find your nearest RMCEP location or call us today. We are happy to work with you throughout the application process so you get the money you need. RMCEP specializes in finding financing programs for people who want to grow their skills and enter new careers. Even if you aren't a candidate for a Drive for Five grant, we might be able to help you in other ways. Reach out today.