Minnesota State College Southeast has been selected by Minnesota State to receive a Local Partnerships Program award of $65,000 to fund an extension of the REACH program, a partnership with the Winona Area Chamber of Commerce. REACH began in fall 2017 with 30 juniors in manufacturing at Winona Senior High School and has since expanded to include more schools and career areas. Through this award, REACH will be extended to the Wabasha-Kellogg and Lewiston-Altura school districts.
“We are excited that students from two new districts will benefit from the REACH program because of this grant award,” said Larry Lundblad, MSC Southeast interim president. “This outstanding program provides high school students the opportunity to gain skills and to experience the workplace first-hand through immersions and internships.”
The award is part of a statewide initiative funded by the Minnesota Legislature during the 2019 session to encourage community-level partnerships that support high-demand industries or occupations in Minnesota. The purpose of the Local Partnerships Program is to support partnerships between colleges and universities of Minnesota State and their local employers, K-12 school districts, trade associations, local chambers of commerce, and economic development authorities.
“The partnerships our state colleges and universities form with local employers and community-based organizations make our college and university programs strong and enhance the success of our students,” said Devinder Malhotra, chancellor of Minnesota State. “I offer my sincere congratulations to MSC Southeast and to its partners — the Winona Area Chamber of Commerce, Chamber Business Education Network, and REACH Councils — for their innovative thinking in forming these partnerships and imagining this creative way to drive the vitality of Minnesota’s economy.”
Students who participate in REACH have the potential of earning college credits while still enrolled in high school. Through a dual-credit arrangement, REACH students graduate with both a high school diploma and certificate with earned college credits from Minnesota State College Southeast. Manufacturing and tech students can earn a certificate in Prototype Engineering, while health care students can graduate with a Nursing Assistant certificate.
The Local Partnerships Program award process was extremely competitive, with 28 proposals totaling $1.7 million in requests. “We are deeply grateful to the legislature for their support and funding this innovative program,” said Chancellor Malhotra.
Other colleges and universities of Minnesota State that were selected to receive awards under the Local Partnerships Program include Central Lakes College, Minnesota State University, Mankato, Minneapolis College, Northwest Technical College, Normandale Community College, Saint Paul College, and the Northeast Higher Education District.