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News & Press: MPMA News

Youth Skills Training: Kick-Off Meeting With DLI Well Attended

Monday, August 21, 2017  
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Over 50 employers, educators, and community partners met at the Department of Labor and Industry (DLI) August 15, to learn about the new Youth Skills Training Program (YST@DLI).

DLI Deputy Commissioner Jessica Looman welcomed attendees and provided a brief overview of the legislation, which the MPMA developed and championed this spring. View Deputy Commissioner Looman’s presentation here.

Attendees were grouped by region and were given nearly an hour to brainstorm, collaborate, and provide feedback about how training programs can grow and expand in their communities.

MPMA members Paul Huot (Huot Manufacturing Company), Jim Stephen (Du Fresne Manufacturing), and Archie Erickson (RMS Company) attended the meeting and provided great insights on what employers will need to participate in Youth Skills Training Program.

Employers encouraged DLI to clearly define program expectations for employer-participants and help them problem solve and work through challenges. Many people also expressed the desire for a toolkit and/or program guide.

MPMA Program About YST

MPMA will host a member program, “Putting the Youth Skills Training Program to Work for You,” featuring Deputy Commissioner Looman from 11:30 – 1:00 p.m. Thursday, October 12, at Hennepin Technical College – Brooklyn Park Campus. During the program, members will be provided with additional details on how to engage in youth training programs. For more detailed information, look in the events calendar on this website.

Roundtable Feedback

Below is a summary of the themes considered during the roundtable discussions about, “What do you need DLI to know or do to support your local partnerships?”

  • YST PROGRAM DEFINITION: Attendees requested clarity on definitions around child labor laws, what qualifies an industry to be high demand/high growth, student eligibility, and the requirements for classroom learning.
  • YST PILOT GRANT DETAILS AND TIMELINES: Attendees wanted DLI to know that the timeline for when grants are distributed is critical and cited the need to get information as soon as possible, due to seasonal schedules. Others said they need clear direction about how the grant money can be specifically used and how to manage one-time startup costs and ongoing costs. Additionally, some hoped for technical assistance to find funding sources and wondered if there were smaller grants available so more recipients could participate. Most attendees identified that they were hoping that grant applications would be available as soon as April 2018. 
  • YST@DLI PROGRAM LOGISTICS: Attendees asked for clear communication about the services DLI can provide, and expressed interest in: streamlined process/paperwork submission, e-forms, help gathering and running convening sessions, and a lack of red tape. There is interest in a DLI go-to resource (webpage/email/phone number) to get quick assistance for any grant-related questions, and easy reference tools like templates for industry or student learners.
  • MARKETING/OUTREACH TO ESTABLISH YST PROGRAMS AND LOCAL PARTNERSHIPS: Attendees requested a list of schools and employers who want to participate, and assistance to convince them to partner through presentations, or success stories from similar programs. Questions were raised around how to influence various stakeholders, such as workers’ comp insurers, parents, counselors, and students. Also noted was that programs have to be presented simply so employers can quickly understand and see the value, using minimal paperwork and “highlight reel” summaries of info (i.e. the legislation).
  • IDENTIFYING RESOURCES AND BEST PRACTICES FOR SUSTAINABILITY: Some attendees wanted to learn how Wisconsin or other states are running similar programs, and if there is a difference in regional approaches. Many asked for resource assistance in the form of guidebook/manual/video for program leaders, such as mentors and school faculty to learn how to teach soft skill development and bridge school-to-work programs. Valuable resources for businesses would be: how to start, how join a partnership, list of participating schools, how to make programs sustainable, and how to work through potential issues, such as workers’ comp. There was interest in DLI providing: a) train-the-trainer, and b) program creation consultation.

September 20 YST@DLI Webinar

On September 20, from 10:00 - 11:00 a.m., DLI will host a webinar to further discuss the YST@DLI program. The agenda will cover:

  • What is Youth Skills Training? 
  • Review the legislation
  • Grant Timeline
  • Questions and Answers
  • Next Steps


Please contact Amy Walstien ( for more information