Signing Ceremony For Business Grants

Signing Ceremony For Business Grants Click to Enlarge Photo: KNSI News

(KNSI) - St. Cloud State University and two Minnesota businesses celebrated workforce development grants totaling $575,000 with a signing ceremony.

The ceremony will be held at 1 p.m. Friday at St. Cloud State's Welcome Center.

SCSU and Essilor earned a $350,000 grant, and the university and Microbiologics received a $225,004 grant from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) this October under the Minnesota Job Skills Partnership.

St. Cloud State is partnering with local industries to strengthen their workforce by delivering customized training to help them maintain their competitive edge in their sectors and meet future demands.

The training programs will serve more than 900 new and existing employees between the two companies.

Each company will acquire training customized to their specific needs to develop a workforce with cutting-edge knowledge and skills.

Combined, the companies plan to hire new workers to meet their expansion goals. Microbiologics, Essilor, and St. Cloud State will partner together with St. Cloud Technical & Community College (SCTCC) and Ridgewater Community College to deliver the customized training.

As the world leader of ophthalmic products and manufacturers of lenses that help provide corrected vision, Essilor is one of the top 15 employers in St. Cloud area. Essilor is the parent company of three local labs: DBL, Precision Optics, and Custom Eyes. Together, these labs focus on creating the most technologically advanced lenses, including the core-brands: Varilux, Crizal, and Transitions. Currently, the labs are producing 14,000 jobs per day, and double-digit forecasting increases in 2020. To help address this new demand, local Essilor labs will need to recruit and train new team members. Also, offer specialized training for existing team members, including 30 associates who will attend classes to help pass the National Opticianry Competency Exam (NOCE) and become certified.

Microbiologics is a leading provider of ready-to-use, quality-controlled microorganisms for quality control testing in multiple industries. The company is a worldwide distributor of its strains, and demand is increasing. Microbiologics is a leading employer in Central Minnesota, and its parent company, Granite Equities, has expanded Microbiologics' St. Cloud corporate headquarters twice in the past seven years with an additional expansion planned for 2020 to increase sales in coming years. The development of a company-wide training program will allow Microbiologics to streamline their processes and procedures to ensure a quality product, interconnected culture, and increased sales.

The grants are part of $2.8 million in 11 workforce development grants awarded by DEED in October to train almost 5,000 workers under the Minnesota Job Skills Partnership.

In the past eight years, St. Cloud State Center for Continuing Studies has been awarded more than $2.8 million and provided professional development training for more than 4,000 individuals at 11 different companies. The Center for Continuing Studies offers customized training for businesses on many topics, including technical and soft skills to help companies to ramp up their employees' abilities to lead to improved quality and efficiency.

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