DCTC Partners with ISD 196 on DOL Grant


Youth CareerConnect award totals nearly $3 million


Dakota County Technical College is a higher education partner with Independent School District 196 on a Department of Labor Youth CareerConnect grant of $2.98 million. ISD 196 is the lead on the funded program, E³ STEM (Exploration, Education, Employment in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math). Other partners on the DOL grant include:


Local Education Agency

Local Workforce Investment System

  • Dakota-Scott Workforce Investment Board

Institution of Higher Education

The E³ STEM program targets occupations in computer science and information technology (IT), engineering, energy technology, and biomedical technology. Partners in the grant provided more than $2.33 million in matching funds.

Anne Johnson, interim associate vice president of strategic initiatives at DCTC and Inver Hills, reported that the E³ STEM program presents 1,000 students in grades 11–14 with a pathway to employment in the high-growth H-1B STEM industry.

“E³ STEM offers students concurrent enrollment for college credit, industry credentialing and general education courses required for associate degrees,” Johnson said.

Johnson added that local, national and global employer partners are providing participants with career exploration and real-world work experiences, including job shadowing, field trips, mentorships, internships and more. E³ STEM is open to all students regardless of grade point average or other academic qualifiers. The program will focus on recruiting underrepresented students (students of color, low-income students, first-generation college students, female students, students with disabilities, and/or English Language Learners).

“E³ STEM will operate in a learning community format at both secondary and postsecondary levels,” Johnson said. “Participants will have access to multiple wraparound supports, as well as academic and career counseling throughout the program. The rich history of collaboration among partners will underpin E³ STEM, helping to ensure successful program delivery and positive student outcomes.”

From “St. Paul, Apple Valley high schools win federal redesign grants” by Mila Koumpilova, Pioneer Press

Apple Valley High School will use the grant to complete a transformation as the go-to school for students from the district’s magnet programs focused on science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM.

Next fall, the school will offer more classes in those fields, including some on weekends, online and as an independent study. Faculty from Dakota County Technical College and Inver Hills Community College will teach some of the classes.

The school also would host a new fabrication lab with three-dimensional printers, laser cutters and other technology.

A half-dozen companies have signed up to be part of the initiative at the school, including Delta Airlines and Lockheed Martin. They will offer input into school programs, internships and mentoring to students.

“What’s really exciting about this grant is that we have so many partners,” said Cathy Kindem, the district’s coordinator of innovative educational programs. “They’ll be playing a vital role in helping us integrate real-world skills and experiences in the classroom.”

Kindem said a goal of the Apple Valley High overhaul will be to attract more students of color, English learners, girls and first-generation college students—groups traditionally underrepresented in those fields.

For more information about E³ STEM, contact:
  • Anne S. Johnson, M.B.A.
    Interim Associate Vice President of Strategic Initiatives
    Inver Hills Community College & Dakota County Technical College
  • Nandi Rieck
    Federal and State Program Specialist
    Independent School District 196
  • Mark Jacobs
    Dakota-Scott Workforce Investment Board