DCTC Partnering on Minnesota FastTRAC Grant

Goodwill-Easter Seals/Transportation Career Pathways

Goodwill-Easter Seals/Transportation Career Pathways to provide training and internships for under-skilled adults in Dakota and Scott counties

Goodwill-Easter Seals/Transportation Career Pathways

The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) has awarded $1.45 million to 18 adult career pathways projects in the state under the Minnesota FastTRAC initiative to help train and place 707 workers statewide.

As part of the Minnesota FastTRAC initiative, Dakota County Technical College is partnering on an $83,043 Goodwill-Easter Seals/Transportation Career Pathways grant. Thanks to the grant, 24 under-skilled adults in Dakota and Scott counties will build foundational skills while completing basic electrical and brakes coursework and an internship. Five college credits will go toward earning an Automotive Maintenance and Light Repair 18-credit certificate.

Anne S. Johnson, M.B.A., interim associate vice president of strategic initiatives at Dakota County Technical College and Inver Hills Community College, noted that the FastTRAC grant will enhance academic programming and support for underserved populations in two counties served by the Dakota-Scott Workforce Investment Board.

“The partnership with Goodwill-Easter Seals Minnesota, Cedar Valley Learning Center, and the various automotive industry partners will help strengthen the local economy by putting citizens to work,” Johnson said. “Goodwill-Easter Seals is the fiscal agent on the grant and is also providing a career navigator. The grant will allow for credential stacking and upward mobility in the industry. The partnership is exciting and includes known best practices in helping the underserved obtain academic and employment success.”

Minnesota-FastTRAC1DCTC Interim Dean of Transportation and Industry Chad Sheets added that the Automotive Maintenance and Light Repair certificate is a high-demand credential. “We are hearing from industry all the time that MLR is a hard area to fill,” Sheets said. “The college is addressing that ongoing demand while helping individuals get the education they need to be work-ready.”

Eric Lind, Adult Basic Education (ABE) manager at the Cedar Valley Learning Center in Apple Valley, Minn., reported that Rosemount-Apple Valley-Eagan ABE is excited to be a partner on the grant.

“The role of ABE is to provide co-instruction with DCTC in three courses—Intro to Automotive Maintenance Bridge, Basic Electrical, and Brakes,” Lind said. “In the Intro to Automotive Maintenance Bridge course, a licensed ABE teacher will help students develop their academic and college readiness skills as the students are introduced to automotive maintenance concepts and equipment. In the Basic Electrical and Brakes courses, the ABE teacher will provide students additional support and instruction in the academic skills needed to succeed in these courses.”

Goodwill-Easter Seals/Transportation Career Pathways partners

Workforce development partners

  • Dakota-Scott Workforce Investment Board
  • Labor Standards and Apprenticeship Division of the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry

Community-based organization partner

  • Goodwill-Easter Seals Minnesota

Education partners

  • Rosemount/Eagan/Apple Valley Adult Basic Education
  • SouthWest Metro Adult Basic Education
  • Dakota County Technical College

Employer partners

  • Mauer Chevrolet
  • Cox Motors
  • Osceola Auto Sales & Service
  • Eppen’s Auto Service
  • Luther Automotive Group
  • Apple Valley Car Clinic
  • Inver Grove Toyota
  • Merit Chevrolet
About Minnesota FastTRAC

Minnesota FastTRAC’s approach integrates basic skills and career training in high-demand fields, meeting business needs and ensuring that students find jobs with a pathway to future employment. The collaborative effort seeks to make Minnesota more competitive by helping low-skill and low-income adults succeed in the workplace.

Minnesota FastTRAC is a partnership including the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, Minnesota Department of Education – Adult Basic Education, Minnesota State Colleges and Universities, and the Minnesota Department of Human Services. Minnesota FastTRAC partners form a professional learning community, building the capacity of educators and workforce development providers across the state to align service and deliver effective programming for high barrier populations. — Courtesy of the DEED website

Becky Brink Ray, director of employment training and education at Goodwill-Easter Seals Minnesota, pointed out the importance of career navigation in the training process. “The Goodwill-Easter Seals career navigator will be involved with students throughout Bridge, Integrated Class and continued AMLR Certificate coursework as well as the employer internship, ensuring that students are connected to critical resources on campus and addressing non‐academic needs,” Ray said. “Career navigation services are designed to support students on an individual basis, and the level of contact between each student varies, particularly as people become increasingly successful balancing academic and personal life and as their comfort increases with established campus services.”

For more information about the Goodwill-Easter Seals/Transportation Career Pathways grant, contact:
  • Chad Sheets
    Interim Dean of Transportation and Industry
    Dakota County Technical College