$7M is headed to youth work programs across Minnesota

MN Lt. Gov. talking with St. Paul Youth
MN Lt. Gov. talking with St. Paul Youth(Quinn Gorham)
Published: Jul. 13, 2023 at 6:06 PM CDT
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ST. PAUL, Minn. (GRAY) – This week, the Walz administration announced it awarded $7M in grant money to 47 youth organizations around the state.

Thursday, Lt. Governor Peggy Flanagan visited a community center in St. Paul to highlight the investments alongside lawmakers and state leaders.

“We’re helping young people imagine themselves as doctors, entrepreneurs, professors, public servants, mayors, lieutenant governors, and they can make a plan to really get there,” said Flanagan.

According to the Walz administration, almost 39% of the funding is going to organizations serving greater Minnesota. An additional 2% is headed to organizations that serve both the metro and Greater Minnesota. Matt Varilek, Commissioner of DEED, says the money aims to improve workforce outcomes in underprivileged youth, whether that be in an urban or rural community.

“In a rural case, for example, maybe there’s a challenge of transportation and getting folks from point A to point B. Or maybe the employers are different, and the local needs of those employers are different,” said Varilek.

Lawmakers highlighted Right Track on Thursday, a group that helps set youth in the St. Paul area up with a wide variety of jobs, including in government, politics, and civil service. Varilek says the needs of each community are different, which is why they’ve tried their best to diversify investments.

“That’s why we work with Right Track, for example, which knows how to operate in its community. It’s a little different than in another community. And so I think there are lots of reasons to believe that these are very sound investments,” he said.