Projects will boost manufacturing workforce, bolster energy efficiency, upgrade health care facilities, and support critical medical research
WASHINGTON - U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Tina Smith (D-MN) announced that they have secured significant federal funding in the Fiscal Year (FY) 2023 federal budget to support local projects benefiting Rochester, Austin, and Southeast Minnesota. These projects will boost manufacturing and transportation workforce development programs, bolster energy efficiency, upgrade health facilities, and support critical medical research.
“From boosting workforce development programs to supporting critical medical research, these projects will help address key issues impacting Minnesotans on a daily basis. I am proud to have worked with local leaders to push for this funding, and I know that these resources will make a real difference for so many communities across Rochester, Austin, and Southeast Minnesota,” said Klobuchar.
“What I love about this process is getting to work with community leaders to bring their ideas to fruition. These projects are going to be transformational for Rochester, Austin, and the surrounding communities,” said Smith. “From health care to housing, clean energy, and workforce development, these investments are going to make a real, positive impact on people’s lives.”
Klobuchar and Smith have secured federal investments to further the following priorities:
Boosting workforce development and skills training programs:
- $1.9 million to support Riverland Community College’s Workforce Development Learn and Earn scholarship program. This initiative enables students to participate in manufacturing and transportation programs to prepare them for careers as high-skilled technicians.
Bolstering energy efficiency and utilities:
- $2 million to help make solar and geothermal improvements to Rochester's District Energy System, which connects buildings with sustainable energy sources that provide long-term efficiency, decrease operating costs, and generate substantial environmental benefits.
Supporting critical medical research:
- $1.5 million to enable the Hormel Institute to purchase equipment to strengthen the Minnesota BioImaging Center’s imaging capabilities.
Upgrading health care facilities:
- $676,000 for Zumbro Valley Health Center to renovate and expand their Intensive Residential Treatment Service Building, which offers mental health, substance use disorder, primary care, and community-based services.
- $250,000 for Gundersen St. Elizabeth’s Hospital to upgrade and modernize its long-term care unit.
“We are so grateful to our Senators for their strong support of this renewable energy funding and a top priority project. This funding will be key to allowing us to add in solar and geothermal components to the new downtown heating and cooling system, which is important to Rochester’s overall goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” said Rochester Mayor Kim Norton.
"We are so grateful for the generous support given to The Hormel Institute, University of Minnesota. This funding will allow us to expand The Hormel Institute's innovative Cryo-EM technology that will benefit research efforts across the state of Minnesota. This is a major step forward for the state and for The Hormel Institute's vision of inspiring discoveries that improve and extend human life," said The Hormel Institute Executive Director Dr. Robert Clarke.
“Due to the great support of Minnesota Senators Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith, Riverland Community College is grateful for the Congressionally Directed Spending allocation to launch a $1.97 million Learn and Earn Initiative that engages industry partners with students in Riverland’s manufacturing and transportation programs at our three campuses in Austin, Albert Lea, and Owatonna,” said Riverland President Dr. Adenuga Atewologun. “The allocation will enable an investment into high-tech instructional equipment and create “learn and earn” opportunities for students with the cooperation of employers in high-demand fields, such as manufacturing and transportation. For employers who are currently experiencing unprecedented workforce challenges and shortages, the Learn and Earn Initiative is a strategic investment in Riverland Community College to meet workforce development needs in the region we serve.”
“There is a desperate need for adults living with severe mental illness to have enhanced residential treatment options. Zumbro Valley Mental Health Center's IRTS (inpatient residential treatment) is the only option for clients who have public insurance in our community. This funding will allow our IRTS to increase access to care by renovating our often-unusable, existing double rooms to single occupancy. It will also enhance the quality of services provided, adding group room space to better facilitate independent-living skill development to ensure our clients can achieve their goals for a more fulfilling life,” said Zumbro Valley Health Center Chief Executive Officer Beth Krehbiel.
Klobuchar and Smith have been actively involved in securing federal funding commitments to enable projects benefiting communities across the state through a process called “Congressionally Directed Spending” (CDS). Throughout the CDS process, Klobuchar and Smith considered project proposals and advocated for funding in close coordination with leaders from across the state.
Projects are expected to receive funding over the next several months.