Alexandria Technical & Community College is partnering with area manufacturing companies and 10 high schools to offer $5,000 and $2,500 scholarships under two separate scholarship programs.

Minnesota State's Workforce Development Scholarship program was created by the Minnesota Legislature to address the state's shortage of skilled employees in a half-dozen industries. Due to the program's success, the scholarship pot has increased to $6 million for the 2020-21 academic year. That is an increase of $4 million over the current school year.

That will translate into 66 $2,500 scholarships for ATCC students.

To qualify, students must enroll in a high-demand occupational program leading to employment in one of these industries: advanced manufacturing, agriculture, health care services, information technology, early childhood education and transportation. They must also be from Minnesota and maintain a 2.0 grade point average.

ATCC has also created a new category of scholarships. With Workplace Learning Scholarships, the college can increase the amount by raising private scholarship funds that are matched with state-funded scholarships, said ATCC Foundation Executive Director Jeff Wild.

"By partnering with local manufacturers, we are able to offer each student up to $5,000 by using state funds the first year and the match the second year," Wild said. The money would be evenly split between the two years. "Partner organizations will also have the opportunity to interview these students for hands-on, paid summer work experience. ”

The college's manufacturing partners include Aagard, Alexandria Industries, FAST Global Solutions, Brenton Engineering and Douglas Machine. ATCC is also partnering with Polaris Industries on scholarships for Powersports students, and with Ziegler CAT for Diesel Mechanics students.

“The support that we’ve received from our industry partners is huge and has allowed us the opportunity to leverage additional scholarships from the state,” ATCC President Michael Seymour said, calling it a win-win scenario.

“It’s an opportunity to attract more students into high demand occupations, provide on-the-job work experience for the student, and continue to work with business and industry to build the pipeline of trained, quality workforce in the region.”