MARSHALL — The Southwest Minnesota Private Industry Council Inc. has been awarded local funds by the Otto Bremer Trust Foundation in the amount of $40,000 to provide career advisory and work-based learning opportunities and experiences to students across the 14-county region of southwest Minnesota in partnership with education and industry.

The opportunities are designed to increase knowledge of career opportunities, develop marketable experiences and skills, and build social capital that leads to higher wages and lower student debt while developing an essential talent pipeline for local employers.

As a school-to-career intermediary organization, the PIC serves as a single point of contact for employers and schools, providing a sequential, purposeful continuum of “Career Awareness, Career Exploration and Career Preparation and Skills Training” activities.

A primary focus will be on expanding Learn and Earn training models so all students have opportunities to gain the advanced skills needed that lead to higher wages. All students (ages 14-24) in the 14-county region will have the potential to benefit with targeted services to youth of color and youth with disabilities.

The impact of the project will decrease employment disparities by advancing wages of youths, prepare students for career decisions and employment, engage employers with local students, expand work-based learning opportunities and develop an essential talent pipeline for employers.

For more information, contact Eriann Faris at efaris@swmnpic.org or at (507) 476-4053.