Federal funding secured for project benefiting Riverland

Published 2:41 pm Thursday, December 22, 2022

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

Projects will boost manufacturing workforce, bolster energy efficiency, upgrade health care facilities and support critical medical research

U.S. Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith on Friday announced  they have secured significant federal funding in the fiscal year 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,” Klobuchar said. “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.”

Email newsletter signup

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.

Riverland President Adenuga Atewologun said the Learn and Earn initiative is a strategic investment to meet workforce development needs in the region.

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  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 Robert Clarke.

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.