Skip to content

Ready, Get SETT, create clean energy jobs for Minnesotans

August 29, 2012

For Immediate Release

VIRGINIA, MN – A short-term clean energy training program in northeastern Minnesota has generated seven full-time, living wage jobs and enhanced the road to employment for many more. That’s thanks to the Sustainable Employment through Training & Trade (SETT) Program, otherwise known as “Get SETT.”

Get SETT was a unique first-time effort that served 30 unemployed or underemployed individuals, helping each of them overcome barriers to secure lasting employment. The program was administered by the Arrowhead Economic Opportunity Agency (AEOA) in Virginia, Minnesota and made possible by a $232,979 grant from the U.S. Department of Energy and the Minnesota Department of Commerce, Division of Energy Resources through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).

Get SETT offered a holistic approach to developing each participant’s potential. AEOA partnered with Mesabi Range Community and Technical College in Virginia and Eveleth and Hibbing Community College to provide training in the green energy fields. The program covered a six-month period ending in April 2012. Each client worked closely with a job developer to access supportive pre-training services, green energy training, paid internships, job-seeking tools, and support services.

“Governor Dayton and the Minnesota Department of Commerce are focused on doing everything we can to get Minnesotans back on the job in good-paying, lasting jobs,” said Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman. “The Get SETT program is a great example of how we can retrain our workforce and prepare hard-working Minnesotans for career success in the new energy economy. Get SETT clearly planted a seed for personal and professional growth for all those who have participated in the program.”

Students took classes in either Green Construction curriculum at Mesabi Range Community and Technical College or in the Green Manufacturing curriculum at Hibbing Community College. A specialized certificate was awarded for each. The classroom training and internships at local businesses made for strong academic and experiential program components. But it was the services surrounding those parts that greatly enhanced success. 

For instance, students were pre-screened to ensure they were a good fit for the program. Students were also given the support needed upfront to succeed. Referrals to Adult Basic Education were made for some students needing to enhance their computer skills and college prep skills. Also, a STEPS program – Steps to Economic and Personal Success – was provided to build confidence in each student and reduce turnover. Each student worked with a job developer to identify and overcome barriers, such as home foreclosures, transportation issues, child care logistics, and medical concerns.

For more information about the Get SETT program and its participants, click here.