October 2018
Innovation Award Recipient for Fifth Year!
L to R: Region Nine Executive Director Nicole Griensewic Mickelson, NADO President Doug Elliott
Region Nine has received an Innovation Award from the National Association of Development Organizations for the fifth year in a row. This year's award was for Region Nine's Rural Equity Project.

In response to growing regional interest in resources to build welcoming and inclusive communities, Region Nine, with generous support provided by the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota Foundation, the McKnight Foundation, and the Blandin Foundation, collaborated as part of a design team with Greater Mankato Diversity Council and the University of Minnesota Extension Center for Community Vitality, to plan, design, and facilitate a workshop series with 45 regional stakeholders in a collective learning cohort. The Rural Equity Learning Community was then created, in partnership with area school districts, with the purpose of sharing, examining, and exploring inclusive best practices through education and relationship-building to facilitate capacity for local community action.
Rural Policy and Development Research Series on Workforce Challenges in Greater Minnesota
Ask business owners what their biggest challenge is today and most will quickly reply, “finding help.” The common thread is simple: economic growth coupled with an aging workforce heading toward retirement and fewer young people to replace them is putting significant pressure on Greater Minnesota’s employers, making hiring significantly more challenging.

Part one of the workforce series, “Finding Work or Finding Workers?” focuses on what the job vacancy numbers are telling us about the workforce shortage in Great Minnesota communities, and dives into the job vacancy survey data collected by Minnesota’s Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) to see what it can tell us about the current workforce shortage.

Employers in Greater Minnesota are looking for ways to increase their workforce. Luckily there is a robust network of partnerships developing between private, public, and non-profit institutions working on strategies to relieve the situation. Efforts revolve around tapping “hidden talent” pools, increasing immigration and in-migration and retaining youth.
The Minnesota PIPELINE (Private Investment, Public Education, Labor and Industry Experience) Program is an innovative approach to address current and future workforce needs. It serves as a catalyst for developing industry-based, employer-driven, dual-training programs throughout the state.

The program targets four high-growth industry sectors: Advanced Manufacturing, Agriculture, Healthcare Services, and Information Technology.

By leveraging Minnesota’s success with registered apprenticeship and focusing on the targeted industries, the PIPELINE Program is assisting employers to change the question from "How do we get workers with the skills we need?" to "How do we give workers the skills we need?" Dual training, like apprenticeship, is an earn-as-you-learn approach where the employer invests in its employee by building a training infrastructure, developing career pathways and investing in the employee’s education.

The PIPELINE program dual-training grant can be used to pay for the costs of an employee’s education and related instruction with a maximum annual award amount of $150,000. This grant will be available for application in spring, 2019.
Region Nine's Fiscal Year 2018 Annual Report
Region Nine has a new look. The updated logo, revised website, and new office space reflect the dynamic changes occurring in this growing organization. While invigorating, these changes have not distracted us from the core mission of serving communities and constituents across South Central Minnesota. Within this Fiscal Year 2018 Annual Report, you will find numerous examples of how our team partners with diverse individuals and institutions to deliver consistent and sustainable progress.

As a signal of our success, Region Nine won its fourth consecutive Innovation Award of Development Organizations. Additionally, we were honored to receive the Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation's Partner of the Year Award. These awards recognize Region Nine's continuous self-improvement and our communities to support our communities.

Thank you for a fantastic Fiscal Year 2018, and I look forward to what Fiscal Year 2019 brings.


Nicole Griensewic Mickelson
Executive Director
MnDOT Offers Schools and Communities Funding for Safe Route to School Planning
Minnesota communities and schools wanting to develop safer routes for students to walk and bicycle to school can apply for planning assistance grants through the Minnesota Department of Transportation’s Safe Routes to School program. Application deadline is January 4, 2019.

“Planning assistance grants are the first step for communities to assess their current conditions for walking and bicycling to school and decide what they need to strategically and effectively implement a Safe Routes to School program,” said Dave Cowan, SRTS coordinator.

He said after a plan is developed, schools and communities can use the plan to apply for funds to advance infrastructure such as sidewalks, crosswalks, and signage as well as non-infrastructure solutions such as educational programming, encouragement events, and enforcement near schools.
The planning process works to engage stakeholders, analyze existing data, and set a prioritized list of strategies to make it safer and easier for youth to walk and bicycle to school.
Developing Your Strategic Plan
Friday, November 9th
8:00 a.m. - 9:00 a.m.

MSU-M College of Business,
Center for Innovation
& Entrepreneurship
Jen Cucurullo is the Director of Marketing and Communications for Minnesota State University College of Business and former Regional Director of the American Heart Association's Go Red for Women Events.

Her goal is to authentically communicate to her target audience while engaging them in meaningful experiences. By understanding her organization’s brand and developing a strategic plan she is able to keep her social media content relevant and moving.

Knowing your social media platforms, the messaging you want to send, and who to send it to is key in developing your strategic plan.

Join Jen Cucurullo to find out tips and tricks on how she has developed a social media content calendar.

This event is FREE and open to the public. 
In the Media
Celebrating Culture in Martin County- Read More

Region Nine Development Commission Launches MedTech Connect- Read More

Group hopes to beef up medical manufacturing- Read More

Region Nine head attending Competitiveness Exchange- Read More

Region Nine Development Commission receives 2018 Innovation Award- Read More
$$ Grant Opportunities $$
Funds Available for Youth Education or Community Development

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) announces $250,000 in grant funding for urban youth agricultural education or urban agriculture community development. The Agricultural Growth, Research, and Innovation (AGRI) Urban Agriculture Grant program is available to for-profit businesses, non-profit organizations, schools, Native American tribal communities, and local government entities.

Deadline: December 4, 2018
Cities and Counties Eligible for Freight Rail Grant Funds

Railroad companies, rail users, cities, and counties can apply for grant funding to improve freight rail service that supports economic development through the Minnesota Department of Transportation’s 2018 Minnesota Rail Service Improvement Program. The $1 million in general obligation bonds were approved during the 2017 legislative session. MnDOT may provide additional funding for projects.

This is the first time MnDOT is offering a competitive solicitation for grants for economic development.

Deadline: November 16, 2018
Calendar of Events
November 12: Office Closed, Observance of Veteran's Day