January 2020
Manufacturing Resource Center
Feasibility Study Funded by the Federal EDA
Region Nine and the City of Waseca received a U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) funding ($203,754) to conduct a feasibility study to evaluate the potential development of a Manufacturing Resource Center (MRC). The feasibility study assumes that an MRC would provide far more than just certifications and funding assistance. The proposed center would encompass a broad and ever-evolving suite of tools designed to help launch new businesses while enhancing and supporting others. A few examples include offering job creators access to specialized coaching, mentorship, and business and marketing consultancies normally outside the reach of small-to-mid sized manufacturers. Other potential offerings include shared spaces for customized trainings, educational classrooms, video conferencing, and drop-in courses open to any center beneficiary.
Strategic Partners
City of Waseca, MSU Departments of Engineering, Construction, and Industrial and Organizational Psychology, Center for Excellence in Engineering, and Direct Assessments (Minneapolis).
Food and Beverage Manufacturing Assessment
Region Nine, in partnership with the Agricultural Utilization Research Institute, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, and FoodOps, is conducting a survey to identify food and beverage manufacturing trends to support growth in these and related sectors. The goal of the survey is to help create an increased economic impact for the entire state.

This survey will remain open until February 5, 2020. Have questions about the study or survey? Contact Shawn Schloesser by shawn@rndc.org or at 507.389.8886.
New Census Bureau Tool Illustrates Job-to-Job Flows
Kevin McKinney, Heath Hayward, Keith Bailey
The rise in construction jobs in recent years has meant increased hiring from other employers and more hiring of those not currently employed.

But where is all this hiring activity happening?

Construction hiring is especially strong in the Southwest, extending through Nevada, Idaho and Colorado. There is also evidence of robust hiring in northern Appalachia, including Kentucky, West Virginia and Pennsylvania.

New features include the ability to track moves within and across metro areas, compare earning changes for job switchers, rank results and express flow volumes as a share of the local labor market (normalized data).

A new capability of the updated U.S. Census Bureau’s Job-to-Job Explorer tool (also called J2J Explorer) now shows quarterly J2JHires in the construction industry as a share of average quarterly employment for metro areas across the United States (Figure 1).

What is J2J Explorer?

J2J Explorer is a web-based interactive analysis and visualization tool based on the Census Bureau’s Job-to-Job Flows (J2J) data. The J2J data follow U.S. workers as they change jobs and flow in and out of employment.

New features include the ability to track moves within and across metro areas, compare earning changes for job switchers, rank results and express flow volumes as a share of the local labor market (normalized data).
Comprehensive Planning
Communities plan in order to manage change. Change occurs everywhere, regardless of size and location. Change can be due to a variety of reasons, including but not limited to, growth or decline in population, changing demographics, increased traffic, and growing or declining residential, commercial, and industrial areas. Communities make plans to both deal with these changes and guide future change.

A comprehensive plan is a collection of information and materials designed to guide the future development of a city or county. A comprehensive plan will provide general information and guidelines regarding transportation, utilities, land use, recreation, and housing as well as reflect the combined efforts of mayors, city council members, planning commission members, and other community organizations. Comprehensive plans are living documents and can be updated as necessary to continue to provide an accurate picture of the community's goals.

RNDC has successfully completed numerous comprehensive plans for communities throughout the region. Our trained planners can assist in all aspects of comprehensive planning, including but not limited to, launching and conducting public meetings to ensure an equitable process, developing and facilitating a local task force, compiling and updating demographic data, and working with elected officials, staff, and commissioners to understand goals and outcomes.

Learn more about comprehensive planning and completed comprehensive plans here . Ready to discuss a comprehensive plan for your community? Contact Joel Hanif, community development planner, at joel@rndc.org or 507.389.5870.
SMIF Seeking Applications for
2020 Prosperity Initiative Cohort
Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation (SMIF), in partnership with Region Nine Development Commission and Faribault Diversity Coalition , is recruiting minority-owned business owners for a new cohort of its Prosperity Initiative.
SMIF is seeking 15 businesses to participate in a 2020 Prosperity Initiative cohort. Past Prosperity Initiative graduates are also encouraged to apply to be part of this program again and take their business to a new level. The program provides directed, culturally sensitive programing, while also creating a unified and coordinated resource structure, informing partners of best practices and creating opportunities for minority populations to network and access the business community. All resources are free for participating businesses. Eligible participants include minorities, women, veterans, persons with disabilities and/or low-income business owners in SMIF’s 20-county region.
According to the US Census Bureau, 29% of Minnesota’s population in 2040 will be people of color, an increase from only 4% in 1980.

In response to this rapid growth, the Prosperity Initiative was designed to provide education and business resources to minority business owners and educate resource partners on the barriers and opportunities these individuals encounter. Since 2016, the Prosperity Initiative program has provided 66 clients with one-on-one business coaching.
The Prosperity Initiative is made possible by generous funding from Wells Fargo and Dan and Angie Bastian.
A Beginner's Guide to Conversational Marketing
Friday, January 31st
7:30 a.m. - 8:30 a.m.

Best Western Plus,
2101 S. Broadway Street, New Ulm, MN
This event is FREE and open to the public. Light breakfast provided.
Conversational Marketing is the new way to help businesses buy from other businesses. The customer has the power now and businesses must adapt to stay ahead. This talk will cover:

  • 3 cultural shifts that have happened in the last few years in sales and marketing
  • How having conversations with your customers results in less friction in the sales process
  • How you can have more conversations to create the “best” buying experience possible
  • Trends that will have an effect on sales and marketing moving forward including video and email trends

About the Speaker:

Kelvin Sims is an account manager for the Small-Medium Business Unit at Drift. He has previously served as a Conversational Marketing Advisor and has been helping businesses have more conversations with their customers during his time at Drift.
In the Media
Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation seeking applications for Prosperity Initiative - Read the Fillmore County Journal Article

New Study Explores Minnesota Food & Beverage Manufacturing Capacity - Read the Press Release

SMIF seeking initiative applications - Read the Albert Lea Tribune Article

EDA invests in Waseca, surrounding area - Read the KEYC Article

Waseca bouncing back from plant closure - Read the Sentinel Article

Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation seeking applications for Prosperity Initiative - Read the Fairbault.com Article

Waseca making progress year after Quad plant closing - Read the Star Tribune Article

U.S. Senator Tina Smith Announces $600,000 to Bolster Jobs, Economy in Waseca - Read the Press Release

Waseca to Receive Funding From US Economic Development Administration - Read the KTOE Article

Waseca making progress a year after loss of Quad Printing - Read the Free Press Article
$$ Grant Opportunities $$
Good Food Access Program Equipment and Physical Improvement Grant

The Good Food Access Program Equipment and Physical Improvement Grant (GFAP) increases the availability of and access to affordable, nutritious, and culturally appropriate food (including produce) for underserved communities in low and moderate income areas. Grants help grocery store and small food retailers make physical improvements and purchase equipment to stimulate sales of such foods.

All applicants must be engaged in the sale of nutritious and culturally appropriate foods (including fresh fruits and vegetables). The Request for Proposals outlines additional requirements of applicants and grantees, such as SNAP and WIC authorization.

Deadline: February 13, 2020
Safe Routes to School Demonstration Project Technical Assistance

Safe Routes to School Demonstration Project Technical Assistance will support communities with existing Safe Routes to School (SRTS) plans in undertaking the process to plan, design, and implement a SRTS demonstration project in their community.

 Demonstration projects are short term, low-cost, temporary roadway projects used to pilot long-term design solutions to improve walking/bicycling and public spaces. Projects might include, but are not limited to, bicycle lanes, crosswalk markings, curb extensions, and median safety islands. Demonstration projects allow public agencies, community partners, as well as people walking, biking, taking transit, and driving to evaluate potential infrastructure improvements before investing in permanent changes.

Deadline: February 14, 2020
Calendar of Events
About Region Nine
Region Nine Development Commission takes great pride in working with and on behalf of counties, cities, townships, and schools throughout South Central Minnesota. Since 1972, being a partner for progress has led to the development of programs and identification of solutions in the areas of economic development, business development, healthy communities, transportation, community development, and leveraging regional resources. To learn more about our work and mission, visit www.rndc.org.
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