Rochester WorkForce Center now open

Lowell from Byron.jpg
Lowell Arnold, left, of Byron, stopped by the new Rochester Workforce Center Tuesday to check employment opportunities. Helping Arnold is Mary Onsgard.

After first being envisioned 11 years ago, a "palace of partnerships" has opened at Rochester Community and Technical College's Heintz Center.

The 22,800-square-foot addition Rochester WorkForce Center hosted a grand opening for dozens of Rochester and state leaders Tuesday. The new facility brings all of the Workforce Center's about 50 employees under one roof.

The center helps people find jobs or training plus it works with businesses looking for workers.

It was financed by $8.7 million in state funding, originally requested by former Rochester Community and Technical College President Don Supalla in 2001.

"I always figure it takes about 10 years for something to get through the legislature," Supalla told the crowd.


Executive Director Randy Johnson emceed Tuesday's grand opening celebration. He coined the phrase "palace of partnerships."

Other speakers included Supalla; current RCTC President Leslie McClellon; Rochester Mayor Ardell Brede; Sen. Carla Nelson, R-Rochester; Rep. Kim Norton, D-Rochester; Rep. Duane Quam, R-Byron; Sen. Dave Senjem, R-Rochester; and Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development Commissioner Katie Clark Sieben, who is in charge of the state's almost 50 WorkForce Centers.

This is the seventh WorkForce Center paired with a Minnesota State Colleges and Universities school, according to Sieben.

"Being co-located makes a ton of sense," she said. "It's the perfect marriage."

Beside creating a direct link between RCTC students and businesses looking for employees, many speakers noted this is helps set the stage for the 35,000 new jobs predicted to be generated in coming years by Mayo Clinic's Destination Medical Center initiative.

"We're going to have a lot of newcomers," said Johnson. "This is the front door for them to walk through to find jobs."

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