AIC, AgCentric earn DEED workforce grant

Categories: NewsPublished On: November 20, 20231.6 min read

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The Ag Innovation Campus (AIC) was among 11 workforce development grants announced by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED). The DEED grants total over $1.4 million to six educational institutions that partnered with Minnesota businesses to develop and deliver workforce training programs addressing those employers’ specific needs. Among those is a $43,037 grant to Central Lakes College and Ag Centric for a program with the AIC and Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) 


“Workforce training programs help employers with their labor recruitment and retention efforts and provide employees with essential skills and career development opportunities,” said DEED Commissioner Matt Varilek. “Partnering with educational institutions is an effective way to deliver these programs because they help employers customize training opportunities and leverage teaching staff expertise.” 


AgCentric, a Minnesota State Center of Excellence in Agriculture, is partnering with AIC) and MFU to create a soybean crush facility employee training program at AIC in Crookston. The training will be mandatory for AIC employees and available to other crush facilities that want to upskill their existing workforces to align with the growing demands of agriculture specialty production and value-added processing. 


“AIC is so much more than just a crush plant,” said AIC Board Chair Mike Skaug, who farms in Beltrami. “It’s an innovative educational facility for the skilled workforce and this grant will help us develop tomorrow’s operators, today.”   


AgCentric promotes innovative agricultural education by connecting education and industry to support lifelong learning, career success, and community leadership.  


“Our motto at AgCentric is to bridge the gap between agriculture and education,” said AgCentric Director Keith Olander. “We are very excited about this opportunity to develop a program for AIC and the soybean crush industry.”  


The AIC is a multifaceted crush and research facility that recently completed its first building phase. It is currently hiring operators with pay starting at $26/hour. For more information on joining the AIC team, visit