ST. CLOUD -- Two St. Cloud companies are each getting $350,000 grants from the state to help train their employees, as well as grow their workforce. A grant signing ceremony was held Monday for New Flyer of America, Park Industries, and St. Cloud State University.

Ricky Lawrence is the Director of Training and Development for New Flyer. He says previous grants have helped them train their floor workers.

And we've sort of enhanced the skill set of our workforce to where it is today, and that's been fantastic.  But the people that we forgot along the way were our leaders and so this grant we have now is really going to focus on our leadership teams.

Lawrence says New Flyer has a goal to increase their production schedule from 22 buses made per week to 25 buses per week to meet industry demands. They also have a goal of getting to zero defects by the year 2022.

To meet their goal, New Flyer plans to hire about 340 additional workers in the next three years.

Kelly Hansen is the Vice President of Human Resources at Park Industries. She says the company is well aware of the labor workforce shortages.

We all know that talent workforce shortage is something we're all dealing with as we move forward, and Park doesn't want to have to be on that journey with the rest of the employers that are in the same boat.  So we want to invest and train our current resources as well as provide the training that's needed as new associates come in and join the organization.

Hansen says they will use the grant money to focus on training for engineering, sales, and technical areas. Park Industries has about 315 employees now, and plan to hire about 60 new workers in the next three years.

WJON News first told you about the local companies receiving these grants back in April.

The grants are part of $1.5 million in 10 workforce development grants awarded by DEED in March to train nearly 3,000 workers statewide under the Minnesota Job Skills Partnership.

More From AM 1240 WJON