Minnesota getting $47 million targeted for health care IT efforts, job training

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Administration officials today announced that Minnesota will get at least $47 million of the nearly $1 billion in stimulus funding meant to boost the use of health information technology and train workers for jobs in health care, information technology, and other high-growth sectors.

“Health information technology can make our health care system more efficient and improve the quality of care we all receive,” Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius said in a statement announcing the funds. “These grant awards, the first of their kind, will help develop our electronic infrastructure and give doctors and other health care providers the support they need as they adopt this powerful technology.”

Grants heading to Minnesota include:

  • $9.6 million to the Minnesota Department of Health to “facilitate health information exchange at the state level”
  • $19 million to Key Health Alliance (Stratis Health) in Minnesota and North Dakota to “to support the development of regional extension centers that will aid health professionals as they work to implement and use health information technology”

Also announced were grants aimed at training people to work in the high-growth industries, including:

  • $5 million to the American Indian Opportunities Industrialization Center, based in Minneapolis
  • $5 million to Northland Community and Technical College, which has two campuses in Northwest Minnesota
  • $4.5 million to South Central College, with campuses in Mankato and Faribault
  • $4.2 million to Pine Technical College, in Pine City

“Not only will this funding create immediate jobs for program instructors, it will ensure that students and workers will have access to the training that will help them get high-paying jobs in new sectors of our economy,” Rep. Tim Walz said in a statement praising the funding.

South Central President Keith Stover said the grants would be used to establish health care degree and certificate programs, as well as job placement and retention services.

“These new programs are designed to provide Southern Minnesota with the education necessary to achieve high-wage positions within the health care sector.”

Melinda Voss, spokeswoman for the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system, said Northland’s grant will go toward training maintenance workers to service unmanned aircraft systems.

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