The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development awarded Optivation-Bemidji State University a $49,572 Minnesota Job Skills Partnership Program grant to train 43 leaders of Lueken’s Village Foods in south Bemidji, Minnesota.
A recent expansion incorporated an aquaponics farm combining growing fish and plants in the same system. In the process of becoming an employee-run organization, they are incorporating strategies to ensure long-term success, according to state employment and economic development officials.
Optivation-Bemidji State will work with Lueken’s to develop training curriculum for employees in cross-functional teams. Two new courses will help the employees to understand and sustain aquaponics farming: Lean Aquaponics Farming Strategies and Aquaponics Lifestyle Awareness. Enterprise Thinking will help employees understand how potential improvements and better communication affect the business as a whole.
“This workforce development grant will help Lueken’s employees understand and implement aquaponics farming and incorporate sustainability, which is valuable to their work and growth strategy,” said Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development Deputy Commissioner Kevin McKinnon.
The MJSP works strategically with businesses and educational institutions to train or retrain workers, expand work opportunities and keep high-quality jobs in the state. Lueken’s Inc. includes two grocery stores; Novo, a restaurant; and TJ Studio, a web development company.