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HF 545

1st Engrossment - 89th Legislature (2015 - 2016) Posted on 06/21/2017 11:01am

KEY: stricken = removed, old language. underscored = added, new language.

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Current Version - 1st Engrossment

A bill for an act
relating to higher education; establishing a veterans-to-agriculture pilot program;
appropriating money.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MINNESOTA:

Section 1. APPROPRIATION; VETERANS-TO-AGRICULTURE PROGRAM.

(a) $150,000 in fiscal year 2016 and $600,000 in fiscal year 2017 are appropriated
from the general fund to the Board of Trustees of the Minnesota State Colleges and
Universities for the purpose of establishing a veterans-to-agriculture pilot program. The
appropriation for fiscal year 2016 shall be used to establish the pilot program at South
Central College, North Mankato campus, and the appropriation for fiscal year 2017 shall
be used to support, in equal amounts, up to six program sites statewide, as provided in
paragraph (d). No more than two percent of the total appropriation provided by this
section may be used for administrative purposes at the system level.

(b) The veterans-to-agriculture pilot program shall be designed to facilitate the
entrance of military veterans into careers related to agriculture and food production,
processing, and distribution through intensive, four- to eight-week academic training in
relevant fields of study, job development programs and outreach to potential employers,
and appropriate career-building skills designed to assist returning veterans in entering the
civilian workforce. Upon successful completion, a student shall be awarded a certificate
of completion or another appropriate academic credit.

(c) The pilot program shall be coordinated by South Central College, North Mankato
campus' Southern Minnesota Center of Excellence for Agriculture and developed in
collaboration with the University of Minnesota Extension, the Minnesota Department
of Agriculture, the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs, and the Minnesota
Department of Employment and Economic Development. The program coordinators are
encouraged to involve other interested stakeholders in the development and operation of
the program, and may request assistance with applications for grants or other funding from
available federal, state, local, and private sources. As necessary, they may also work with
other public or private entities to secure temporary housing for enrolled students.

(d) In addition to South Central College, North Mankato campus, the pilot program
shall be delivered by up to five additional state colleges. One of the additional colleges
must be located in the seven-county metropolitan area, at a campus that has agreed to
incorporate the pilot program as part of an urban agriculture program, and the remaining
additional colleges must be located outside of the seven-county metropolitan area, at
campuses with existing farm business management programs.

(e) No later than December 15, 2017, the program shall report to the committees
of the house of representatives and the senate with jurisdiction over issues related to
agriculture, veterans affairs, and higher education on program operations, including
information on participation rates, new job placements, and any unmet needs.

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