News

Workforce summit held in Willmar to help businesses recruit and retain

January 21, 2022

Workforce summit held in Willmar to help businesses recruit and retain
WILLMAR—The world and its workforce have changed dramatically over the past several years and employers need to change right along with them. That was the overall message at the Workforce Solutions Summit held Thursday in Willmar. Sponsored and produced by a partnership of several regional economic development and community organizations, the summit brought dozens from the surrounding business area to the Willmar Community (sic) Center. There were presentations on labor market trends, diversifying

FedEx behind massive logistics facility being constructed in Willmar Industrial Park

January 13, 2022

FedEx behind massive logistics facility being constructed in Willmar Industrial Park
WILLMAR—The end user for the massive logistics facility being constructed in the Willmar Industrial Park has finally been identified publicly. “It’s official; it is FedEx,” said Aaron Backman, executive director of the Kandiyohi County and city of Willmar Economic Development Commission. The project is estimated to be worth more than $30 million, and includes the construction of a 217,000-square-foot distribution center, located between Willmar and Trott Avenues Southwest along

Kandiyohi County Commissioners and state legislators agree on importance of broadband

January 8, 2022

Kandiyohi County Commissioners and state legislators agree on importance of broadband
WILLMAR—At their annual visit to the Kandiyohi County Board of Commissioners, District 17 Senator Andrew Lang, R-Olivia, and District 17B Representative Dave Baker, R-Willmar, were on hand to not only give an update on what is happening in St. Paul, but to also take in the concerns and priorities of the board. “We’re here today to listen,” Baker said. The topic the group spent the most time on during Tuesday’s meeting was broadband. Since early 2021, the county board has

Kandiyohi County continues to wage war against aquatic invasive species

January 3, 2022

Kandiyohi County continues to wage war against aquatic invasive species
WILLMAR— Despite a shortage of trained inspectors, Kandiyohi County was able to stop 230 violations of the state’s aquatic invasive species rules at boat launches of several county lakes this year. Any one of those violations, if the boats had reached the water, could have led to increased spread of aquatic invasive species, which are known to have a negative impact on the ecosystems of the lake. “We did catch a good number of violations this year,” said Russ Hilbert, county

Ridgewater offering no-cost nursing classes to address shortage

January 1, 2022

Ridgewater offering no-cost nursing classes to address shortage
As a means of alleviating nursing home staffing shortages, Ridgewater College announced this week that it will be offering nursing assistant classes—at no cost—to participating students. These classes will be offered on both the Willmar and Hutchinson campuses starting Jan. 3 with the 32 students already enrolled, scheduled to complete their courses by Jan. 31. Once trained, the Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs) will become eligible for employment at Minnesota long-term care facilities that

Kandiyohi County gives money for broadband

January 1, 2022

Kandiyohi County gives money for broadband
WILLMAR—Twenty-three homes along 30th Avenue Northwest in Dovre Township of Kandiyohi County might soon have access to high-speed broadband. A proposed Charter project would bring speeds up to 100 megabits download and 20 megabits upload to the area, which is currently considered unserved by the state. “It is kind of isolated,” said Kandiyohi County Administrator Larry Kleindl at the Dec. 21 Kandiyohi County Board of Commissioners meeting. “We are trying to get them some broadband

A new class of future Kandiyohi County business leaders graduates from Elevate Business Academy

December 31, 2021

A new class of future Kandiyohi County business leaders graduates from Elevate Business Academy
WILLMAR—Their business dreams include a barbecue restaurant, a fashion line, a shoe store, a family entertainment destination and the continued success of a community coffee house. The seven men and women—Candace Aaker, Nick Aaker, Mohammed Abdi, Daniel Carranza, Fatouma Hachim, Hans Hibma and Victoria Hibma—who participated in the second class of the Elevate Business Academy celebrated those dreams in front of a small crowd of friends, family, business leaders and elected officials from across

Downtown Willmar streetscape project to be redesigned to meet grant fund parameters

December 28, 2021

Downtown Willmar streetscape project to be redesigned to meet grant fund parameters
WILLMAR—The streetscape project being proposed for the intersection of Litchfield Avenue and Fourth Street Southwest in downtown Willmar has hit a rather large snag. The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, which administers the Small Cities grant program from which most of the funding is coming, has raised serious concerns about the plan and whether it will fund a major aspect of the project. The city was awarded a $750,000 grant from the program, with $400,000 earmarked

Willmar School Board adopts tax levy and passes, for now, on proposal to develop turf field near Willmar Civic Center

December 14, 2021

Willmar School Board adopts tax levy and passes, for now, on proposal to develop turf field near Willmar Civic Center
WILLMAR—The property tax levy that funds Willmar Public Schools will decrease 1% in the next year. The Willmar School Board voted at its meeting Monday to adopt the levy, following its Truth-in-Taxation public hearing. The board also heard a presentation about possibly developing a full football stadium at the new turf football field between the Willmar Civic Center and Willmar Senior High School. Kathryn Haase, director of business and finance, led the board through a review of the property tax

MinnWest Technology Campus in Willmar requesting tax abatement for three additional buildings to be renovated

December 14, 2021

MinnWest Technology Campus in Willmar requesting tax abatement for three additional buildings to be renovated
WILLMAR—Fifteen years after it was first established, the MinnWest Technology Campus continues to be transformed into one of Kandiyohi County’s economic development stars. Currently, it is home to 27 different companies offering employment to 693 people, with an average salary of $55,000 a year. “It is a real gem for this community,” said James Sieben, president of both the campus and Nova-Tech Engineering, one of the largest employers on the campus located in Willmar. However,