Nelson celebrates restored funding for Rochester P-TECH

Senator Carla Nelson
2 min readMay 16, 2024

Minnesota State Senator Carla Nelson (R-Rochester) is applauding a conference committee of House and Senate negotiators on the education finance bill for adopting an amendment she championed to preserve funding and eligibility for Rochester’s groundbreaking P-TECH program.

Senator Nelson had been sharply critical of a provision authored by Senator Liz Boldon (DFL-Rochester) earlier in session that phased out Rochester P-TECH funding. Senator Nelson offered an amendment to restore Rochester’s eligibility during a recent floor debate.

“As the original author of the legislation that funded Minnesota P-TECH, I could not stand by while recent versions of P-TECH legislation were poised to completely undermine the program’s foundation,” Senator Nelson said. “Rochester P-TECH has been providing unmatched STEM education and career pathways; we should not even consider jeopardizing this renowned and successful career education program. The conference committee amendment makes a critical course correction that upholds our commitment to Rochster’s innovative P-TECH model. I am glad Senator Boldon and Senator Kunesh listened to public feedback and my advice, and I applaud them both for helping this amendment be adopted in the conference committee.”

The conference committee amendment deletes a previously proposed two-year cap on state support grants that would have made Rochester ineligible for further P-TECH funding after 2025. It also appropriates $791,000 in FY25 solely for Rochester. In FY26, $791,000 will be appropriated for P-TECH programs with $500,000 allocated specifically to Rochester. Beginning in FY27 and later, $791,000 will be provided to P-TECH programs with Rochester receiving $250,000.

“P-TECH has been and must remain a program that transcends the partisan rancor,” Senator Nelson said. “I look forward to this model continuing its mission to empower future leaders.”

The P-TECH model is a public-private partnership that prepares students for high-skill jobs in identified growth industries. It provides a rigorous, relevant, and cost-free education in grades 9 to 14, inclusive, with a focus on STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) careers. Students also benefit from workplace learning opportunities, such as mentoring by industry professionals, worksite visits, speakers, and internships, as well as intensive, individualized academic support from secondary and postsecondary faculty.