Willmar area agencies offer videos, help applying for wages for frontline workers – West Central Tribune


— Several area organizations have joined forces to educate local residents about the Frontline Worker Pay Law and help local residents apply for compensation offered by the state of Minnesota for those unable to stay at home during the COVID-19 pandemic stay.

The Mid-Minnesota Development Commission, the Kandiyohi County and City of Willmar Economic Development Commission, Willmar Area Community Foundation, Southwest Initiative Foundation and United Community Action Partnership teamed up to create videos about the Frontline Worker Pay Law and eligibility the advantages. The videos are available in English, Somali and Spanish.

The organizations also provide help filling out the applications to local individuals and groups, according to Michelle Marotzke, an economic development professional with the Mid-Minnesota Development Commission.

“Our intent is to make sure those eligible for this program are aware of this and know how to get help filling out the application,” Marotzke said.

Marotzke narrates the English video together with Sarah Swedburg of the EDC.

Both Marotzke and Swedburg can help with applications, as can Kelsey Olson with the EDC. They are willing to go to local businesses or any other appropriate place in the community to help frontline workers complete the applications.

The Willmar Public Library will also provide assistance on July 13, between 2 p.m. and 8 p.m., for those who need help filling out an application. If that day is not successful, call the library


to make an appointment for another day and time.

Those seeking assistance are asked to be prepared with their email address and other personal information, their job information, bank account number and bank routing number to make the application process swift.

Help is also available by contacting United Community Action Partnership at:


Applications for wages for frontline workers are open until July 22. The funds set aside for this program will be divided equally among all approved applicants after the application period ends. For those who are refused the wages of the frontline worker, there is an appeal period of 15 days and the appeal period.

After the closing of the application period and the appeal period, each eligible applicant will receive an equal payment, which may not exceed $1,500.

The videos explaining the wage bill for frontline workers can be found by searching “Kandiyohi County and City of Willmar EDC” at


The Somali video is narrated by Leila Hussein, a journalist who runs Somalia’s Willmar Area TV news site on Facebook.

Fernando Cano talks about the Spanish video. Cano is a graduate of the multilingual journalism program organized by the Mid-Minnesota Development Commission in conjunction with Ridgewater College and other local organizations.

Who is Eligible for Frontline Worker Pay

To qualify for frontline worker pay, an employee must have worked at least 120 hours in Minnesota in one or more frontline industries between March 15, 2020 and June 30, 2021, according to the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry website. They must also not have been able to telecommute due to the nature of the individual’s work, and have worked around people outside of their household.

There are also income requirements that individuals must meet for at least one year between December 31, 2019 and January 1, 2022. Those with direct responsibilities for COVID-19 patient care must have had an adjusted gross income of less than $350,000 for married taxpayers jointly filing, or less than $175,000 for other submitters, according to the website.

Employees in occupations with no direct responsibilities for COVID-19 patient care must have adjusted gross income of less than $185,000 for married taxpayers applying jointly, or $85,000 for other applicants.

Finally, during weeks between March 15, 2020 and June 26, 2021, employees may not have received unemployment benefits for more than 20 weeks on a cumulative basis.

Minnesota law identifies these frontline sectors:

  • long-term care and home care;
  • healthcare;
  • emergency services;
  • public health, social service and regulatory service;
  • courts and corrections;
  • Day-care;
  • schools, including charter schools, public schools and higher education;
  • food service, including manufacturing, processing, preparation, sales and delivery;
  • retail trade, including sale, execution, distribution and delivery;
  • temporary shelters and hotels;
  • construction services, including maintenance, cleaning and security;
  • public transport;
  • ground and air transport services;
  • manufacturing; and
  • vocational rehabilitation.

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