Minnesota Department of Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius speaks with students
Congratulations to the Minnesota Department of Education! This week, MDE’s Regional Centers of Excellence program won the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs 2014 State Government Innovation Award. The awards recognize excellence in state government agencies and seek to encourage experimentation and innovation in Minnesota. Winners were judged based on a three-part set of criteria: innovation (40% of the score), impact (30%) and sustainability (30%). The winning agencies demonstrated significant improvements in service, progress, and impact of the program.
To be considered, agencies had to demonstrate a performance management system for accountability, evaluations and program budgets. The winning agencies showcased programs that used technology in creative ways, targeted services to those most in need, and demonstrated collaboration and consolidation between organizations. An awards ceremony will be held Thursday, August 7, 2014 at the Minnesota History Center. Click here for more information.
Regional Centers of Excellence
The Minnesota Department of Education put in place Regional Centers of Excellence to focus schools and districts on closing achievement gaps between students. Center directors, regional staff, the Department of Education and service cooperatives work collaboratively to raise student achievement through support for all students. There are 6 centers across the State of Minnesota, serving the communities around Rochester, Sartell, Thief River Falls, Marshall, Fergus Falls and Mountain Iron.
Other Winners Include
Left to right: Bloomington Mayor Gene Winstead; Jeff Appelquist, author of Toro's recently released centennial book; Governor Mark Dayton (Minnesota); and Michael J. Hoffman, Toro's chairman and CEO (Photo: The Toro Company)
Governor Dayton traveled to Bloomington to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of Toro yesterday. The company, which designs and manufactures lawn care and landscaping equipment, is one of the state’s largest companies – employing about 1,800 in Minnesota.
“Part of the mentality of Toro is reaching out to its customers and to the communities, and developing high-quality products while strengthening your market through innovation,” said Governor Dayton. “I don’t think that the founder could have imagined 100 years ago that Toro would grow to be a Fortune 1000 company, or that more importantly, you’d be a leading corporate citizen in Minnesota. Your contributions to this state have been enormous.
Governor Mark Dayton speaking at the the 2014 Veterans Career Fair.
Today, Governor Dayton traveled to the 2014 Minnesota Veterans Career Fair. At the Brooklyn Park event, the Governor thanked Minnesota employers for their continued commitment to hiring and supporting military veterans. The job fair, hosted by the Department of Employment and Economic Development, is the largest event in Minnesota for veteran job seekers.
“Hiring veterans is one of the best investments a business or organization can make,” said Governor Dayton. “Minnesota veterans have the skills employers are looking for, including leadership, intelligence, dedication, and loyalty. They offer the energy and know-how our economy needs. I thank the 140 employers who are participating in tomorrow’s Career Fair, and offer the state’s continued support to Minnesota’s heroes as they search for good jobs and new careers in our communities.”
Now in its eighth year, the Minnesota Veterans Career Fair has been quite successful in connecting veterans with jobs. Historically, 10 to 15 percent of veterans who have attended have found a received a job offer there.
And to make it easier for Minnesota veterans to pursue job opportunities, Governor Dayton and Hilton Hotels announced a new initiative yesterday to provide free accommodations to veterans. Under the new pilot program, veterans who are searching for employment, attending job interviews or skills training, or are looking for new housing in Minnesota, are eligible for three free nights at a Hilton Hotels location in our state.
According to Hilton Worldwide, the average hotel stay in the Twin Cities metropolitan area costs $200 per night. That means veterans who are eligible for free hotel accommodations can save up to $600 under the new pilot program.
Minnesota veterans seeking job opportunities should visit the Department of Employment and Economic Development website. On the website, veterans can find valuable resources to help them find a job or start a business.
Governor Dayton signs the Women's Economic Security Act, one of several laws now taking effect.
Governor Dayton is committed to improving state government – from investing in education and improving the state's infrastructure to taking steps to ensure high-quality health care. Through the work done in the 2014 legislative session, many great strides were made in keeping this promise. Here are ten of the laws and reforms signed by the Governor that are going into effect today:
New $70 million office tower is largest commercial development in the history of downtown Duluth
ST. PAUL, MN – Today, Governor Mark Dayton, Mayor Don Ness, local officials, and area business leaders broke ground on a new $70 million office tower in downtown Duluth. The project, which will serve as the corporate headquarters for maurices – a Duluth-based international retail company – will create and retain 900 jobs and leverage $50 million in private investment. When complete, the 11-story office tower will house hundreds of maurices employees and represent the largest commercial development project in the history of downtown Duluth.
“This is a tremendous accomplishment for maurices, and a monumental investment in downtown Duluth,” said Governor Dayton. “I thank maurices for its continued commitment to Minnesota, and for the many hundreds of jobs this project will create and support in the coming years.”
Founded in 1931 as a small retail store in Duluth, maurices has grown into an international business operating over 900 stores across the United States and Canada. Over the last five years, maurices has grown significantly, opening more than 250 stores and increasing its sales by 65 percent. Between its Duluth headquarters and 45 store locations across Minnesota, maurices employs over 1,200 Minnesotans with a statewide annual payroll of $30 million.
As the company continues growing, maurices needed additional space to accommodate up to 600 associates. Right now, maurices employs 425 associates spread among three different office buildings in downtown Duluth. When completed in 2016, the new corporate headquarters will consolidate those employees into one space, and provide room for the company to keep growing.
Project Received $8.5 Million in State Funding
In 2012, the project received $8.5 million in a competitive economic development grant from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED). These competitive grants were funded by a $500 million Jobs Bill signed into law by Governor Dayton in May of 2012. DEED awarded the grants to economic development projects statewide based on five criteria, including: project readiness, job creation, potential to leverage additional public and private investment, regional impact, and public benefit. The maurices project was among the top three ranked projects out of 37 finalists.
Governor Dayton's Job Creation Fund helped Cardiovascular Systems add 205 jobs at its New Brighton site
NEW BRIGHTON – Medical device manufacturer Cardiovascular Systems Inc. announced plans today to build a $30 million headquarters in New Brighton and to expand its workforce with 205 new, high-paying jobs within two years.
The company said it will build a two-story, 125,000-square-foot building with office, research and development, and manufacturing space at the New Brighton Exchange, a 100-acre site at the northwest corner of Interstates 35W and 694.
Cardiovascular Systems currently employs 191 workers at its existing headquarters in New Brighton, about 2 miles south of the new site. The new headquarters building, which is expected to be completed next March, will have the capacity to accommodate 500 workers.
"This is great news for Minnesota,” said Governor Mark Dayton. "We are very pleased that Cardiovascular Systems Inc. has chosen New Brighton for its new headquarters. I thank CSI for this important expansion that will add 205 good-paying jobs to our state."
More than 235,000 Minnesotans have enrolled in high-quality, competitively-priced coverage since October
When Governor Dayton took office in January 2011, Minnesota’s uninsured rate hovered just above 8 percent. To address this important issue, the Governor committed to expanding affordable health care coverage to all Minnesotans.
In November 2011, the Governor signed an executive order directing state government to begin developing a health insurance exchange. Then in March 2013, Governor Dayton signed legislation to further the development of MNsure.
With a recovering economy and the creation of MNsure, Governor Dayton has delivered on his committed to improve access to health insurance. A new study from the University of Minnesota shows Minnesota’s uninsured population is at an all-time low. Today, more than 95 percent of Minnesotans have health insurance.
The University of Minnesota’s report found that between September 30, 2013 and May 1, 2014, there was a dramatic 41 percent drop in the number of uninsured Minnesotans, falling from 8.2 percent of the population to 4.95 percent, now the second lowest rate of uninsured individuals in the country.
There is more work to do to help ensure all Minnesotans are covered, but the new report demonstrates that health reform in Minnesota is providing more Minnesotans than ever access to the health care they need. And when Minnesotans have access to health care, they are healthier and more productive – benefiting out entire state.