Governor Dayton speaks at the 2012 Disabilities Day Rally in the Minnesota State Capitol Rotunda.
The Partners in Policymaking Program recently celebrated its 25th Anniversary, marking a quarter century of advocacy, education, and inspiration for people with developmental disabilities and their families.
Since 1987, the program – led by the Department of Administration’s Developmental Disabilities Council (DDC), has provided leadership training for parents of children with developmental disabilities and adults with disabilities. By helping these individuals self-advocate and form relationships with elected officials and policymakers, the program empowers them to positively shape the policies and services that impact their lives.
Governor Mark Dayton kicked off Minnesota’s largest veterans career fair this morning by proclaiming July “Hire a Veteran” month. Today at the Minnesota Veterans Career Fair the Governor urged businesses to hire veterans and noted their skills and leadership abilities are what Minnesota employers are looking for.
“Hiring veterans is one of the best investments businesses can make in the future success of their companies and of our state,” Governor Mark Dayton said. “Veterans have the skills Minnesota employers are looking for, including leadership, intelligence, dedication, and loyalty. They also have proven their abilities to perform at the highest levels under all kinds of pressures and conditions.”
Governor Dayton’s office also recently hired a Minnesota Veteran, Amanda Ingvaldson, after she returned from serving with the Minnesota National Guard in support of ‘Operation Iraqi Freedom.
By increasing the public’s awareness of the high unemployment rate of veterans, “Hire a Veteran” month not only gives veterans an opportunity to work but it also promotes good business in Minnesota.
The Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area is going to grow a lot in the next few decades, and Governor Dayton is proud to be leading Minnesota into a new era of increased output, population, and diversity.
According to demographic changes projected by the Metropolitan Council, the Twin Cities metro area will see substantial growth in overall population, population diversity, economic output and jobs over the coming three decades.
The Council projects that by 2040, the greater Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area will grow by 893,000 people, to a total of 3,743,000, and that 43% of the metro population will be people of color (up from 24% in 2010). This is a slower growth rate per decade – at roughly 9 or 10 percent – than the 15 percent the metro area witnessed in the 1980s and 90s.
In a recent editorial for Access Press, a Minnesota disability news outlet, Steve Larson, senior public policy director for The Arc Minnesota commended state leaders for their work to reverse a number of funding cuts to Minnesota Health and Human Services (HHS).
These reversals delayed cuts to the wages of personal care attendants and disability service providers until the next legislative session and reduced the cut to community services for 2,600 Minnesotans with disabilities by half. ” Disability advocates will need to fight again next session to make these reversals permanent,” says Larson.
The issues of funding to key Health and Human Services sectors were first highlighted by Governor Dayton in his 2012-2013 supplemental budget proposal, and were ultimately addressed with his signing of the HHS omnibus budget bill, a bipartisan effort which restored roughly $18 million in funding lost during the 2011 budget compromise. This new spending was offset by savings to the state from a 1 percent cap on health plan profits negotiated by the Dayton Administration which resulted in the return of $73 million to state and federal taxpayers .
As part of Governor Mark Dayton’s Better Government for a Better Minnesota reform initiative, state government officials are turning their attention to the rising costs of higher education.
Last week, Governor Dayton, Senator Franken, and Office of Higher Education Director Larry Pogemiller met with students from around the state to discuss the challenges they face, including higher tuition costs and crippling student debt. At the same time, state higher education funding per student has fallen by 48% since 2000. Colleges are trying to educate students with far fewer resources, and many of the costs are now falling to students themselves. These obstacles are limiting Minnesota students’ educational opportunities and are making it more difficult for them to gain the education they need to succeed in the workforce.
After Monday’s meeting in Minneapolis, OHE Director Pogemiller toured the state to get feedback from other colleges. He traveled to Austin and Winona last week to discuss the rising costs of college for students. He stressed the need for the state to return higher education funding to historical levels to help students manage their costs. The Office of Higher Education already works to provide tips to current and prospective students on how they can lower the costs of a college education, and the department strives to improve the resources they offer.
A new report issued by the Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) showed that Minnesota employers added 6,200 jobs to the state economy in February, marking three consecutive months of job growth in Minnesota. This is an important milestone in Minnesota’s economic recovery. The state has already regained half the jobs it lost during the recession.
Education and Health Services was the leading sector in job creation, adding 5,100 jobs last month. Other areas posting strong job growth include the Government and Leisure and Hospitality sectors. "The labor market recovery appears to be gaining steam, with three consecutive months of strong job growth," said DEED Commissioner Mark Phillips. "The state has now recovered 81,400 jobs since the recession."
Governor Mark Dayton’s New Jobs New Jobs Tax Credit is focused on immediate job creation. It would provide businesses with a $3,000 tax credit for each unemployed Minnesotan, Veteran or recent graduate hired in calendar year 2012 and a $1,500 credit for each new hire through June 2013. This $35 million initiative would create over 10,000 new, private-sector jobs each year.
As Minnesota emerges from a deep recession, the focus of the legislature needs to remain on job creation. Today, 55,000 more people are employed than at the height of the recession, but many more remain jobless. The New Jobs Tax Credit is designed to give local businesses an incentive to hire unemployed Minnesotans, especially those who were hardest hit by the recession, Minnesota veterans and recent college graduates.
Minnesota National Guard’s Adjutant General, Richard Nash, recently reported that of the over 3,000 Minnesota Guardsmen and women presently serving in Kuwait, 22% of them will be unemployed, when they return home. The New Jobs Tax Credit will ensure that we reverse this shameful fact and make sure all of Minnesota’s veterans return to jobs in their hometowns across the state of Minnesota.
This week, we saw the real results that can be achieved by a Governor who has an unwavering commitment to putting Minnesotans back to work. This week was full of encouraging developments for Minnesotans who are looking for work, in large part to the efforts of Governor Dayton and his administration.
On Tuesday, we found out that there are nearly 50,000 vacant jobs in our state, an increase of almost 50% from this time last year. While there is still work to be done to ensure that our workforce has the skills they need to fill those jobs, the most recent job vacancy survey released by DEED this week is reason to be hopeful.
On Wednesday and Thursday, the legislature finally held hearings on the Governor’s jobs proposals. His tax credit for hiring unemployed Minnesotans, veterans and recent graduates would put up to 10,000 people back to work by providing tax incentives to businesses. The Governor’s proposed expansion of FastTRAC was also heard. Expanding FastTRAC statewide will be crucial in ensuring that our state’s workers have the skills they need to fill the jobs that are available now and in the future.
ST. PAUL – Job vacancies in Minnesota climbed 47.6 percent in the fourth quarter of 2011 compared with the same period a year earlier, according to figures released today by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED). Employers reported 49,900 openings during the quarter, compared with 33,800 openings one year earlier.
The agency’s Job Vacancy Survey – conducted twice annually in the second and fourth quarters – also found that the state had 3.2 unemployed people for each vacancy during the quarter, compared with 5.8 unemployed people for each vacancy one year earlier.
“These figures add to the mounting evidence of an improving job market in Minnesota,” said DEED Commissioner Mark Phillips. “While the labor market is still tight for workers in certain sectors, overall openings statewide have nearly doubled since 2009.”
This week, America celebrated Military Saves Week – a week-long campaign focused on encouraging the men and women of our armed forces to learn more about their finances, take full advantage of military benefits, and avoid financial fraud that targets military servicemembers.
In recognition of Military Saves Week, the Minnesota Department of Commerce launched a new section of our website dedicated exclusively to providing financial tips and tools for military servicemembers, veterans, and their families. Knowledge is power, and oftentimes information is the best defense for the financial wellbeing of any family – including military families.
At the Department of Commerce, we know the stresses of deployment can have a significant impact on the budgets of military personnel and their families. With a long list of uncertainties to navigate, it is essential for military servicemembers to utilize all available resources to make informed financial decisions before, and after deployment. That’s what this effort is all about.