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Labor Secretary Perez Visits Burnsville WorkForce Center

Posted on May 20, 2014 at 1:56 PM
Tags: job training

U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez packed a lot of activities into his visit to the Twin Cities last Friday, including touring DEED’s Burnsville WorkForce Center and participating in a roundtable with workforce development professionals.

DEED Commissioner Katie Clark Sieben with U.S. Labor Secretary Thomas Perez

DEED Commissioner Katie Clark Sieben looked on while U.S. Labor Secretary
Thomas Perez made a point during a visit to the Burnsville WorkForce Center
last Friday.

DEED Commissioner Katie Clark Sieben welcomed Perez to the Burnsville facility and introduced him to roundtable participants representing business, higher education, labor, government and nonprofits. Rick Roy, director of workforce system coordination at DEED, and Jim Finley, director of veterans’ employment services at the agency, were among those participating in the roundtable.

Finley and others conveyed a similar message: They are working hard to develop programs and curriculums to train today’s workers for tomorrow’s jobs. With a wave of baby boomers on the threshold of retirement, it will be imperative for a younger generation of Minnesotans to learn the skills that will help the state maintain a quality workforce.

Secretary Perez said he was impressed by what he heard and said other states could benefit by adopting some of the workforce development strategies that are underway in Minnesota.

His visit also included a meeting with St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman to bring attention to the national Youth CareerConnect program aimed at preparing high school students for the workforce. The St. Paul School District and St. Paul College received a $3.7 million grant from the U.S. Labor Department’s CareerConnect initiative to develop a program that will ready students for careers in finance and information technologies.

Later on Friday, Secretary Perez visited Chuck and Don’s pet supply store on Lake Street in Minneapolis to promote President Obama’s proposal to raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour, indexed to inflation. The Minnesota Legislature earlier this spring approved a measure that will raise the state’s minimum wage to $9.50 an hour by 2016.

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