Following through on the Minnesota Department of Commerce’s Financial Literacy Action Plan released last October, Commissioner Mike Rothman invited the heads of nine state agencies to the Department for a first of its kind Interagency Work Group on Financial Literacy at 3:00pm this afternoon. Agencies invited to participate in the work group have existing programs, outreach efforts, or other interests in financial literacy.
The goal of today’s meeting is twofold: 1) to increase communication and collaboration across the administration in order to improve or expand existing financial literacy programs; and 2) identify new ways an administration-wide partnership may help ensure Minnesotans from Kindergarten to retirement have the skills, knowledge, and resources they need to achieve financial security.
“This is an unprecedented coalition that demonstrates this administration’s strong commitment to financial literacy and consumer education,” said Commissioner Rothman. “With an economy in recovery, and an increasingly complex marketplace, countless Minnesota families are facing real and difficult financial challenges. It has never been more important to work together across agencies to strengthen the systems that educate and support knowledgeable, financially secure Minnesota consumers. Working together in strong partnership, this coalition can make a big difference in the lives and finances of Minnesotans.”
That commitment is paying off. Today, Minneapolis / St. Paul Business Journal reported some of the successes of the state’s partnerships with the business community:
To date, the state has trained more than 5,000 employees from 23 state agencies, 20 counties and four cities through its lean-management program. It also has hosted roughly 250 “kaisen” events where government employees come together to brainstorm problems and ideas for how to fix them. Officials estimate that each meeting generates $90,000 in savings, primarily by eliminating needless work for staffers — a projection that would put the total savings at approximately $22.5 million over the life of the program.
Though Minnesota Pollution Control Agency Commissioner Paul Aasen has taken heat from both sides of the political spectrum, he receives the rare credit of landing the in the “Extreme Center” in today’s Politics in Minnesota’s ‘Capitol Life’ series (Full Article, subscription required).
The article gives narrates Aasen’s rich background in the environmental movement as well as three gubernatorial administrations – all of different parties.
Government background is, of course, normal for agency commissioner appointees. What sets Aasen apart from most of his peers, said longtime MCPA division manager Mike Sandusky, is that he also knows the science that underpins his agency.
“That is sort of a rarity for us,” Sandusky says. “We don’t usually get that in a commissioner appointment. … That is powerful within our culture, as well as somewhat comforting to us.”
Minnesota benefitted from the Commissioner’s balanced approach in 2011 through common sense reform of Minnesota’s Environmental Review Process.
On Monday, Governor Mark Dayton convened the first Governor's American Indian Summit, with the goal of improving access to high quality education opportunities to all Minnesota youth. The summit brought together tribal and state education leaders, as well as key stakeholders, to address barriers and challenges currently facing the state's Indian students. Star Tribune reporter Rachel Stassen-Berger covered the event in the story below.
The dismal statistics are too familiar: American Indian students' test scores lag behind those of their white peers, their dropout rates are higher and alcohol abuse is more frequent.
On Monday, Gov. Mark Dayton kicked off the first Governor's American Indian Education summit to tackle the vexing issues.
"Something is missing," Dayton said at the opening of the daylong meeting. "Something is either not there that should be there or is there and is being misdirected, and that's the purpose of this summit."
While the gubernatorial imprimatur on the summit was unique, the DFL governor is at the end of a long line of officials who, over the years, have brought together top minds in the state to cope with the problem. The St. Paul gathering stands out because this time, the state and the 11 tribes are working side by side on the thorny issues surrounding Indian education, said Keith Hovis, a spokesman for the state Education Department.