According to the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, the Minnesota workforce is 2.8 million strong as of July 2013. Minnesotaworks.net held a career fair in November 2012 where community members were able to have their personal resumes critiqued to better prepare them for the job search (Photo courtesy of the Minnesota DEED Facebook page).
Employers relocating to Minnesota often tell DEED’s Business and Community Development representatives that the quality of the workforce is one of the driving factors. But what does quality mean?
Does equality equate with educational attainment? Labor force participation rate? The hard-to quantify — yet frequently heard – tireless work ethic? Rate of absenteeism? The quality of the workforce likely means different things to different employers.
Some look to the state’s labor market participation rate as an indicator that Minnesotans are hard working. We know Minnesota’s labor force participation rate, which measures the proportion of the population age 16 and older that is employed or actively looking for work, is 70.3 percent, the third-highest labor force participation rate nationwide. The U.S rate is 63.7 percent.
This week marks the beginning of the Minnesota State Fair; and Governor Mark Dayton is asking Minnesotans for their ideas to make state government better, faster, and simpler.
At more than a dozen state agency booths across the State Fair, fair-goers will be able to find more information about Governor Dayton’s ‘Unsession’ Agenda, and have an opportunity to provide their suggestions to the Governor. Suggestion boxes will be set up at each state agency booth, and Minnesotans will also be able to submit their Unsession ideas online over the next several weeks. The Governor is asking specifically for ideas for the upcoming 2014 Legislative Session.
The Unsession, proposed by Governor Dayton, will focus on eliminating unnecessary or redundant laws, rules, and regulations, and getting rid of anything else that makes state government nearly impossible for people to understand.
“My request of Minnesotans is simple: send me your Unsession suggestions,” said Governor Dayton. “Send big ideas that could revolutionize how state government operates, or commonsense changes that would eliminate headaches for Minnesotans. I invite every Minnesotan to join in building a better state government that better serves you.”
The Dayton Administration is also asking state employees for their ideas. The Governor sent a personal email to the state’s more than 30,000 state employees this week, asking for their reform ideas and suggestions. Already, nearly 1,200 state employees have registered to participate, and over 300 Unsession suggestions have been collected from state employees in just the first four days.
Improving how state government works has been a hallmark of the Dayton Administration. State employees have already made important reforms that have saved Minnesotans time and money – including changing the way the state pays for health care, reducing expensive and time-consuming paperwork, and creating new online solutions for permit applications. Other examples of improvements achieved over the last several years include reducing the waiting times for vehicle registrations from 90 days to just 10 days, cutting environmental permit waits by over 40 percent, and making hunting and fishing licenses available on smartphones.
Submit Your Unsession Suggestion
If you have a good idea for how to make state government better, faster, or simpler, Governor Dayton wants to hear from you. Over the next three weeks, the Governor will be accepting suggestions online and at the Minnesota State Fair. Your idea might just be the next big reform measure that could save Minnesotans time and money.
To submit your idea, visit any state agency booth at the Minnesota State Fair, or visit the Governor’s Unsession Suggestion website at www.mn.gov/governor/unsession.
Governor Mark Dayton at Farmfest 2013
When I was growing up, I heard a story about how the legendary University of Minnesota football coach, Bernie Bierman, recruited big, strong players for his national championship teams. Reportedly, he drove through Minnesota farm country in the springtime. When he saw a young man walking behind a plow, he stopped and asked for directions to a nearby town. If the young man pointed with his finger, the coach drove on. If, however, the farm boy lifted the plow to point the direction, Bernie recruited him to play football at the U!
Whether or not that story is true, it tells the truth about the strength and spirit of Minnesota farmers. Today’s agriculture requires not only physical strength but also many other skills, to manage complex businesses, overcome all kinds of obstacles, and survive serious setbacks.
Cows are a key component of Minnesota's $15 billion dollar agricultural production industry. Photo credit: Flickr user Jannes Pockele
Minnesota ranks fifth in agricultural production in the United States. The $15 billion dollar industry is vital to Minnesota’s economy. Agriculture also is a major area of international trade for Minnesota. In fact, our state exported $5.2 billion worth of agricultural commodities in 2011!
Governor Mark Dayton recognizes that our agriculture industry is critically important to growing Minnesota’s economy. To better support farmers, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture is providing $1 million to fund livestock production improvements.
The grants will make a big difference for livestock producers seeking to make farm improvements. These enhancements will help our farmers remain competitive and increase their production. Since the initiative began five years ago, it already has helped 179 Minnesota farmers make $55 million dollars in upgrades and improvements to their farms.
Governor Dayton gives remarks at Minneapolis City Hall on the eve of Freedom to Marry Day
Governor Mark Dayton issued a proclamation designating August 1, 2013, to be ‘Freedom to Marry Day’ in Minnesota.
"On May 14, 2013, I was honored and proud to sign the Freedom to Marry bill into law on the steps of the Minnesota State Capitol. On August 1, 2013, same-sex couples shall be free to marry in the State of Minnesota, and this event will be celebrated at the stroke of midnight with marriages across our great state" said Governor Dayton.
"Our nation’s founding principle was stated more than 237 years ago in the Declaration of Independence: 'We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.'
That principle was later embodied in the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution: 'No State shall…deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.'
These deeply held American ideals of liberty and justice must assuredly protect the freedom for every person to marry the person they love.
Throughout its history, some of our country’s most important progress has been to extend equal rights and protections to everyone. And while that progress has often been difficult and initially divisive, it has always been the next step forward to fulfilling our country’s promise to every American."