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.”
As Minnesota’s first African American Commissioner of Education, I am responsible for policies that impact the lives and education of nearly a million Minnesota children. I come to this task with a profound sense of gratitude for the opportunity to influence an area I care so deeply about. I also come with a deep sense of humility, and the knowledge that I stand on the shoulders of many who have come before me, including my own parents and my grandfather.
I grew up poor, but I never felt a poverty of love. My mother, just sixteen when she had my sister and only a few years older when I came along, never graduated from high school. Though she struggled at times, she was our greatest advocate. She was also was a firm believer in the notion that it truly does take a village to raise a child. So I was a Head Start baby. I was involved in community programs and I loved going to, and later serving as a youth counselor at summer camp. Each of these experiences opened the door to a world of possibilities. My father, also a consistent presence in my life even though he and my mother were not always together, reinforced the notion that education was my ticket to a better life. He would tell me I could either continue the cycle of poverty into which I was born, or could choose to continue my education and break the cycle. He told me “This is America. You can be anything or anybody you want to be. You might have to work harder than most folks, but if you’re willing, the future is yours to determine.”
As true as those words were for me, they were not, and are not, always true for everyone. Any forward progress that African Americans have achieved has been hard won through the heroic efforts of many, including my own grandfather, Melvin Alston. He played a key role in the relationship between race and public education years before Brown v. Board of Education changed the course of history in the United States.
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.
Governor Dayton's visit to school district 287, the first school to participate in the Minnesota Adopt-a-School initiative.
>> KSTP: Dayton Urges Minn. Businesses to Adopt a School
>> Learn more about how to Adopt-a-School
The Minnesota Department of Corrections is utilizing new technology to keep our prisons more secure and to make our communities safer. A recently-installed radio system, called Allied Radio Matrix for Emergency Responders (AMER), now allows prisons to communicate with one another more quickly.
The need for this technology quickly became apparent when the Department of Corrections locked down all ten state prisons in January. Corrections officers were rounding up member of the Native Mob street gang in connection with a federal investigation into their activities. Corrections staff were able to use new radios to coordinate efforts (as seen on KSTP). From Faribault to St. Cloud to Moose Lake, corrections officers communicated seamlessly with radios on the ARMER radio system.
The ARMER system was developed to allow all public safety entities to have radios that talk to each other. It’s the kind of government reform that just makes sense.
As Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Human Rights, I’m responsible for ensuring that the Department promptly investigates charges of discrimination and ensures that every person in Minnesota has the ability to enjoy all of the benefits of society regardless of race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex, marital status, disability, age, sexual orientation, familial status, and public assistance status.
When I reflect on Black History Month, I’m always left with this indelible impression of just how much blacks love the United States and how hard blacks have struggled to help the country live up to the highest ideals expressed in the United States Constitution.
Blacks have spilled their blood for freedom, equality, opportunity and justice throughout the rich history of our country.
One doesn’t need to look long to find stories of Crispus Attucks at the Boston Massacre , the 54th Volunteer Regiment of Massachusetts that fought in the Civil War, the exploits of the 93rd Infantry during World War I, or most recently brought to the big screen, the story of the Tuskegee Airmen of World War II.
One of my favorite quotes from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is, “Democracy is the greatest form of government to my mind that man has ever conceived, but the weakness is that we have never touched it.”
On Tuesday, Governor Mark Dayton again asked businesses throughout Minnesota to take an active role in educating the state's youth by adopting a school. Standing with Minnesota Department of Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius, Governor Dayton launched Minnesota's Adopt-A-School initiative, presenting the first awards to Parasole Restaurant Group, TE Connectivity and Intermediate School District 287.
Orginally aired: 02/14/2012 on KSTP.com
Saint Paul – Minnesotans are continuing to voice their support for Governor Dayton’s State of the State Address tonight.
TakeAction Executive Director Dan McGrath said, “We challenge legislators to pass the Governor’s jobs bills, including his bonding bill, so that Minnesotans can get back to work as soon as possible.”
Education Minnesota President Tom Dooher added, “We welcome the opportunity to work with lawmakers to craft policies that address the real challenges facing our schools. Our educators in the classroom can bring valuable insights to the solutions.”
Minnesota House Minority Leader Paul Thissen also weighed in on the speech. “Governor Dayton delivered a clear and hopeful message tonight about our call to leave this state better than we found it,” Thissen said. “I am confident we can answer this call if we focus on the bread and butter issues important to Minnesotans– creating jobs, strengthening our education system, and improving our economy for middle class Minnesotans.”
Saint Paul – Following Governor Dayton’s State of the State Address, organizations representing working Minnesotans across the state were quick to applaud the Governor’s leadership on jobs.
Minnesota AFL-CIO President Shar Knutson said, "Governor Dayton’s proposals are proven solutions that will directly result in private sector job creation both today and in the future. “Legislators have an opportunity to produce the results Minnesotans deserve by working with Governor Dayton in building a better Minnesota. Working people are counting on Minnesota’s lawmakers to embrace bipartisan cooperation on policies that benefit all Minnesotans.”
"The construction industry is struggling and we applaud Governor Dayton for his focus on jobs. Our members expect elected officials to get results and that's what the Governor is proposing with his bonding bill, the Vikings stadium, and the tax incentive jobs package. We urge the legislature to act and get our men and women back to work,” said Glen Johnson, Business Manager for the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 49.
Minnesota Nurses Association President Linda Hamilton praised the Governor, saying “We’re glad the Governor continues to focus on what the vast majority of everyday people in our state want and need.”
John Raines, the Executive Secretary-Treasurer for the North Central States Regional Council of Carpenters also weighed in on the Governor’s speech. “Governor Dayton is talking about investing in our state and in its people,” said Raines. “He wants to get our economy moving through bonding for infrastructure. This will help the construction industry get on its feet again and will impact our state positively for generations to come.”
SEIU Health Care President Julie Schnell added, “Governor Dayton struck a chord with working families in need of more hopeful tones coming from St. Paul. Putting Minnesotans back to work also means giving citizens access to the world class education and training that made our state great.”
Governor Dayton spoke to the urgency of creating jobs this evening in his State of the State Address, saying “Even though 97,000 more Minnesotans are working today than at the depth of the Great Recession, there are still more than 168,000 Minnesotans, who want to work, but cannot find employment. They must be our #1 priority. So, I say to legislators, let’s take your best ideas and my best ideas and turn them into jobs. And let’s do it now.”
“We need FastTRAC on every campus in Minnesota. We need state and federal job training and workforce development monies to be better coordinated with higher education funding and programs, so that all of our students come out of our educational systems, skilled and ready to succeed. The success of our state depends upon it.”
- Governor Mark Dayton
In his annual State of the State address to the Minnesota Legislature, Governor Mark Dayton pointed to the success of Antoinette McCarthy, a 27-year-old mother of three who was formerly on the Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP) as she struggled to find a career in today’s competitive job market. Her successful completion of a new career training program, being shaped with the help of the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS), was cited by Dayton in his Feb. 15 address as he urged legislators to expand the program, called FastTRAC.
“Antoinette McCarthy is another wonderful success story,” said Dayton. She struggled to find a decent-paying job and a career with a future. Now, Antoinette is poised for success. She just completed a FastTRAC program at Inver Hills Community College, receiving her Certificate as a Nursing Assistant. Her hard work for that certificate means she will earn, on average, nearly double what someone would at a minimum-wage medical job. We need FastTRAC on every campus in Minnesota. We need state and federal job training and workforce development monies to be better coordinated with higher education funding and programs, so that all of our students come out of our educational systems, skilled and ready to succeed. The success of our state depends upon it.”
FastTRAC, is a career training initiative that now has hundreds of students enrolled in one of 34 different training paths to careers that pay a living wage.
McCarthy attended a month of full-day sessions at Inver Hills Community College, one of 20 campuses in Minnesota with a FastTRAC program. The first half of the day focused on the academic work that prepared her for the state CNA exam. The second part of the day was hands-on work in a nursing lab, handling real medical equipment and modeling situations that students would be faced with in a nursing job every day.
FastTrac provides training and education for an array of Minnesota industries -- health care, manufacturing, education, business, energy and culinary – and is intended to help close a serious skills gap in Minnesota’s workforce by focusing on re-engaging adults who need foundational and occupational skill training. Economists estimate that in seven years, 70 percent of Minnesota jobs will require a college credential. Right now, 40 percent of the state’s adults have that level of education.
The program is a multi-agency partnership, guided by experts from DHS, the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, the Minnesota Department of Education, Minnesota State Colleges and Universities, the Greater Twin Cities United Way and others.
“I am hopeful, because I believe in Minnesota. I believe in Minnesotans.”
Governor Mark Dayton – February 15, 2012
Last night, Governor Mark Dayton delivered his State of the State address to a joint session of the Minnesota Legislature at the Minnesota State Capitol. By stressing the need to make key investments to get Minnesota working again, Governor Dayton outlined a clear vision for future prosperity in Minnesota: investing in jobs, investing in stronger education, and reform of government services.
The Governor called on business leaders and legislators to work with him to invest in more jobs in Minnesota. “They must be our No. 1 priority. So I say to legislators, let’s take your best ideas and my best ideas and turn them into jobs, and let’s do it now.” He urged the legislature to pass a combination of his bonding proposals, “Jobs Now” tax credits, and the Vikings stadium to put tens of thousands of Minnesotans back to work.
The Governor also stressed the reforms that have been made in education over the last year. In 2011, the Governor expanded Early Childhood Education, a step which helped to win Minnesota a federal Race to the top award. This year, Minnesota was one of only 10 states to earn a waiver from the failed No Child Left Behind law. The Governor acknowledged these successes and then challenged legislators to develop education initiatives in cooperation with educators. He challenged educators to prepare their students for jobs of the future.