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Showing posts from October 2013. Show all posts

Made in Minnesota: Highlighting Minnesota Manufacturing

Posted on October 23, 2013 at 4:06 PM

Commissioner Katie Clark Sieben and Elmo at Vee Corp

Commissioner Katie Clark Sieben unveiled the new Made in Minnesota directory at Vee Corp, a Minnesota company where "Seasame Street Live" characters are made. 

This week, Governor Dayton issued a proclamation declaring this week “Minnesota Manufacturers Week” – highlighting the importance of an industry that employs one out of every nine workers in Minnesota. To feature products and supplies manufactured in the state, DEED unveiled a new online Made in Minnesota Directory to encourage Minnesota businesses to buy products and supplies from each other, rather than from out-of-state or foreign companies. The tool contains details about nearly 600 manufactures statewide.

Businesses can use the database to find Minnesota manufacturers who make everything from food products to textiles, fabricated metals, machinery, and computers and electronics. The directory, which is available online at, is arranged so that users can search by product, company name or county.

About 300,000 people work in manufacturing in Minnesota, primarily in such areas as computer and electronic products, foods, fabricated metal products and machinery. Manufacturing contributes $40 billion to the state economy – 15 percent of Minnesota’s gross domestic product – and the industry accounted for $18.6 billion in state exports last year.

Salaries in the sector are much higher than most other industries in the state because many manufacturing jobs require high-tech skills to operate advanced technology and computer-controlled equipment. The average manufacturing position in the state paid $58,760 last year, about $10,000 more than the typical job in Minnesota.

Throughout the week, tours of manufacturing facilities around the state and other activities are planned in recognition of Minnesota Manufacturers Week. Besides plant tours, other events during the week include speakers, educational activities and the unveiling of the new Made in Minnesota Directory of manufacturers and suppliers.


Helping Part-Time College Students Succeed

Posted on October 21, 2013 at 8:00 AM
Categories: Education

Photo Credit: Flickr user Pete Sieger, Normandale Community College

Photo Content: Flickr User Pete Sieger; Normandale Community College 

We all know that education is critical to a bright future. In fact, by 2018 an estimated 70 percent of Minnesota jobs will require some education beyond high school. And right now, only 40 percent of Minnesotans hold postsecondary degrees. Closing this higher education gap is critical to helping all Minnesotans get great jobs in the future and growing our economy.

However, the rising cost of higher education is putting college out of reach for many.  Right now, Minnesota had the third highest student debt rate in the United States with the average graduate leaving school with $29,800 in debt. This year, Governor Mark Dayton and the DFL legislature improved Minnesota’s State Grant Program to help all of our students get an affordable education.




Why Investing in Higher Education Matters

Posted on October 19, 2013 at 1:28 PM

Governor Dayton
Today, Governor Dayton spoke to a group of 300 college students from across Minnesota will hear from Governor Mark Dayton about issues affecting higher education, including the Governor’s efforts to make college more affordable for Minnesotans. 

RahelDuring the past decade, tuition and fees have increased by three times the rate of inflation. Meanwhile, Minnesota students are taking out loans at one of the highest rates in the nation, with the average graduate leaving school with $29,800 in student debt. This trend isn’t sustainable or fair to Minnesotans seeking a better future.

One student struggling with the increasing cost of school is Rahel Theodros. A full-time college student from Columbia Heights studying business marketing education at the University of Minnesota. In addition to her studies, Rahel works 15-20 hours per week as a waitress and is heavily involved in volunteering and numerous campus activities. 

Rahel has a younger sister and an older brother who are also attending college right now. She is one of nearly 100,000 Minnesota students who rely on the Minnesota State Grant program to pay for college. 

In addition to the State Grant funding she receives, Rahel has also had to take out $5,000 to $6,000 in student loans each year. She anticipates that she will graduate with more than $20,000 in student debt. “Without the Minnesota State Grant Program,” she said, “I would not have been able to afford tuition.”

Today, Governor Mark Dayton was at the Minnesota State College Student Association Leadership Summit in Bloomington to talk about new efforts to help students like Rahel. This year, Governor Dayton and the DFL Legislature invested $250 million in higher education – including $46 million for direct financial aid to students. The new financial aid resources are helping more than 100,000 Minnesota students.

The Governor’s new budget also freezes tuition at the University of Minnesota and the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities. The freeze will help keep college costs under control and ensure that all Minnesotans can access an affordable education.


Freezing Tuition at Public Colleges and Universities

Posted on October 17, 2013 at 11:48 AM
Categories: Education

Governor Dayton speaks with college students
Governor Mark Dayton speaks with students from Minnesota State University, Mankato.

After nearly a decade of cuts to higher education funding, tuition skyrocketed at the University of Minnesota and Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU). From 2001 to 2012, tuition at the U of M more than doubled from $5,002 to $11,094 for state residents! Ever increasing tuition costs and increasing debt are a tax on the future of Minnesota students and a drag on our state’s economy.

Access to a high-quality education should be available to all Minnesotans and not just students who can afford to take on costly loans. This year, Governor Mark Dayton and the DFL legislature froze tuition at the University of Minnesota and the MnSCU systems schools to halt the trend of double-digit cost hikes.

Minnesotans agree that everyone who works hard in school deserves access to higher education. This tuition freeze begins to restore balance in Minnesota’s educational system. It also will help ensure our students for the future economy.


College and Career Readiness

Posted on October 17, 2013 at 8:00 AM
Categories: Education, Jobs, Economy

Photo Content: Flickr User J. Stephen Conn
Photo Content: Flickr User J. Stephen Conn; Minnesota State University, Moorhead

Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce found that 70 percent of all jobs in Minnesota will require at least some postsecondary education by 2018. To meet those growing demand for an educated workforce, Governor Mark Dayton and the DFL Legislature enacted real reforms to ensure Minnesota kids are prepared for the good jobs of tomorrow.

To build a world-class workforce, they invested in initiatives proven to make a big impact like early-childhood education and all-day, every-day kindergarten. Investments like these will help close Minnesota’s achievement and improve our economy for years to come.

Critically, the Governor and legislature also worked to reform testing. Minnesota will replacing the GRAD test with a new test that is similar to the ACT, which will do a better job of indicating whether our students are prepared for college or careers.


Fresh, locally grown foods make difference for Minnesota students

Posted on October 15, 2013 at 10:11 AM

A local farmer picks Brussel sprouts from a school garden at Hopkins West Junior High.

A local farmer picks collard greens from a school garden at Hopkins West Junior High.

This Op/Ed originally appeared in the St. Cloud Times on October 12, 2013. By Commissioners Dave Frederickson, Department of Agriculture; Brenda Cassellius, Department of Education; Edward Ehlinger, Department of Health.

Remember those thick slabs of greasy pizza from the school cafeterias of your childhood? How about the frozen processed-chicken nuggets or the popular “shake-and-French-fry” line? The food we serve our students at school shouldn’t look this way, and as schools in many parts of Minnesota know today, it doesn’t have to.

More than 145 school districts in Minnesota have taken part in Farm to School programs that connect schools and local farms to serve healthful meals in school cafeterias, improve student nutrition, provide agriculture, health and nutrition education opportunities, and support local and regional farmers. In fact, 68 percent of Minnesota’s K-12 population attends a school that is involved in Farm to School in one way or another. Still, there is much more that can be done.

Research has demonstrated students learn better when they’re well nourished. Healthful eating has been linked to higher grades, better memory, more alertness and improved health, leading to better school attendance. The choice of healthier options through Farm to School meals results in consumption of more fruits and vegetables in the school cafeteria and at home.

This should come as no surprise: Farm-fresh products taste better, and it has been shown that children prefer them. Schools report up to a 16 percent increase in school meal participation when farm-fresh food is served. At a recent visit to schools participating in Farm to School programs, we saw students with plates heaping with fresh strawberries, cucumbers, Brussels sprouts and tomatoes that might have still been warm from the sun shining over the garden where they were picked.

Students even get to know some of the local farmers who provide foods to the schools. Think about the unique learning opportunities that come with knowing who has grown the food that is on your plate. Then consider: should this experience be so unique?


Governor Dayton Helps Dedicate Madelia Veterans’ Memorial

Posted on October 14, 2013 at 8:00 AM
Categories: Veterans

Gov. Dayton greeted Minnesota veterans  at the dedication of the Madelia Veterans Memorial. 

Gov. Dayton greeted and thanked MN veterans at the dedication of the Madelia Veterans Memorial

Minnesotans have always found ways to serve. From the 435 men who volunteered to join the 1st Minnesota Infantry Regiment in 1861 and went on to fight at Bull Run, Antietam, and Gettysburg, to the thousands who served in World War I and II, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan and other conflicts, thousands of Minnesotans have bravely fought and died for our country.

To honor and remember the sacrifices of Minnesota veterans, Governor Mark Dayton helped dedicate the Madelia Veterans’ Memorial last Friday. The site commemorates the sacrifices of veterans in southwestern Minnesota – including 300 veterans from the Madelia-area.

This year, Governor Dayton and the Legislature also honored the sacrifices of Minnesota veterans – funding $23 million in new veteran initiatives. 

• The largest amount – $18 million is going to complete the expansion of the Minneapolis Veterans’ Home. The improved facility will provide high-quality, skilled nursing services for veterans.

• They also provided $1 million to expand the Minnesota GI Bill to help all veterans get a great education after completing their service. Previously, this education benefit was only available to post-9/11 veterans.

• The Governor’s budget also includes an additional $2 million for county veteran service offices across Minnesota. This increased funding will help Minnesota veterans and their families access the benefits and services they have earned. 

Minnesota service members and veterans sacrifice greatly for our country. Initiatives and memorials like these are important ways to say thank you.



Worthington to Host 2014 Pheasant Opener

Posted on October 12, 2013 at 10:00 AM
Categories: Economy, Sports, Outdoors, Jobs

On Lake Okabena in Worthington

Move over turkeys.  Come next fall, pheasants will get top billing in the City of Worthington. The Minnesota community known for its annual King Turkey Day will be making room for visiting pheasant hunters.  

Governor Mark Dayton announced Worthington as the 2014 Minnesota Governor’s Pheasant Hunting Opener Host City, during this year’s opener banquet in Madelia. Hunters who attend the 2014 Pheasant Opener will have the opportunity to enjoy more than 4,800 acres of public hunting land in the Worthington-area.


New License Plate Unveiled At Pheasant Opener

Posted on October 11, 2013 at 8:00 PM
Categories: Outdoors, Public Safety, Commerce

The new license plate unveiled at Pheasant Opener

The new license plate unveiled at the Pheasant Opener.

On Friday Governor Mark Dayton announced that a new ring-necked pheasant critical habitat license plate will be available later this fall. Governor Dayton made the announcement during the Governor’s Banquet at the Pheasant Hunting Opener, hosted by the City of Madelia. 

The first critical habitat plate was created in 1995 as a way for Minnesota citizens to voluntarily contribute to conservation and show that commitment with a special outdoor-themed vehicle license plate. More than 100,000 Minnesota vehicles have critical habitat license plates, with the 2002 loon plate being the most popular. These plates generate about $3.5 million per year. They have generated more than $44 million for habitat conservation since the program began. 

Motorists who have purchased habitat plates have helped wildlife in every corner of the state. They have funded Wildlife Management Area acquisitions, trout stream easements and helped support loons, eagles, rare plants and many other species. The new pheasant plate will help us preserve some of our rapidly disappearing grasslands – which are critical to the future of pheasants.


Kicking off the Third Annual Governor's Pheasant Opener in Madelia

Posted on October 10, 2013 at 10:44 AM

There are many public assess hunting grounds across Minnesota for families to participate in the Pheasant Opener

This year, more than 80,000 Minnesotans are expected to hunt pheasants. Not only is hunting a proud Minnesota tradition, it’s important for our economy. More than 1.5 million people hunt in Minnesota each year, contributing an estimated $725 million to our economy.

On Saturday, Governor Mark Dayton will be in Madelia to host the Third Annual Governor’s Pheasant Hunting Opener. An avid pheasant hunter, the Governor will join thousands of Minnesotans across our state in pursuit of the bird.

Hunters at the opener will have plenty of opportunities to bag a pheasant. Within 20 miles of Madelia, there are 8,600 acres of public hunting land. The community also is home to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resource’s pheasant research station.

This year, more than 80,000 Minnesotans are expected to hunt pheasants. Not only is hunting a proud Minnesota tradition, it’s important for our economy. More than 1.5 million people hunt in Minnesota each year, contributing an estimated $725 million to our economy.

This weekend, Governor Dayton will be joined by a number of Minnesota veterans also will attend the Governor’s Pheasant Opener this year to participate in a special hunt with the Wounded Warriors Guide Service that will take place on land restored by the City of Madelia for accessible hunting.

In addition to hunting, a variety of activities will take place throughout the weekend. The community events on Friday include: a sporting clays range; “Best of the Best” tournament, featuring four of the top exhibition shooting acts in the world; and the 2013 Minnesota Governor’s Pheasant Hunting Opener’s banquet and reception, which will include live music from Minnesota band Martin Zellar and the Hardaways.


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