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 www.tinyurl.com/MadeinMinnesotaDirectory, is arranged so that users can search by product, company name or county.
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.
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.
Previously, part-time college student who also worked received a smaller grant than they would have otherwise. Under the new requirements, part-time students taking three or more credits will be eligible for the State Grant Program. This improvement is particularly beneficial for non-traditional college students who are more likely to be older, have a family, or other responsibilities that keep them from attending school full-time.
In addition to reforming the State Grant Program, the Governor and the legislature invested $46 million more into direct financial aid. This will significantly increase support for all college students during the next two years. In all, these new investments and reforms should Minnesota students get a more affordable education as they return to campus.
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?
Gov. Dayton greeted Minnesota 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.