The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) tackled important issues in 2012 and accomplished major successes – achievements which touched the lives of Minnesotans across the state. From responding to historic flooding in east-central Minnesota and Duluth, to the destructive July winds in the state’s northern forests, to a drought which culminated in severe wildfire conditions, DNR staff worked with Minnesota communities to minimize impact, complete emergency infrastructure repairs and to respond to disasters as they were unfolding.
“Gov. Mark Dayton has directed all his agency commissioners, including me, to make Minnesota work for Minnesotans,” said DNR Commissioner Tom Landwehr. “DNR’s accomplishments in 2012 show what we can achieve when we collaborate with others and address hard issues.”
On February 1, Governor Mark Dayton and Department of Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius, visited the North St. Paul-Maplewood Oakdale ISD 622, to celebrate February as “I Love to Read” Month. The Governor and Commissioner, along with Read It, enjoyed story time with the Kindergartners and third graders.
Two years into his administration, Governor Mark Dayton is making important progress toward building a Better Minnesota. Measuring that progress by the improvements Minnesotans have seen in their lives, families, communities, and economy, the Dayton Administration is taking inventory of what has been accomplished thus far, and considering the work that still remains to be done.
One crucial measure of that progress is ensuring Minnesotans have the education and skills they need to achieve their goals. Building a better Minnesota starts with giving our children and workforce a world-class education, and the skills they need to succeed in a global economy.
That is why Governor Dayton is strongly committed to providing more funding for K-12 classrooms and early childhood education, increasing per pupil spending, and making college more affordable for Minnesotans. Governor Dayton is also focused on helping working Minnesotans access the education and workforce training they need to compete and succeed in today’s economy.
In 2011, Governor Dayton invested more than $55 million in early literacy. The Department of Education worked with every school district to develop local literacy plans that outline how curriculum, instruction, and assessments will be used to improve third grade reading scores.
Early results of this key investment are promising: In 2012, student in grades 3-8 made substantial overall gains in reading, with notable progress among American Indian and Hispanic students.
Didn’t have a chance to check out the MinnesotaWorks.net Career Fair last Thursday? Here’s a play-by-play of what happened and some of the useful information given out to the 1,700 job seekers who attended.
Eager job searchers began arriving at 6:30 a.m. and the flow of people remained steady the entire day. One job seeker said she felt hopeful that she would find a job at the fair. Employers we spoke to said they found lots of qualified candidates for their open positions.
The resume critique center was busy throughout the day. Within minutes of opening, a 40 minute wait developed for meeting with a resume expert. A convenient ticket system allowed job searchers to grab a number and continue meeting with employers while they waited for their resume critique. According to one resume expert, one common tip they gave to job seekers throughout the day was to make sure all work experience and skills are listed on your resume.
Lt. Governor Yvonne Prettner Solon recently visited the 148th Fighter Wing in Duluth, Minnesota and experienced the full-workings of the facility, including a tour, safety and survival skills training. The visit culminated in a ride in an F-16 Fighter Jet. The Lieutenant Governor donned an anti-gravity suit, or G suit, and rode in the F16, experiencing complex aerial maneuvers – even taking the wheel at one point.
The Lieutenant Governor said she was impressed with “the precision, expertise and professional capabilities of both ground and air personnel” and that she feels “confident that Minnesota has a superior National Guard”.
Jason J. Anderson, a captain in the Minnesota National Guard, is a Veteran Employment Success Story and showcases the Dayton Administration’s commitment to unify state government in hiring Minnesota’s veterans. Capt. Anderson does more than just preach his best practices for finding employment – he lives them every day, even while running the most mundane of errands.
Once, while Anderson was out shopping for a blender, a conversation with another customer at a common bed and bath products store turned into a prime networking opportunity. After discussing the merits of different blenders, the spontaneous encounter transitioned to employment, and Anderson was ready to hand his contact information over to the other customer, whose husband was a well-connected businessman.
“Always leave the house dressed professionally, and carry your business cards,” Anderson said. “I almost landed a job while buying a blender!”
Those two tips were just two of many Anderson used as part of a complete employment strategy after he was laid off from his previous employer. In addition to his list of best practices, Anderson reached out and built a working relationship with a Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development Veterans Employment Representative. Both efforts were essential in him landing a project management position with U.S. Bank in August.
A MinnWest employee shows off innovations to Governor Dayton and Agriculture Commissioner Dave Frederickson
Governor Mark Dayton wrapped up his “Working for Minnesota Jobs” tour last week, after a month of traveling around the state to find out directly from Minnesotans how state government can help their communities get back to work.
“As Minnesota’s economy continues to recover from one of the worst recessions in our nation’s history, we need to do more to ensure that our state is well positioned to compete in a global economy,” Dayton said. “That means investing in our people, ensuring a viable workforce, and fostering the natural resources that have been the foundation of our economy.”
On Sept. 28, Governor Dayton visited MinnWest Technology Campus in Willmar, a local center for development of agricultural technology. The Governor hosted a roundtable discussion with area business and education leaders about the future of Minnesota’s agriculture technology industry. The state’s agriculture and food production industry is responsible for 4,800 jobs and $250 million in wages.
Dayton visited the Iron Range on Oct. 3 where he and IRRRB Commissioner Tony Sertich toured Magnetation Inc., an iron ore producer, and hold held a roundtable discussion with mining industry leaders in at NRRI Colerain Minerals Research Laboratory. Mining is a crucial part of Minnesota’s economy. In 2011, the industry contributed over 5,800 jobs in the state paying $474 million in annual wages.
Gov. Dayton talking to a student following the roundtable discussion.
Governor Mark Dayton continued his commitment to job creation and economic prosperity in Minnesota today, as his “Working for Minnesota Jobs” tour visited Brooklyn Park. The Governor hosted a roundtable discussion with information technology leaders in Minnesota’s retail sector. The Governor was joined by industry leaders and top CIOs from major Minnesota retailers, including Best Buy, Gander Mountain and Supervalu. The roundtable was held at North Hennepin Community College in Brooklyn Park.
The discussion focused on new strategies to connect Minnesota workers with the skills and training they need to keep good-paying IT jobs here in the state. Minnesota retailers discussed the challenge of finding qualified IT workers located within the state. Often, businesses rely on advanced enterprise information technologies, such as Oracle Retail. Without local training programs for specific software, many retail companies must import workers or employ workers from outside of Minnesota.
In response to this shortfall, a group of private companies based in and around Minnesota, including Gander Mountain, Mills Fleet Farm, Maurice's, Orscheln Farm and Home, Scheels Sports, and others, have established the Oracle Retail User Group. This group, representing more than $2 billion a year in revenue, has launched an initiative to improve the skills of the Minnesota workforce in this key area of Minnesota’s economy. The Oracle Retail User Group is forming a public-private partnership with North Hennepin Technical College to establish an Oracle Retail Center of Excellence that will train Minnesota workers and keep good-paying jobs here in our state.
Governor Dayton observes how a heart catheter is inserted into a chamber of the heart.
Today, Governor Dayton continued “Working for Minnesota Jobs,” hosting a roundtable discussion with medical technology innovators from across Minnesota. The event took place at Lake Region Medical – a medical device manufacturer headquartered in Chaska.
Governor Dayton observed a Menthis Cath Lab simulator demonstration, which utilizes real case studies to help Lake Region Medical develop and improve product technology and performance to meet patient and physician needs. Afterwards, sixteen business and research leaders in the emerging medical device field joined Governor Dayton for a medical technology roundtable discussion.
There are currently 585 medical device companies in Minnesota. There are roughly 29,351 Minnesota workers in this industry with 16,061 employed in the manufacturing of medical devices totaling $1.21 billion in annual wages.
Governor Dayton tours the Biotechnology Advancement Center
Governor Mark Dayton visited Worthington’s Biotechnology Advancement Center last Friday to assess opportunities and challenges to Minnesota’s agriculture sector as he continued Working for Minnesota Jobs.
While visiting the center, Governor Dayton and Agriculture Commissioner Dave Frederickson held a roundtable talk with industry leaders, farmers, and business owners to discuss how to grow jobs in Minnesota’s farm and food sector, and to encourage continued innovation in the state’s agriculture technology industry. Following the roundtable discussion, Governor Dayton and Commissioner Frederickson took some time out of their busy schedules to tour the Center and Newport Laboratories.
After manufacturing, Minnesota’s farm and food sector is the second largest segment of the state’s economy providing more than 340,000 jobs and $75 billion in annual economic activity. More than 80 percent of those jobs are off-farm jobs in categories like transportation, finance, manufacturing, and retail.
Governor Dayton joins Magnetation employees for a tour of mining facilities
Governor Mark Dayton’s “Working for Minnesota Jobs” tour continued today on the Iron Range, focused on value-added mining opportunities that will get Minnesotans back to work.
Governor Dayton was joined by IRRRB Commissioner Tony Sertich on a tour of Magnetation, Inc., a company founded in 2006 that uses low-grade natural ore tailings to produce marketable iron ore concentrate. Following the tour, the Governor and Commissioner Sertich hosted a roundtable discussion with area mining industry leaders at NRRI Coleraine Minerals Research Laboratory.
Minnesota is one of the world’s largest producers of iron ore with over 100 million tons of taconite being mined each year. In 2011 the mining industry contributed over 5,800 direct Minnesota jobs totaling $474 million in wages. Minnesota is also home to four billion ton deposits of critical and strategic metals.
Working for Minnesota Jobs
Continuing his strong commitment to job creation and economic prosperity, Governor Dayton is traveling statewide to identify opportunities and barriers to economic growth in key sectors of Minnesota’s economy. The Governor is meeting directly with business owners, workers, and local leaders to seek input on what measures should be taken in the upcoming legislative session to enhance Minnesota’s economic competitiveness, stimulate private sector job growth, and open new doors of employment opportunity for Minnesota workers.