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This Week: Real Progress Towards Jobs

Posted on March 04, 2012 at 8:00 AM
Categories: Jobs, Economy, Transportation

This week, we saw the real results that can be achieved by a Governor who has an unwavering commitment to putting Minnesotans back to work.  This week was full of encouraging developments for Minnesotans who are looking for work, in large part to the efforts of Governor Dayton and his administration. 

On Tuesday, we found out that there are nearly 50,000 vacant jobs in our state, an increase of almost 50% from this time last year.  While there is still work to be done to ensure that our workforce has the skills they need to fill those jobs, the most recent job vacancy survey released by DEED this week is reason to be hopeful. 

On Wednesday and Thursday, the legislature finally held hearings on the Governor’s jobs proposals.  His tax credit for hiring unemployed Minnesotans, veterans and recent graduates would put up to 10,000 people back to work by providing tax incentives to businesses.  The Governor’s proposed expansion of FastTRAC was also heard.  Expanding FastTRAC statewide will be crucial in ensuring that our state’s workers have the skills they need to fill the jobs that are available now and in the future. 


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State Job Vacancies Up 47.6 Percent in Fourth Quarter

Posted on February 28, 2012 at 1:00 PM
Categories: Jobs, Economy

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.”


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Commissioner Rothman encourages military families to defend their financial futures

Posted on February 27, 2012 at 10:43 AM
Categories: Veterans, Military Servicemembers, Jobs

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.


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Poised for Success: Antoinette McCarthy

Posted on February 16, 2012 at 5:30 PM
Categories: Jobs, Education

“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

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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. 


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Governor Dayton’s State of the State Address

Posted on February 16, 2012 at 3:40 PM
Categories: Jobs, Economy, Education, Bonding

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“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.


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Myron Frans: Minnesota's business climate is strong despite misleading 'tax index'

Posted on February 10, 2012 at 9:05 AM
Categories: Economy, Commerce, Jobs

Op/Ed by Minnesota Commissioner of Revenue Myron Frans
Published in the St. Paul Pioneer Press on February 9, 2012 at 5:56 p.m.

By most conventional measures of economic prosperity, Minnesota is outperforming other states. Yet a recent Pioneer Press editorial, promoting the findings of a flawed tax index, says otherwise - hardly the best way to position our state for more growth.

First, the facts: Minnesota has the nation's 10th-highest per-capita personal income, 7th-lowest unemployment rate, 13th-lowest business failure rate, and 8th-lowest poverty rate. We have regained more than 33 percent of jobs lost in the recession (compared with 25 percent nationwide). In 2011, total wages in the state increased four times as much as in the rest of the country.

Despite the economic reality in the state, the Tax Foundation's "State Business Tax Climate Index" claims that Minnesota is bad for business ("Minnesota takes a licking on tax climate," Feb. 7). This is misleading, and biased.

  • The index is focused only on tax rates, without documenting the real-world effects or considering what Minnesotans and businesses in the state actually pay. For example:

  • It knocks Minnesota for having a sales tax on manufacturing equipment, but does not acknowledge that taxpayers receive tax credits (refunds) that cover these costs. 

  • It criticizes Minnesota's research and development credit and Angel Investment Credit, even though they are important priorities for businesses in the state. 

  • It is biased against states with multiple income tax brackets, even though there is no evidence that multiple brackets are a detriment to business growth.

The index ignores the benefits provided by public investment when assessing our business climate - yet it is those public investments that draw employers to Minnesota. As state economist Tom Stinson has noted, our taxes have bought something for businesses - like productive workers, research, high-quality transportation and other business services.


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‘All Hands on Deck’ for Minnesota Jobs

Posted on February 09, 2012 at 1:45 PM
Categories: Jobs, Economy

Governor Mark Dayton knows that Building a Better Minnesota means our workers must have the skills and training to fill the jobs of the 21st century.  That’s why Governor Dayton has made job creation and workforce development his top priority for the legislative session. 

Today the Governor attended a meeting of the Governor’s Workforce Development Council (GWDC) to hear a presentation on their yearly report.  The Council serves an important role in workforce development, providing analysis and recommending policies to improve workforce readiness. 

The report, entitled “All Hands on Deck: Sixteen Recommendations for Strengthening Minnesota’s Workforce,” offers recommendations to improve worker training, skill development, and education.  Many of the report recommendations mirror proposals laid out by the Governor and DFL legislators last month. 


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MPCA Commissioner Paul Aasen ‘Occupies Extreme Center in the Environmental Fight’

Posted on January 25, 2012 at 6:00 PM
Categories: Environment, Jobs

Though Minnesota Pollution Control Agency Commissioner Paul Aasen has taken heat from both sides of the political spectrum, he receives the rare credit of landing the in the “Extreme Center” in today’s Politics in Minnesota’s ‘Capitol Life’ series (Full Article, subscription required).

The article gives narrates Aasen’s rich background in the environmental movement as well as three gubernatorial administrations – all of different parties.

Government background is, of course, normal for agency commissioner appointees. What sets Aasen apart from most of his peers, said longtime MCPA division manager Mike Sandusky, is that he also knows the science that underpins his agency.

“That is sort of a rarity for us,” Sandusky says. “We don’t usually get that in a commissioner appointment. … That is powerful within our culture, as well as somewhat comforting to us.”

Minnesota benefitted from the Commissioner’s balanced approach in 2011 through common sense reform of Minnesota’s Environmental Review Process.


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Star Tribune Editorial: Dayton's first-year marks are high

Posted on January 03, 2012 at 5:40 PM
Categories: Jobs, Economy

Through 35 years of public life, Mark Dayton has shown little inclination to rest on laurels. That's reassuring, because Dayton is bound to hear a good deal of praise as he completes his first year as governor on Tuesday.
 
Dayton's term is only a quarter spent. Much that he set out to do remains undone. A 20-day government shutdown last July is a permanent blot on the records of both Dayton and the 2011 Legislature. The temporary fiscal measures used to end the shutdown do none of them credit.
 
But the DFL governor's overall performance to date has been strong enough to win over skeptics, rally support from unexpected sources and earn the grudging respect of partisan opponents. He has turned his political slogan -- "Building a Better Minnesota" -- into a credible description of not just intentions, but accomplishments.

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Building a Better Minnesota

Posted on December 21, 2011 at 10:56 AM
Categories: Economy, Jobs, Health, Education, Transportation

A year into Governor Mark Dayton’s first term, Minnesotans are seeing the value of a Governor who is committed to putting people back to work, protecting middle-class taxpayers and changing the way government does business.  Governor Dayton has made significant progress towards these goals by engaging the ideas of legislators from both parties, our state’s businesses, and most importantly, the people of Minnesota.
 
When he was inaugurated, Governor Dayton said that the way to get Minnesota working again was by working together.  His first year in office has proven that to be true.  Our state is recovering from tough times, but with Governor Dayton’s direction our state agencies continue to do more with less.  The Governor has been relentlessly committed to creating more jobs here in our state, and creating the kind of environment where private businesses can thrive.

“Let us dedicate ourselves to rebuilding a successful state, one that again is the envy of the nation, a leader of the world. Let it be written that we were Minnesotans who led the way to something better than before, who created something greater than ourselves, who achieved together what none of us could have accomplished on our own.”
- Governor Mark Dayton, January 3, 2011

Getting Minnesota Back to Work

- Under the Governor’s leadership Minnesota continues to outpace the national economic recovery.  Minnesota’s unemployment rate is 5.9 percent, compared to 8.6 percent for the rest of the country.  There are 53,000 more Minnesotans at work now, compared to the bottom of the recession. 

- Governor Dayton worked to pass a $500 million bonding bill, putting thousands of Minnesotans back to work improving bridges, roads and infrastructure.


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