Governor Dayton Highlights Efforts to Fight Poverty at the Minnesota Community Action Partnership Conference
August 08, 2014
DULUTH, MN – Governor Mark Dayton today traveled to Duluth to speak at the Minnesota Community Action Partnership 50th Anniversary Conference. At the event, Governor Dayton highlighted initiatives the State of Minnesota has implemented to alleviate poverty and the work that remains to improve economic opportunity for all Minnesotans. Since taking office, the Governor has championed initiatives to improve access to affordable housing and healthcare, higher wages, and nutrition programs.
“Mark Dayton has been a friend and partner with Community Action for thirty years, first as Commissioner Dayton, then as Senator Dayton and now as Governor Dayton,” said Arnie Anderson, executive director of the Minnesota Community Action Partnership. “While the nature of poverty and people’s needs have changed over the years, Mark Dayton’s commitment has remained constant.”
Minnesota’s Community Action Agencies serve all 87 counties by responding to people's immediate and long-term needs. They work to help individuals and families in their communities move toward economic independence by delivering a broad range of services including Head Start, affordable housing services, energy assistance, workforce development, and youth services.
Initiatives to Fight Poverty, Increase Access to Opportunity
The Dayton Administration has made important investments in initiatives to alleviate poverty and improve economic opportunity for all Minnesotans. Those efforts have included the following:
Minimum Wage Increase – In 2014, Governor Dayton and the Minnesota Legislature raised the minimum wage to $9.50 by 2016. Over the next two years, more than 325,000 Minnesotans will receive a well-deserved wage increase.
Early Learning Scholarships – Governor Dayton and the Legislature invested nearly $50 million in scholarships that will help 9,000 low- and middle-income children attend high-quality child care and preschool programs.
Affordable Housing Access – In 2014, Governor Dayton and the Minnesota Legislature invested $100 million in affordable housing initiatives. These new resources will provide 5,000 Minnesota households reliable housing and help alleviate homelessness statewide.
Nutrition Programs – In 2014, Governor Dayton and the Legislature provided funding for free breakfast for ever Kindergartner, and fully-funded the reduced-price lunch program to help ensure that no child is denied a healthy lunch.
Heating Assistance – Minnesota’s Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program helps households with the lowest incomes and highest energy costs cover their winter heating costs. This year, Governor Dayton and the Legislature worked to invest an additional $20 million in heating assistance to help Minnesotans struggling with the propane shortage afford their heating bills.
FastTRAC Jobs Initiative – The FastTRAC initiative is focused on addressing the skills gaps in Minnesota’s workforce, training workers to qualify for vacant job openings in our state. In 2013, Governor Dayton and the Legislature invested another $3 million in the initiative to help more Minnesotans access job training.
About Community Action
The Community Action network was created under the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964, part of President Lyndon B. Johnson's “War on Poverty,” which has had a lasting impact on the state of Minnesota. In 1960, 21 percent of Minnesotans lived in poverty with large portions of Greater Minnesota having poverty rates exceeding 30 percent. In half century since then, Minnesota’s poverty rate has been cut in half.