RIGHTS BLOG: Updates from the Department of Human Rights


Governor Dayton proclaims Minnesota Apprenticeship Week

Posted on 11/5/15

Please join Governor Mark Dayton, Commissioner Kevin Lindsey, and your fellow Minnesotans to celebrate National Apprenticeship Week from November 2-8, 2015. The proclamation by Governor Dayton recognizing Apprenticeship Week can be read here.
As stated in the proclamation, “Minnesotans appreciate the commitment of industries to invest in their future workforce and the contributions apprentices make to our state’s prosperity.”

There are over 430,000 active apprentices in the United States, and 11,000 in Minnesota. According to the United States Department of Labor, every $1.00 spent in apprenticeship programs generates $1.47 in benefits for employers.

Apprenticeship programs have been shown to help diversify industries, such as health care, construction, manufacturing, and information technology. Participation rates for women and persons of color in approved apprentice programs grew from 13% in 2005 to 27% in 2015. Projects like the State Capitol Restoration and the Vikings Stadium Project have created opportunities for more individuals from diverse background to enter construction apprenticeships working on major multi-year projects. As of August 2015, the minority workforce participation rate for the stadium project is 36.6%.

Apprenticeships are a valuable opportunity for employers to recruit and train talented individuals, create a highly skilled workforce, reduce employee turnover, and increase productivity and innovation. Workers are able to earn a living wage while getting the education, hands-on training, and certification they need to compete and contribute in the 21st-century economy.

To learn more about apprenticeships in Minnesota, please visit the Minnesota Department of Labor & Industry here.


"So that’s always been our trajectory as Americans -- moving forward; build each other up, not tear each other down. We’ve come together to make this country more perfect for our kids and for those who come after us. That’s our American heritage as well are our Hispanic heritage. That’s what we celebrate this month."

-President Barack Obama, during the White House’s Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration

Closing Hispanic Heritage Month

Posted on 10/25/15

Every year, from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15, Americans observe Hispanic Heritage Month, a tradition started in 1968 and expanded in 1988. During this month, we celebrate the accomplishments and contributions of Americans whose ancestors came from Mexico, the Caribbean, Central and South America, and Spain.

This month is historically significant as many Latin American independence celebrations coincide with these dates including: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua on Sep.15, Mexico on Sep. 16, Chile on Sep. 18, and Belize on the Sep. 21. This year, celebrations began with our 21st Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera performing his inaugural poetry reading in Washington D.C. on Sept. 15. Film screenings, concerts, art exhibits, and educational events marked the occasion in cities across the country, and especially in those with larger Hispanic and Latino populations like Los Angeles, Houston, and Minneapolis.

About 270,000 people (or 5 percent of the population) of Hispanic or Latino descent live in Minnesota. The Mexican community in Minneapolis held Mexican Independence Day festivities on September 13, celebrating with a parade and music festival. Other celebrations included a film showing by the Minnesota Council on Latino Affairs, universities in the metro area hosting a full schedule of events celebrating Hispanic and Latino culture, and the Minnesota National Guard recognizing the service of Hispanic and Latino Americans throughout our history.

Today, more than 50 million Americans of Hispanic or Latino origin have positively contributed to our country and many states have vibrant Hispanic communities that celebrate the diversity of our nation. While this year’s Hispanic Heritage Month celebrations may have ended, recognizing and celebrating the positive contributions of these Americans should go well beyond 30 days.

Join MDHR and Wear Orange for Unity Day

Posted on 10/15/15

bullying imageOn Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2015, join Minnesota Human Rights Commissioner Kevin Lindsey and countless others across Minnesota for Unity Day. This is a day for people and communities to stand up against bullying and promote compassion as part of the National Bullying Prevention Month campaign every October.

According to the United States Department of Health & Human Services, between 20-28 percent of students grades 6-12 have been bullied, 30 percent admit to bullying, and over 70 percent of students and 70 percent of school faculty have witnessed bullying. We can do more to denounce bullying and promote a society that promotes acceptance and diversity. Unity Day and National Bully Prevention Month provide an opportunity to have a conversation that moves us to kindness, acceptance and inclusion.

To show your support for an end to bullying, simply wear orange at school, home or work. Even the Green Giant of Blue Earth donned an orange toga in support of Unity Day in October 2013. You don’t have anything orange? You can make signs in orange, promote Unity Day on social media with #UnityDay2015, or just have a conversation with neighbors, friends, or strangers about the importance of ending bullying and beginning to engage in inclusiveness and appreciation.

For more information on bullying, visit MDE’s parent resources including a video on bullying or visit PACER’s website.