Our economy is still struggling. We have far too many unemployed Minnesotans and those with jobs are not seeing their situations improve. Minnesota needs both short-term action now to put people back to work, and a long-term approach to our infrastructure to ensure job growth in the years ahead.
Bonding projects can do just that. Bonding helps small businesses and communities grow by building the long-term infrastructure needed to help businesses be successful in the future. Construction jobs created by these infrastructure projects help us in the short-term as well.
Members of the House Capital Investment Committee recently took a tour of several projects seeking bonding money, including a stop at Central Lakes College. The proposed project would update and remodel the Staples Main Campus and relocate services from the Central Lakes College Agriculture and Energy Center to Staples. This would take advantage of underutilized spaces on the Staples campus, make buildings more energy efficient, and improve the college’s agriculture and energy programs.
Central Lakes College is our only two-year college with an applied research center focusing on agriculture and energy. The college has done great research with the University of Minnesota and prepares students for employment in the growing alternative energy industry. Rep. John Ward has long been a champion of education and smart use of bonding money, and I look forward to working with him this session on bonding projects for this area.
Our public colleges and universities produce the well-educated workforce sought by businesses that locate in our state and are essential to Minnesota’s future success. This bonding project and others like it support and improve our public colleges and universities, and will help grow the small businesses in our state.