On Friday, Feb 3, I joined Rep. Tim Mahoney, along with area leaders and educators, at an event at Central Lakes College to discuss the DFL plan for job creation. While we’ve certainly seen economic improvements in recent months, unemployment in Brainerd and Crow Wing County remains higher than the statewide average. We can’t be sitting still; we must continue moving forward.
The DFL Jobs Plan can help do just that. The plan focuses on things that have been proven to work: incentives for small businesses to hire Minnesotans, improving workforce training, and investing in infrastructure. A targeted, smart bonding bill will put Minnesotans back to work while building the infrastructure our businesses need to succeed over the long term.
Perhaps even more important is a highly-skilled workforce. Right now, Minnesota employers have 80,000 unfilled jobs because they can’t find skilled workers. We need to encourage and build on the great work being done at places like Central Lakes College. Central Lakes, along with the Brainerd chamber and area schools, is working to help high school students obtain college credit, and get a head start on their post-secondary education.
Central Lakes also has Small Business Development Center, helping area residents start and grow a small business. Programs like these are the future of Minnesota and can help guide us to a more prosperous economic future. The DFL Jobs Plan builds on these through the use of Opportunity Grants for adult short-term education and training for high demand fields, and the statewide expansion of the FastTRAC program, matching business needs with workforce development.
Jobs must be our top priority this legislative session. It’s what Minnesotans care about, and it’s what we as legislators should care about. Through the use of smart reforms and initiatives, we can position Minnesota for long-term economic success.
Representative John Ward