Skip to main content Skip to office menu Skip to footer
Capital IconMinnesota Legislature

Trio of bills aim to address barriers to employment, business growth

A trio of bills aimed at knocking down barriers that prevent businesses from growing and employees from finding work come with a $14 million price tag in fiscal year 2023.

Each was laid over Monday by the House Workforce and Business Development Finance and Policy Committee for possible omnibus bill inclusion.

HF3250, sponsored by Rep. Ruth Richardson (DFL-Mendota Heights), would appropriate $10 million for the Center for Economic Inclusion.

The St. Paul-based center is the first in the United States with an exclusive goal of advancing equitable economic growth to achieve regional prosperity and providing systemic solutions to address racial gaps. It relies on data-driven services, Richardson said.

Tawanna Black, the center’s founder and CEO, said the organization has worked with 55 Minnesota businesses to close racial wealth gaps and build a more inclusive and stronger economy. About 10,000 people have taken part in one of its workshops.

“We look to this committee to take proactive steps to advance policies and investments that will build Minnesota’s economy in inclusive ways, where all Minnesota families, workers and business owners are positioned to participate in the prosperity the state has been known for,” Black said.  

Black-owned businesses are underrepresented in the economy, Black said. Citing statistics from the Brookings Institute, she said if the number was closer to the proportion of the population, about 10%, the economy would gain around 9,000 jobs and parity in wages would bring $900 million.

The money appropriated would be used for an inclusive job fund that stands on two pillars, Black said.

First is working with nonprofits on pay-for-performance contracts that provide worker and employer outreach, training, support services, housing, transportation, and job placement services. The center would also support businesses in the form of forgivable loans, revenue-based financing, and equity investments for entrepreneurs with barriers to growth.

The center has grown in the past few years with the budget going from about $3 million to about $8 million last year.

Early this month, the center announced it had received a $5 million grant from JP Morgan Chase to launch an accelerator for businesses headed by Latina and Black women.

The committee also laid over HF3342, which would provide $1 million for the 107-year-old East Side Neighborhood Services. Half would be marked for a CNA training program and half for employment programs targeted to Minnesotans age 55 and older. The organization is based in the district of Rep. Sydney Jordan (DFL-Mpls), the bill sponsor.

Sponsored by Rep. Jay Xiong (DFL-St. Paul), HF3236 would appropriate $3 million for an African Economic Development Solutions loan fund that would offer African immigrant entrepreneurs increased access to capital.

The trio of companion bills, SF3198, sponsored by Sen. Patricia Torres Ray (DFL-Mpls), SF2860, sponsored by Sen. Karin Housley (R-Stillwater), and SF3166, sponsored by Sen. John Hoffman (DFL-Champlin), all await action by the Senate Jobs and Economic Growth Finance and Policy Committee.

Related Articles

Priority Dailies

Lawmakers return to St. Paul for 2024 session — what can Minnesotans expect?
House Speaker Melissa Hortman gavels out the 2023 Legislative Session May 22. (House Photography file photo) The DFL trifecta-led Legislature made myriad changes across a spectrum of state topics in 2023. Paid Family and Medical Leave. Abortion rights. Free breakfast and lunch for ...
Legislative leaders announce 2024 committee deadlines
(House Photography file photo) Legislators and the public officially know the timeline for getting bills through the House committee process during the upcoming 2024 session. Here are the two deadlines fo...

Minnesota House on Twitter