Hello from St. Paul,
In the effort to keep local students working in Minnesota after their high school career has ended, I sponsored the Southwestern Minnesota Workforce Development Scholarship Program.
I’m pleased to carry this bill on behalf of the southwest Minnesota mayors. Their plan is one more attempt at keeping graduating students in their hometown while creating great opportunities for businesses to offer apprenticeships.
The plan establishes a pilot program allowing Minnesota West colleges to provide student scholarships for technical careers in high demand. Following graduation, the student would commit to three years of full-time employment with a participating local employer. Southwestern Minnesota employers can also receive tax incentives for offering apprenticeships under this program.
Once approved, this program allows Minnesota to compete with South Dakota and it’s Build Dakota scholarship plan which also puts students into technical careers. Hundreds of southwestern Minnesota students have chosen to cross the border and work in South Dakota due to its program.
Too many graduating seniors see the Build Dakota program as their best option. We want the people who have grown up in southwestern Minnesota to stay in southwestern Minnesota, and one of the ways to do that is to help them develop the skills they need to secure a good paying job. That is the ultimate goal of this workforce scholarship program.
CASEY JONES TRAIL
This week, PBS aired a story on the Casey Jones trail, which can be found here.
As many of you know, I have authored the bill that allocates state bonding proceeds from the Parks and Trails portion to Casey Jones trail. Last session, our bonding committee saw fit to visit Pipestone and review the project, which can only be viewed as positive news. I will be sure to keep you updated as the project is included in bonding legislation moving forward.
EARNED SICK AND SAFE TIME PASSES FLOOR
With bipartisan opposition, a mandate on job creators passes the House floor last night. HF19 mandates that all Minnesota employers provide up to six days of paid leave per employee per year (one hour collected for every 30 hours worked). The benefit rolls over year to year, and maxes out at 128 hours of paid leave collected. Employers required to offer this benefit only need to have one employee and includes for profit, non-profit, and local governments. An employee qualifies as long as they work 80 hours a year.
Job creators of all types in Southwest Minnesota - farmers, nursing home administrators, Main Street shop operators - have reached out to me the last few weeks to express their concern with the one-size-fits-all approach. Many are still recovering from the COVID shutdowns, supply chain disruption, great resignation, and inflation. I experienced much of the same in my own Main Street shops and could not support a proposal that would make it even harder to compete with South Dakota in recruiting job creators. This proposal still needs to see the floor of the Senate and the Governor before it would become law.
Have a good weekend,