This morning ??, I joined Minneapolis Ward 9 City Council Member Jason Chavez at Wildflyer Coffee to chat with our community about your priorities for our city and state government. Thank you all for attending.
I’ve enjoyed seeing many of you at the capitol for lobbying days, constituent visits, and rallies for the causes we believe in. Please always feel free to reach out - hearing your voice is critical to ensuring we can make change at the Capitol.
Strengthening our Schools
I have recently introduced multiple education bills to strengthen our schools for teachers and students. HF1137 is a bill that would expand heritage language and culture teachers in the state’s schools. Multilingualism is an asset to Minnesota’s K-12 students. This will expand opportunities for school districts to demonstrate their commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion. The House Education Policy Committee approved the bill Wednesday, sending it to the House Education Finance Committee.
My other bill HF1082, increases state aid to local school districts to cover 50% of eligible expenditures related to career and technical education. The current reimbursement rate stands at 35%. We know that students need to leave our K-12 system with skills and real-world experiences, and a plan for what they want to do after high school. I’m happy to introduce these two vital bills
Funding for Better Futures
This week, I introduced legislation that will increase funding for Better Futures. This program has been around for over a decade and focuses on providing employment opportunities and support services for men with multiple barriers to success. This increased funding will provide job skills training for participants released from prison in the last 12 months. Many of the men served by Better Futures face some of the biggest challenges in terms of reentering the workforce.
Better Futures participants work in deconstruction, which could be demolishing a building or house while also salvaging materials that can be reused or recycled. Participants are also involved in recycling appliances and working at the ReUse Warehouse.
I’m proud to bring this legislation forward.
Providing Free School Meals
Here in Minnesota, we value education and want to see every child succeed, but with 1 in 6 students trying to learn on an empty stomach, we are not living up to those values. With our budget surplus, we have the resources to step up and provide the food security families need and the high-quality education our children deserve.
Last week the House voted to provide free school meals for Minnesota’s students. Every child deserves a world-class education, but academic performance suffers when students are hungry. The Universal School Meals bill will feed every child so they can concentrate in the classroom and achieve their dreams. I’m happy to have voted for this legislation ??to slash grocery bills and help families save money.
Free Financial Aid Sessions for Students and Families
Join the Office of Higher Education this February for a series of financial aid webinars created specifically for students and families to help them prepare for the college-going process. All sessions will be approximately one hour long, with a short presentation from financial aid experts, followed by time for questions from the audience. Space is limited - so register today! Click here to complete webinar registration. Sessions will have simultaneous interpretation available in Spanish, Somali, and Hmong.
Understanding Your Offer Letter | Tuesday, Feb. 21 at 7:00 p.m.
Scholarship Search | Tuesday, Feb. 28. at 7:00 p.m.
Available Funding for Homework Starts with Home (HSWH) Program
Minnesota Housing is now accepting applications for the Homework Starts with Home (HSWH) program. This program supports collaborative efforts between schools, housing organizations, and local governments to identify, engage, and stabilize students and their families who are housing insecure. Funding is contingent upon legislative approval of program appropriations. Eligible grantees include:
Twin Cities metropolitan area Family Homelessness Prevention and Assistance Program (FHPAP) administrators.
Non-metropolitan area FHPAP administrators.
Housing Trust Fund (HTF) administrators.
For the application materials due on March 29 or for more information, visit the HSWH webpage.
Grant Available for Youth at Work Competitive Grant
The Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) is accepting proposals for a Youth at Work Grant. These grants provide workforce development and employment training opportunities to economically disadvantaged or at-risk youth between the ages of 14 and 24 years old who are not currently in school, are homeless, involved in the foster care or juvenile justice systems, living in low-income households receiving public assistance, have disabilities, or are from underrepresented communities in the work force. Grantees may request up to $850,000 to fund their Youth at Work programming over the course of two years, and a total of nearly $3.9 million is available for distribution. Applications are due March 31.
Join us for Another Coffee and Conversation
On Friday, March 3rd, from 8-10am I will be joining Park Board Commissioner Becky Alper at the Seward Co-op. Please stop by to discuss your priorities for our city and state government.