Our latest MinnPost commentary helps allay concerns that rural Minnesota is in irreversible economic decline. The op-ed points to hopeful signs of innovation and initiative from the 13th Annual Bio Conference in Worthington, and cites examples of emerging technologies in agribusiness, interstate and international collaboration, improvements in rural workforce training, expanding broadband access, and continued support for employers and entrepreneurs from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development. Telling these stories about positive momentum in Greater Minnesota will be a key feature of our Minnesota Rural Equity Project.
The Brookings Institution and the American Enterprise Institute are Washington think tanks that occupy center-left and center-right ideological territory, respectively. Recently they collaborated on a report entitled “Opportunity, Responsibility, and Security: A Consensus Plan for Reducing Poverty and Restoring the American Dream.” The lead authors, Ron Haskins and Robert Doar, will share with us why and how the collaboration came about, the specifics of a possible “grand bargain” on social welfare policy, and the prospects for progress in a divided nation. Here’s your link to register for this free event. It’s our 9th annual conversation commemorating the spirit of John Brandl, a former legislator and U of M professor known for seeking bipartisan common ground and consensus in public policy. Growth & Justice is a founding co-sponsor of the event, along with an ecumenical group of policy organizations.
The Office on the Economic Status of Women produces compelling research and policy analysis on Minnesota’s stubborn gender disparities, especially for women of color, those with low incomes, and those living in Greater Minnesota. The OESW’s most recent newsletter offers an overview of pending legislation affecting women, with emphasis on recent data on economic stress points for women in Greater Minnesota. We also recommend OESW’s summary of a 2016 listening tour, Women’s Voices from Around the State, which reports on what is helping women and their families achieve economic security and what work still needs to be done.
“What we’re seeing is a natural evolution and progression of rural economies nationwide toward the knowledge-based economy. There is lot more room in this region’s (southwestern Minnesota) economy for niche innovations, in agriculture, bioscience and animal health. Nobody knows where the next breakthrough will come from, but we are going to encourage it and be ready to take advantage of it.” — Abraham Algadi, executive director of the Worthington Regional Economic Development Corp., in MinnPost commentary, referenced above.