We traveled to Fergus Falls last week for the summer conference of the Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities, delivering a presentation and gathering feedback on emerging issues for our Minnesota Rural Equity Project. We heard concerns about accessibility to child-care, transportation and mobility needs, housing shortages, health-care costs and access, and lagging broadband capacity. A strong sense among mayors and city officials that these needs are not being met _ and that they were largely unaddressed by the 2017 Legislature _ was captured in a recent column by Lori Sturdevant.
We've partnered closely in recent years with MSPWin (the Minneapolis-St. Paul Regional Workforce Innovation Network), by providing research, story-telling, and advocacy of Career Pathways programs. These efforts are paying off and attracting attention. Case in point is last Sunday’s Star Tribune front-page article describing the extraordinary new Career Pathway partnerships between employers, higher-ed institutions, and philanthropy and non-profits. These partners are collaborating to create faster, low-cost pathways to skills, credentials and rewarding careers, especially for under-employed women and men of color.
(Sadman Rahman, Eva Horstman, Ahmed Warsame, and Brendan Klein)
Growth & Justice this summer is employing four talented student interns, each of whom has been contributing in meaningful ways to our work. Our crew, their credentials, and work focus, includes: Eva Horstman, from Sarah Lawrence College in New York, researching Minnesota’s English Language Learner programs; Brendan Klein, from the College of St. Benedict and St. John’s University, studying and writing about education issues (his blogpost about the New Deal CCC program was published recently by the St. Cloud Times); Sadman Rahman, a graduate student at the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School, analyzing data measuring Greater Minnesota regional competitiveness in connection with our Minnesota Rural Equity Project; and Ahmed Warsame, a Minneapolis high-school student and Step-Up intern, researching college affordability and student debt.
“Having day care available makes it possible for parents of young children to live and work here. It’s just that simple and it’s just that important”-- Granite Falls Mayor Dave Smiglewski, incoming president of the Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities, decrying loss of rural child-care providers, from his recent column in the Advocate Tribune.