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ENEWS: Rapid Climate Change in MN, Equity in Economic Growth, Focus on the Children

Date Published: 08/21/2019

Author: Dane Smith and Sarah Leistico

Faster Climate Change in Minnesota

An important new study and interactive map by the Washington Post  shows how Minnesota, particularly our northern regions, are among the places in the United States that have warmed the fastest (by more than 2 degrees Centigrade) over the last century. The trend represents a long-term threat to all of our state but especially to our northern  rural economies and ways of life, in myriad ways, from retreating evergreen forests to invasive species and threats to winter activities and tourism. The Post article focuses on the disappearance of lake ice and winter activities in New Jersey over the last century and implies a similar fate may be in store for Minnesota. Climate action is an integral feature of the Minnesota Equity Blueprint and will continue to be a key focus of G&J moving forward.

Equity in Economic Growth

Recently, the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) released a new vision for their work that will concentrate on empowering growth “for everyone.’’   The Star Tribune sat down with Steve Grove, DEED Commissioner, to discuss the revamped strategy and how it puts organizational tactics such as OKR (objectives and key results) into action. The agency is taking equity seriously, weaving it into their strategic results and objectives. The article states that, “One key result is to increase the average starting wage for people of color whom DEED helps by $2 per hour. Grove said this might be the most ambitious key result in the whole plan.”

Focus on the Children

Almost simultaneously while DEED released their plan to improve employment outcomes for immigrants, people of color, the disabled and the homeless, Governor Tim Walz released  executive order “Placing Children at the Center of Government," Gov. Tim Walz calls for revitalizing and expanding the powers of the Children’s Cabinet, established in 2005. “The work of improving outcomes, promoting equity and bridging the opportunity gap is not the work of one state agency,’’ the order states.

We’re encouraged by powerful statements from our state government that strongly align equity imperatives with our future as a state. DEED’s FY2020 Strategic Plan and the Governor’s executive order also reflect several of the challenges and solutions included in the emerging Minnesota Equity Blueprint. The first chapter – Human Capital – includes children's pathways to opportunity throughout each section, but specifically on pages B 12-18 related to educational attainment. In addition, chapter two – Economic Development - addresses strengthening the labor pool in Minnesota on page C15-18, and reforming criminal justice and immigration systems to increase opportunity for workforce entry on pages C 21-28.

 

Quote:Today, race, zip code and income are too often determinants of opportunity.  Our systems have not led to equitable outcomes for our children – especially our children of color, indigineous children, and children in Greater Minnesota.”   Executive Order 19-34, “Placing Children at the Center of Government,” issued by Gov. Tim Walz.


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