Minnesota betting big on workforce development. Will it pay off?

Minnesota betting big on workforce development. Will it pay off?

2023-01-24T12:07:27-05:00January 24th, 2023|Economy, Minneapolis-St. Paul|

Writer: Ryan Gandolfo

2 min read January 2023 – Gov. Tim Walz is taking what appears to be an all-in approach to keeping the state relevant from an economic growth perspective.

Last week, Walz and Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan announced multiple measures “to invest in Minnesota’s economic future,” including a $4.1 billion package that would expand the state’s workforce in critical industries, provide further support for small businesses and supply Minnesota workers with paid family and medical leave.

According to a press release, the workforce spending proposal is one of four packages included in the One Minnesota Budgetopens PDF file .

“This budget invests in the people and businesses that made our economy strong in the first place, and it protects the natural resources that Minnesotans cherish most. By attracting and building a workforce that makes Minnesota a destination state for teachers, nurses, entrepreneurs, farmers, small business owners, and skilled workers, we are building an economy that will remain strong for generations to come,” said Gov. Walz.

An example of the intentional effort by the Governor and Lieutenant Governor to attract more workers to high-priority occupations is their recommendation to invest $30 million in the Drive for 5 Workforce Fund. The program would prepare Minnesotans for careers in technology, manufacturing, trades, education and caring professions over the next two years.

State legislators have identified a robust family and medical leave program as a key priority in retaining and attracting employees, which aligns with a significant number of workers who are still dealing with lingering effects of COVID, also known as long COVID. A 2022 study by Brookings estimated that 1.6 million full time workers may be missing from the labor market due to the lingering effects of the illness.

Workforce concerns have been front and center for companies and organizations throughout 2022. In an earlier interview with Invest:, CentraCare Minneapolis President & CEO Kenneth Holmen highlighted his team’s efforts to recruit.

“Addressing our workforce issues is a multimodal strategy. We are working with our current employees for retention. We recognize that how people view their job is changing significantly and we are looking to address their issues in whatever form that might be. Additionally, we are looking at ways to recruit more effectively. It is very challenging because there is a small pool to recruit from, which is why we are trying to be more creative in how we do our work. That means having people work at the top of their license and technology-enabled work; we have rapidly deployed a digital strategy,” said Holmen.

As mass layoff announcements grab headlines from the Bay Area to Boston, the state may be in a better position to attract new working professionals to the Land of 10,000 Lakes.

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