Franken Discusses Iron Range Economy In Virginia

By KBJR News 1

February 14, 2011 Updated Feb 14, 2011 at 12:09 AM CDT

Virginia, MN (Northland's NewsCenter) -- U.S Senator Al Franken listened in on plans to get Northeastern Minnesota back to work in Virginia Sunday.

Franken met with members of the Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board, and the Iron Range Economic Alliance to discuss economic development projects in the area.

The new commissioner of the Department of Employment and Economic Development Mark Phillips was also at the meeting.

Senator Franken says education at schools like Mesabi Range Community and Technical College are vital to developing a skilled workforce.

He says he was told promising signs about where the range economy is headed.

"It feels like we are on the way up. That the worst is certainly over and that we are just poised to start recovering in the way that we want to."

The most recent Iron Range unemployment numbers show some improvement...with Hibbing sitting at 8.5% and Virginia standing at 9.9 % percent.