DFL Lawmakers Lay Out Jobs Plan in Grand Rapids

By KBJR News 1

February 4, 2012 Updated Feb 4, 2012 at 2:24 PM CDT

Grand Rapids, MN (Northland's NewsCenter) - The main focus of lawmakers - jobs: from big to small businesses, making sure Minnesotans get back to work... or are able to break into the job market for their first time.

DFL Lawmakers say no matter where they go in Minnesota... people say they want jobs.

Representative Tim Mahoney of St Paul said with current unemployment numbers, jobs need to be priority.

"Right now we have about 175,000 people unemployed and about another 75,000 people under employed. Meaning they are either working part time or are at a job that does match up to their training. And that is not how Minnesota works," said Representative Tim Mahoney, from St. Paul.

One of the pilot initiatives in the jobs plan would help adults who go after and complete short term education and training at MNSCU schools in high-demand career fields.

"For 2,000 working adults to increase and to upgrade their skills so they can get better wages at their job," said Representative Mahoney.

Where those adults and current students hone their skills is also in the Jobs Plan.

The room where Friday's meeting was held is just one example of where improvements could mean better education opportunities .

The more than 40 year old biology lab at Itasca Community College has been in several bonding bills in the past according to school officials who say this year feels like the year for new improvements.

"We're very very excited because STEM: Science, Technology, Engineering and Math is just so important for today's jobs and we just can't do the job we want to do when we have such outdated facilities," said Itasca Community College Provost Michael Johnson.

When it comes to construction, DFL lawmakers say they have a tie-bid preference to Minnesota businesses and products produced in Minnesota.

"We up here have less competition with out of states as far as bidding goes for public works projects. It's more of a problem in the Twin Cities area or communities that are closer to the Wisconsin or North Dakota borders," said Representative Carly Melin.

Another part of the DFL Jobs Plan focuses on immediate job creation instead of the long range picture.

This would provide tax credits for businesses with tax credits for each unemployed Minnesotan, veteran or college student hired in the coming year.

Written for the web by Elayne Crecelius
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