Minnesota opens office to fill job gaps for people of color

The state of Minnesota launched a new Office of Public Engagement this week in hopes of reducing racial, gender and other disparities in employment in a tight labor market.

Minnesota has one of the nation’s highest racial disparity gaps in employment, educational achievement, and health care. The 12-month unemployment rate in May was 2.6% for white Minnesotans, 6.9% for blacks and 3.9% for Latino workers.

Those caught in the gap often include people from racial and immigrant minority groups, residents with disabilities, and members of the LGBTQ community.

“We are committed to being more proactive and intentionally gathering feedback from community members on decisions and policies that impact their lives,” said Maureen Ramirez, head of the new office. “This job is about asking for ideas and getting feedback on what works and what doesn’t, so that together with members of the community, we can come up with solutions to common challenges faced by job seekers. and small businesses.”

Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) officials said they were determined to narrow the gaps.

If successful, the new state office will serve as a bridge, allowing state leaders, employers, and vocational training professionals to meet, network, and hire a wider range of people than in the past.

Steve Grove, Commissioner of the Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED), said in a statement that he hopes the new office will elevate the state’s ability to reach more diverse communities nationwide. ‘State.

“Success will be defined by our ability to expand pathways for more people to access DEED programs and ensure our work meets the needs of the Minnesotans we try to serve,” he said.

The new Office of Public Engagement will combine many DEED outreach efforts under one umbrella. Additional personnel will be added to ensure state leaders can tap into “different community strengths” across the state.

As an example, DEED officials noted Governor Tim Walz’s recent involvement in the June 19 events last week. DEED staff members will also soon participate in community festivals in the Twin Cities, consult with Indian bands and visit local businesses across the state.

Earlier this month, officials launched a “Summer of Jobs” campaign to highlight employment opportunities and help employers find workers in previously overlooked labor pools. Grove and DEED officials visited job sites with immigrant workers and others this month in Owatonna, Duluth and Mankato.

In April, DEED highlighted a new $1 million pilot program and an additional $28 million that Governor Walz has proposed investing in computer training programs for teens, young adults, and people with disabilities. color across the state.

These two programs are among the first in Minnesota to focus on providing computer training to communities of color.

Software development jobs in Minnesota pay $100,000 a year, and machine programmers earn an average of $64,000 a year. These two fields are growing at a rate of 21 and 22% per year. Grove said the goal is for more people of color to enter IT careers, earn sustainable salaries and improve generational wealth.

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