The Central Minnesota Joint Powers Board of County Commissioners (JPB), the Central Minnesota Workforce Development Board (WDB), and Central Minnesota Jobs and Training Services, Inc. (CMJTS) held the 15th Annual Workforce Development Board Legislative Breakfast, Workforce Development: Our Story, on December 14, 2018.
Legislators from the 11-county Local Workforce Development Area 5 (LWDA 5) were invited to attend this annual event and to participate in an informal discussion about their vision for Minnesota as it pertains to workforce development.
The event kicked off the Friday morning with a panel of participants from CMJTS programs and services. A highlight of the morning were panel members who shared their personal stories of success made possible by employment and training programs. They talked about the courage it first took to come to CareerForce and CMJTS to ask for help. They also shared their exceptional individual challenges and expressed sincere gratitude for the opportunities and support received from program staff as they completed their journey. Their compelling stories energized attendees, board members, and legislators. Panel members included:
- Janay Talia Elder, Reimagine Retail, Workforce Innovations and Opportunity Act (WIOA) Adult Program, Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP)
- Terri Mills Harris, Love, INC – Heartland (employer)
- Isabella Schaefer (Bella), MFIP, Minnesota Youth Program (MYP), TANF Youth Innovation Project
- Karin Omae, Minnesota Dislocated Worker
- Samuel Stomberg, ReImagine Retail, MYP
- Mary Kruck, Coborn’s Marketplace (employer)
- Monica Villars, Co-founder & Board President of DEMO Inc. (employer)
The second half of “Workforce Development: Our Story” highlighted legislators, or their representatives, in attendance.
Topics and discussion for the legislative panel included: What initiatives or strategies will you support, legislatively and financially, to help central Minnesota employers meet their workforce needs? Serving greater Minnesota as a local elected official, how will you ensure that grants appropriated from the WorkForce Development Fund, through DEED oversight, will be fairly distributed throughout greater Minnesota? Comments shared during the legislative discussion demonstrated the commitment our elected officials have to encouraging workforce development initiatives, and creating equitable opportunities in the State of Minnesota.
Attending on behalf of Central Minnesota state and federal elected officials were:
- Rommel Lee (on behalf of US Senator Amy Klobuchar)
- Charles Sutton (on behalf of US Senator Tina Smith)
- Congressman Tom Emmer, District 6
- State Rep. Sondra Erickson, District 15A
- State Rep. Shane Mekeland, District 15B
- State Rep. Joe McDonald, District 29A
- State Rep. Marion O’Neill, District 29B
- State Rep. Brian Johnson, District 32A
A recording of the participant panel can be seen here: