We must raise the minimum wage and address unemployment rate disparities in our state.
Minnesota has very low unemployment overall, but there are populations and areas where we must do better. We have a hiring gap in the state; according to MN DEED (2016), unemployment rate disparities between white and minority workers continue to exist in Minnesota, as every non-white population has a higher unemployment rate than that of white individuals. The overall statewide unemployment rate in 2016 was 4.1 percent, which was identical to the rate for white Minnesotans. At 12.4 percent, African Americans had the highest unemployment rate in the metro area. Unemployment rates are also significantly higher for American Indians and workers of two or more races.
I will work to make sure that minorities and underrepresented classes receive employment opportunities, training, and more. My passion is for providing jobs in the construction industry, where pay and benefits are high, the work is rewarding, and companies are incentivized to find minority and female workers by the federal and state governments that fund their projects. I’ve worked with the MN Department of Transportation to develop training for Native American and minority workers to perform specialty construction work that is needed on nearly every road and bridge project.
Throughout my company’s 24-year history, we have worked with union and non-union contractors, and have paid the high minimum wages required on federally funded projects. As a business owner, I have always provided good wages that exceed a proposed $15 statewide minimum wage (even for student workers). I support strong wages for all workers and the proposed $15 statewide minimum wage.
Providing and expanding broadband service to all Minnesotans will also provide jobs in rural areas.