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DEED Names Assistant Commissioner for the Office of Economic Equity and Opportunity

Kolu Wilson will lead agency’s efforts to break down economic barriers

ST. PAUL – The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) today announced that Kolu Wilson has been promoted to Assistant Commissioner for the Office of Economic Equity and Opportunity.

Wilson will replace Karen Francois, who was named Deputy County Manager for Ramsey County, effective May 1, 2018. We thank Karen for her tireless work to ensure that economic equity is embedded in not only the work at DEED, but also state government as an enterprise.

Wilson joined DEED in October 2016 as the Director of the Office of Economic Equity and Opportunity, which was created by Governor Mark Dayton earlier that year to help workers and businesses of color find career paths and business opportunities in Minnesota. The office identifies and breaks down barriers that contribute to economic disparities for communities of color throughout the state.

“Minnesota has made progress in addressing economic disparities since the office was created, and the urgency of that work continues,” said DEED Commissioner Shawntera Hardy. “Kolu is an experienced leader who has worked on these issues her entire career. She’s a great choice for this position."

Wilson, a native of Liberia, started her career as a community coordinator with Minneapolis Restorative Justice Community Action Inc., working to eliminate disparities in the criminal justice system. She joined the City of Minneapolis in 2011, working to ensure that city contracts and construction projects included women, people of color and/or low-income communities. She later served as the Director of contract compliance with the Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights before coming to DEED.

Wilson has a bachelor’s degree in urban studies from the University of Minnesota and a law degree from Arizona Summit Law School. She is a licensed attorney in the state of Minnesota.

DEED is the state’s principal economic development agency, promoting business recruitment, expansion and retention, workforce development, international trade and community development. For more details about the agency and its services, visit the DEED website or follow us on Twitter.


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