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Governor and Lt. Governor, Commissioner Grove Host Manufacturing Discussion

Company leaders, industry representatives, educators and elected officials from around state highlight job opportunities and challenges facing this critical industry


October 19, 2020

St. Paul - Governor Tim Walz, Lt. Governor Peggy Flanagan and Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) Commissioner Steve Grove engaged Wednesday in a virtual roundtable discussion with ten leaders from around Minnesota about how the manufacturing industry is doing during the pandemic and key issues it’s facing in the future. Manufacturing, which has long played a key role in the state’s economy, is even more important now as Minnesota focuses on economic recovery from the COVID-19 recession. As the state’s second-largest industry, manufacturing contributed $52.7 billion to Minnesota’s economy last year and employed 324,000 people, with a total payroll of $22.1 billion.

Participants in the October 14 virtual roundtable highlighted key challenges they face right now, outlined potential opportunities and detailed how the State of Minnesota could help their industry now. The biggest challenge facing Minnesota manufacturers participating in the discussion is the lack of applicants for open positions. Continued emphasis on raising awareness about good-paying manufacturing careers with students, more state support for apprenticeships and skills training, and help getting the word out about good jobs available now were all mentioned as ways government could help manufacturers find the employees they need now and in the future.

“Manufacturing is a pillar of Minnesota’s economy and they have good, high-paying jobs with room to build a career available open right now,” said DEED Commissioner Steve Grove. “DEED is working to connect job seekers with these opportunities, even if that might mean a shift in career, so Minnesotans can earn family-sustaining wages and manufacturing can continue to drive Minnesota’s economy.”

If you missed the roundtable, you can watch it here.

In addition to the Governor, Lt. Gov and Commissioner Grove, participants in the discussion were:

• Joel Bauer, Co-owner, Midsota Manufacturing, Avon

• Ed Bolas, CFO, Dycast Spec Manufacturing, Starbuck

• Larry Cuffe, Mayor, Virginia

• Marcia Danielson, President, South Central College, North Mankato

• Laura Chisholm Ekholm, Senior Vice President, L&M Radiator

• Chuck Hentges, CTE and K-12 Coordinator, St Cloud State University

• Kelly Hertling, HR Supervisor, L&M Radiator, Hibbing

• Mary Hodson, President, Hutchinson Chamber (Explore Hutchinson)

• Steve Kalina, President/CEO, Minnesota Precision Manufacturing Association

• Sandy Kashmark, Executive Director, Midwest Manufacturing Association

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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