Red Lake Nation News - Babaamaajimowinan (Telling of news in different places)

By Marc Majors
Deputy Commissioner for Workforce Development 

Racial Equity Commitments Blog Series: #3

Reform Programs to Remove Systemic Barriers


April 27, 2022

At the end of March, we introduced DEED's five racial equity commitments in a blog. Our five racial equity commitments are:

• Drive dollars to targeted communities. As an agency that grants millions of dollars per year to help grow the economy, where our money goes is an expression of what Minnesota values.

• Increase outreach and engagement. We can't expect communities to just come to us – we have to be in communities ourselves, so that everyone is aware of our programs and opportunities.

• Reform programs to address systemic barriers. Some of our programs or processes have designs that prevent communities of color from accessing them as easily – we must change that.

• Make equity everyone's job. Driving racial equity isn't just one team's job – it should be every team's job at DEED.

• Change from the inside out. If our culture at DEED is one in which people of color feel seen and valued – and can bring their authentic selves to work – and if all levels of our team reflect the communities we seek to serve, then we'll do better for all Minnesotans.

In this third blog in the series, we share our progress on #3: "reform programs to address systemic barriers." We share details about our transformation to more inclusive grantmaking practices in Employment and Training Programs, and examine how we better supported business owners from communities of color – including new funding to businesses owned by people from Black and Indigenous communities and other communities of color. You can read more about how we adapted our CareerForce service-delivery model to be significantly more proactive, and how we approached new partnerships with local community nonprofits and libraries to ensure the State's resources are located in places where people can find them in their communities. Finally, we share some examples of how we reformed Minnesota's unemployment insurance program to make it more inclusive and to improve language access in Somali, Hmong, and Spanish.

The difficulties of the past three years further demonstrated that more robust efforts are needed to eliminate workforce disparities and expand economic opportunities for those who face the greatest barriers. At DEED, we will continue our efforts and work in relationship with community leaders, legislators and others who want to see our state do better. We believe race should not be a predictor of a person's opportunity to thrive, and we commit to ongoing examination of our processes and policies to make that possible for every Minnesotan. With the public's advice and feedback, we'll continue to reform programs to address systemic barriers.


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