I am carrying bipartisan legislation to establish a new $4 million grant program to create jobs for long-term and chronically unemployed Minnesotans. The goal of the bill is to find employment for hard to place workers and ultimately reduce their burden on government services.
The bill specifically targets veterans, those recently incarcerated, and those with mental health issues or chemical dependency problems, all identified as part of the hard to place worker population.
The grants would be awarded to organizations that have a demonstrated plan to create new jobs. The organizations who receive the grant dollars must create jobs; demonstrate how the employment opportunities will lead to housing, health, and supportive services; explain the government program savings as a result of its efforts; and establish its ability to coordinate services for the population. The organization also has to provide a one-to-one match of the grant dollars awarded.
To ensure the new program is successful, the bill requires the Commissioner of DHS to look at the attributable savings as a funding source for sustainability of the grants in future years. I am hopeful this bill will pass and fund this grant program to make sure we don’t leave any able-bodied worker behind during our economic uptick.