Economic Development & Job Creation

The Jobs budget bill delivered historic funding for equity in workforce and economic development, as well as a significant investment in state matching dollars to capitalize on federal economic development opportunities passed this session. In addition, an early session investment in extended unemployment insurance benefits to miners in Northeast Minnesota provided important relief.

Investments In Equity in Economic And Workforce Development

The omnibus Jobs budget contained significant funding for equity in economic and workforce development. This work is centered around the PROMISE Act, which provides over $120 million for loans, grants, and micro grants to small businesses in the Twin Cities and Greater Minnesota. Funding would support businesses in communities that have been adversely affected by structural racial discrimination, lack of access to capital, loss of population or an aging population, or a lack of regional economic diversification.

The Jobs budget also included funding for an emerging developer program supporting BIPOC developers,  grants providing support for individuals leaving incarceration, support for at-risk and underserved youth, and supports for entrepreneurs and small business owners of color.

Minnesota’s successful displaced homemaker program will also receive funding to serve individuals returning to work after spending time caring for family or home and losing the primary financial support through unexpected or urgent circumstances. The budget also includes first-ever funding for a program to provide integrated supports victims of domestic violence as they return to the workplace, as well as the first state funding for specialized support for LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs.

$500 Million In Funding for Federal Economic Development Matching Dollars

Minnesota has historically performed poorly in accessing all possible federal dollars for economic development opportunities. Senate DFLers made significant strides to change that and attract both federal and private investment in good paying jobs in critical sectors into Minnesota, including a $500 million investment in federal economic development matching opportunities in the Jobs budget bill. That funding includes:

  • $250 million to match federal and private investments related to the CHIPS Act,
  • $100 million for projects related to U.S. Dept. of Defense investments including Biomade,
  • $50 million for a Minnesota Forward Fund,
  • $60 million to the Minnesota Climate Innovation Authority, and
  • $40 million to the state innovation authority at the Department of Commerce.

The United States Chips and Science Act was a bipartisan federal bill signed into law by President Biden in August of 2022. The bill is meant to incentivize investments in R&D and semiconductor manufacturing in the United States. Beginning in the summer of 2023, companies will begin bidding to receive some of the $39 billion in federal funding for manufacturing incentives, and bids supported with state matching funding are expected to be significantly more competitive.

BioMADE is a bioindustrial manufacturing initiative located in Northeast Minneapolis that has received bipartisan federal support to support innovation that creates new materials and alternatives to existing petroleum-based materials out of inputs including corn, soy, and sugar beets.

The Minnesota Forward Fund is a new and flexible fund that will make Minnesota more competitive with other states for large expansion and retention projects.

Office of New Americans

The Jobs Budget bill created an Office of New Americans to serve immigrants and refugees in Minnesota by addressing challenges facing those populations, creating access in economic and workforce development services, and providing interstate agency coordination.

Research has shown that immigrants and refugees are vital to Minnesota’s future growth, owning over 19,000 small businesses in the state, earning $17.5 billion in household income, generating $411.7 million in business income, and contributing over $4.8 billion in federal, state, and local taxes. Census data also shows that almost every county in Minnesota has increased in ethnic diversity since 2010, with the number of foreign -born residents jumping by 27% in the Twin Cities metro area and 37% in Greater Minnesota.

Unemployment Insurance Extension for North Shore Miners

One of the first bills passed this legislative session brought meaningful relief to communities in Northeastern Minnesota by providing extended unemployment insurance benefits to miners following significant layoffs at two facilities.

In May of 2022, Cleveland Cliffs laid off approximately 410 of the 580 employees at their mining facility in Babbitt, Minnesota and a pellet plant in Silver Bay, Minnesota. Most workers ran out of regular unemployment insurance benefits in late November of 2022. Senate DFLers prioritized relief to those workers, their families, and their communities by passing a bill to offer an additional 26 weeks of unemployment (UI) benefits as an extension to the standard 26 weeks.

Applicants were required meet the same eligibility requirements as the regular unemployment program and to have exhausted all regular unemployment benefits available to them. The bill was estimated to bring $10.266 million in relief to the Northshore.

The Babbitt mine and Silver Bay plant reopened in April of 2023, providing a return to work for workers supported by the bridge of extended unemployment insurance benefits.

Childcare The omnibus Jobs budget included $15 million in investments for childcare, with an emphasis on supporting Greater Minnesota. $5 million would be distributed throughout Greater Minnesota by the Minnesota Initiatives Foundation, and $10 million is available for grants to local communities to increase the number of quality childcare providers. The omnibus bill also established an Office of Childcare and Community Partnerships within DEED to better facilitate and focus the agency’s work to support childcare availability for economic development.

Senate DFL Media