Bipartisan legislation was heard in the Health, Human Services and Housing Committee this week to establish a new $4 million grant program to create jobs for long-term and chronically unemployed Minnesotans. The goal is to find employment for these hard-to-place workers and reduce their heavy use of 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 this 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. (S.F. 452)