Senator Zaynab Mohamed Delivers Funding for Workforce Development, Establishes Office of New Americans in Jobs Budget

SAINT PAUL, Minn. — Senator Zaynab Mohamed (DFL—Minneapolis) said that the Jobs, Economic Development, and Labor budget passed by the Senate on Tuesday evening will grow Minnesota’s economy, protect workers, and invest in communities across the state.

“This is an equitable bill that will uplift the most vulnerable and marginalized communities across Minnesota,” said Senator Mohamed, Vice Chair of the Senate Jobs and Economic Development Committee. “I’m proud to say that over a dozen of my bills were included in this budget, which will help fund job training for at-risk youth, employment opportunities for homeless Minnesotans, and reintegration services for formerly incarcerated Minnesotans.

“I’m especially proud that this budget includes my bill establishing the Office of New Americans, a new agency that will streamline services for immigrants and refugees arriving in Minnesota,” added Senator Mohamed. “When my family and I first arrived in Minnesota, we really could have used this kind of support, and I’m glad that the next generation of Minnesota’s immigrants will have access to the services offered by the Office of New Americans.”

Senator Mohamed authored a key provision of the bill which prohibits employers from forcing employees to attend political or religious meetings or otherwise listen to speech about politics and religion, including so-called “captive audience” meetings.

“Captive audience meetings have long been used by businesses as a tactic to intimidate unionizing workers and spread anti-union propaganda,” said Senator Mohamed. “Under my bill, those days are numbered. I will never, ever stop defending Minnesotans’ right to join or form a union.”

Additional information on key items authored by Senator Mohamed that were included in the final Jobs, Economic Development, and Labor budget bill:

  • Office of New Americans — $1.5 million in FY 24-25 and $1.5 million in FY 26-27 to establish the Office of New Americans, establishing a coordinating council on immigrant and refugee affairs (SF 360).
  • Avivo Minnesota grant — $1.8 million grant over FY 24-25 to Avivo Minnesota to provide low income Minnesotans with career education and job skills training that is fully integrated with chemical and mental health services (SF 559).
  • Better Futures grant — $850,000 grant over FY 24-25 for Better Futures to provide job training skills to individuals who have been released from incarceration for a felony level offense, a program with proven results that has reduced recidivism among participants (SF 359).
  • Youth Tech Internships — $2 million appropriation over FY 24-25 to the Minnesota Tech Association to create internship opportunities for disadvantaged youth in Minnesota’s tech field (SF 1284).
  • American Indian Center for Development and Change grant — $1 million appropriation over FY 24-25 for the American Indian Center for Development and Change, which focuses on job training and life skills for at-risk Indigenous youth (SF 1583). 
  • Youthbuild — $4.2 million appropriation over FY 24-25 to the Youthbuild organization to support at-risk youth through affordable housing projects while providing housing, workforce training, and construction certification (SF 1693). 
  • Mentally Ill Employment Assistance grant — $2 million grant over FY 24-25 to provide employment support services programs tailored to persons with mental illness (SF 1779). 
  • Minnesota Youth Program — $9 million appropriation over FY 24-25 to establish a program that offers temporary job opportunities and training services to at-risk youth who lack the academic and applied skills required for the workforce (SF 2473). 
  • All Square Appropriation — $600,000 workforce appropriation over FY 24-25 to All Square, a prison-to-law workforce program which assists formerly incarcerated people in pursuing a law degree (SF 2793).
  • R!SE — $2.4 million in FY 24-25 to support R!SE in their commitment to empowering individuals affected by racial and socioeconomic barriers by providing career training and certification programs (SF 2794).
  • Sacred Settlements — Authorizes religious properties to build micro-unit dwellings to house homeless Minnesotans (SF 2471).
  • Captive Audience — Prohibits employers from forcing employees to attend political or religious meetings or otherwise listen to speech about politics and religion (SF 2476).

The Jobs and Economic Development budget bill was combined with the Labor budget bill and passed as a single omnibus bill following conference committee negotiations with the House of Representatives. The bill will need to be passed in the House of Representatives before it reaches Governor Walz’s desk.

Photo courtesy of Senate Media. Description: Senator Zaynab Mohamed hands a sheet of paper to Senator John Marty on the floor of the Minnesota Senate.


Senator Zaynab Mohamed represents Senate District 63 which includes Minneapolis. She is vice chair of the Jobs and Economic Development Committee, and serves on the Capital Investment Committee, Finance Committee, and the Housing and Homelessness Prevention Committee.
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