This year has produced impressive early returns for the Minnesota Rural Equity Project. The effort has been received warmly by audiences throughout the state, and we’re poised to turn the encouraging talk – and ideas that underlie it – into continued momentum for the project, new partnership opportunities for our organization, and real results for Minnesotans.
We’ve worked with project partners to advance smart policies and investments in human capital, infrastructure, and tax policy. We’ve spoken with credibility on the real and perceived aspects of Minnesota’s ‘rural-metro divide.’ And we’re planning to contribute significantly to constructive dialogue bridging gaps in political culture, regional differences, and attitudes toward currently divisive issues – such as immigration, climate change, and role of government.
We’ve logged many miles meeting with Minnesotans in every corner of the state, and we’ve made important connections along the way. For instance, heightened appreciation for the role Minnesota’s regional economic development organizations play has contributed to a proposal for a more regional-focused approach to community and economic development throughout the state. We’re driving this effort, and plan to contribute to creation of a ‘regional competitiveness dashboard’ tracking region-specific progress and investment over time.
Despite clear progress, our work on this and other projects is only beginning. Growth & Justice seeks to fill an important void in Minnesota’s rich domain of progressive policy and the public good – a ‘policy shop’ think tank that balances the interests of economic growth and social justice. Given the increasing effort and investment toward narrower and oftentimes competing ends from other organizations, the need for robust and respected progressive policy expertise – and action! – has never been greater.
Growth & Justice publications, ENEWS, and blogs related to the Minnesota Rural Equity Project are below.
Policy Analysis Conference and Rural Priorities The 2017 Annual Minnesota Policy Conference, which convened last week at the Commons Hotel on the University of Minnesota campus, focused extensively on our state’s troubling rural-metro divide. Growth & Justice has been influential over the last decade in shaping this conference agenda and our Policy & Projects director, Matt Schmit, facilitated a breakout discussion this time ... Read More
Cable Interview Focus on “One Minnesota” We are often invited to talk about our work on public access television and we’ve been particularly frequent guests on Alan Miller’s “Access to Democracy” show, serving cable viewers in Dakota County. In a Sept. 8 interview, President Dane Smith and Policy & Projects Director Matt Schmit talk at length about the so-called “rural-metro divi... Read More
Putting Things Back Together Our research and advocacy on behalf of workforce quality and equity has uncovered yet another effective Career Pathway model called Youth Social Entrepreneurship. We co-authored a recent commentary in MinnPost on the “Tried and True Engine” program serving youth in Chisago and Washington counties, featuring a young man who was having some trouble in school but who is now headed for a promising care... Read More
Our Take on Renewables in Morrison County Renewable energy _ wind, solar and conservation technology _ is becoming rapidly more efficient and profitable. An accelerating conversion to renewables could be particularly helpful to our Minnesota economy and for our workforce outside the metropolitan area, where about 97 percent of our wind blows and our sun shines. Our One Minnesota Rural Equity Project, will help dispel irrational opposition... Read More
MN Biz Alarmed About Anti-Immigrant Tilt Minnesota business leaders have been ringing alarm bells loudly since November about the potential damage to our economy from anti-immigrant policies and attitudes. One of the best takes we’ve seen is this insightful two-part editorial series by Dale Kurschner, Editor-in-Chief of Twin Cities Business Magazine. Kurschner focuses on Greater Minnesota and heavy agribusiness reliance on imm... Read More
Putting Things Back Together A Youth Social Entrepreneurship Case Study By Jeanne Walz, Matt Howard and Dane Smith A little more than a year ago, Ethan (last name withheld at his request) was headed in no particular direction, except perhaps toward trouble. He lacked motivation, was not doing particularly well in high school, and his scrapes with authorities worried his mother and teachers. His mom -- before signing him up for a specia... Read More
Tom Legg is a Growth & Justice Policy Fellow who has produced some of our most important research and analysis on inequality, providing global, national and local perspective. His latest commentary, reprinted here from the Ely Timberjay newspaper, offers sobering insights on worsening inequality within St. Louis County and northern Minnesota. Legg grew up in northern Minnesota and after a distinguished career at the University of Minnesota&rs... Read More
Chuck Brown is a Minnesota writer and the retired manager of a manufacturing company who served 12 years on the Olivia City Council. He is a Growth & Justice Policy Fellow advising on rural issues. There was a time, in America’s early years, when a fellow could get a job going to sea on a wooden sailing ship, and when they came upon a whale the fellow and his mates would lower away in boats and row out with their harpoons,... Read More
Greater MSP is a relatively new and ambitious effort to attract and retain economic development in the Twin Cities region, and the group's evolving theme has to be one of the most intelligent and expansive in the nation. This week's annual meeting featured speakers and a new mission statement that emphasized cultural connectedness and social collaboration in a way I've never quite seen before from a busi... Read More