We are getting interest and inquiries from many quarters this week in response to our recent MinnPost commentary, which summarizes our Thriving by Design convening and our One Minnesota Equity Blueprint project. From the article: “All these imperatives emerged during the unique three-day conference: inclusiveness and embracing our diversity, welcoming newcomers and investing more in ALL our people and places, reducing regional and racial and economic disparities, redoubling efforts on climate action and environmental protection, and upgrading our physical infrastructure statewide.’’ Also this, on the central theme of interdependence between Metro Minnesota and Greater Minnesota: “Dispelling the myth of metro and rural as separate and rival economies, with metro growing in dominance, (Growth & Justice Research Director Kate) Searls reviewed research showing how manufacturing remains strong in rural Minnesota and how that growth produces ripple effects and supply-chain relationships that greatly benefit the Twin Cities. And vice-versa. “
Along with our partners at OneMN.org, we’ve created a new Thriving by Design website that serves as an information hub for our ongoing project. You’ll find PowerPoints, videos of presentations, links to news media and a social media “wall.’’ We will continue adding to the site as we work in coming months toward creation of our One Minnesota Equity Blueprint, which will serve as a comprehensive guide to policy-making and a framework for action for all Minnesotans who seek a more prosperous and inclusive state. Our groups and allied organizations will present the Blueprint to Minnesota’s new governor and new Legislature in early 2019 and we hope that it can serve as a template for constructive, non-partisan cooperation toward a more equitable economy over the next decade.
Growth & Justice has long been at the forefront of efforts in Minnesota to improve workforce equity and quality. We’ve been a strong voice for closing unsustainable racial disparities in educational attainment and providing extra navigational help through “Career Pathway’’ models that lead to credentials and skills for livable wage jobs. We think we’ve had an impact on some encouraging trends, exemplified by changes in the state’s workforce centers. A recent Pioneer Press article described these improvements in St. Paul. The article notes how workforce centers have “taken some criticism over the years for directing unemployed workers to banks of computers and leaving them to fend more or less for themselves, outside of the occasional group resume workshop or networking event.” The renovated models are more inviting and hands-on, “emphasizing more one-on-one counseling, individualized resume help and other personal touches that aim to reduce the amount of time it takes to get the unemployed connected to the services they need.’’
The whole idea of compassion is based on a keen awareness of the interdependence of all these living beings, which are all part of one another, and all involved in one another.’’—Thomas Merton (1915-1968), American Trappist monk, writer, theologian, poet, social activist