Gov. Dayton has announced he will create a new Office of Career and Business Opportunity. The Office, which will be housed at the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED), will provide the focus and leadership necessary to help workers and businesses of color find career paths and business opportunities in Minnesota.
“This is a first and important step in addressing the troubling economic disparities facing people of color in Minnesota,” said Gov. Dayton. “We cannot afford to admire or ignore these problems any longer. It is time now to take action to improve the lives and economic futures of all Minnesotans.”
The new Office of Career and Business Opportunity will be led by a director and overseen by a senior level staff member who will be a member Commissioner’s senior leadership team. This will ensure that the mission of the Office is a high priority for DEED and the Dayton Administration, and that the work is integrated in the overall organization. The Office will identify and help break down barriers to employment and business opportunities for communities of color across Minnesota. The search to fill these two positions will begin immediately.
The Office of Career and Business Opportunity will be tasked with achieving the following objectives:
- Better Career Opportunities – Helping workers in communities of color access the training and resources they need to find good jobs that lead to successful careers.
- Better Business Opportunities – Helping minority- and women-owned businesses succeed in Minnesota’s marketplace by providing access to resources and opportunities to start and expand their businesses.
- Better Business Practices – Helping Minnesota’s business community develop and adopt hiring and contracting practices that expand opportunity for minority workers and businesses.
- Better State Government – Helping the Governor’s Diversity and Inclusion Council identify and break down barriers to opportunities for workers and businesses of color within state government.
Gov. Dayton’s announcement today follows a U.S. Census Bureau report that highlighted many troubling economic disparities facing Minnesotans of color. The report showed that from 2013 to 2014, the median income for African American Minnesotans (both U.S. born and foreign-born) fell by 14 percent – dropping from $31,493 to $27,440 in a single year. The report also showed that the poverty rate for African American Minnesotans rose from 30.5 percent to 34.7 percent – compared to an 11 percent poverty rate for the state overall. Minnesota currently ranks 45th in the nation in median African American household income. Nearly 40 percent of African American children in Minnesota live in poverty.