The 2016 session of the Minnesota Legislature is underway! Get our first update and sign up for more.

The legislative session is already kicking into high gear and the outlook for workforce development looks promising.

Our first legislative update of the 2016 session:

March 16, 2016 – Governor Dayton released his supplemental budget yesterday (March 15), which included some additional investments in economic opportunity.

Included in his proposal was additional funding for Pathways to Prosperity, which provides education and skills-based training and credentials to adults who have multiple barriers to employment. The program focuses on career pathways to expand opportunities for good-paying jobs that can support families.

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During this year’s legislative session, we have several key initiatives:

Specific top priorities for this year include:

  • Expand career pathways and workforce on-ramp options for low-income adults. Investing in training and education opportunities that put people to work in key sectors should be a top priority for the state. Focusing on career pathways helps adults succeed in well-paying careers by integrating basic skills education and career-specific training.
  • Secure FATHER Project funding to expand fatherhood services. Dads that contribute both economically and emotionally to their children’s lives will have a stabilizing impact on families. These services are needed statewide.

Other priorities include:

  • Expand employment services and opportunities for individuals with mental illness across the state through Individual Placement and Support (IPS) Supported Employment. One of the best steps in recovery from a mental illness is a job.
  • Increase Medical Assistance income standard for people with disabilities. Medical Assistance (MA) provides adults with disabilities and seniors access to MA services and supports that are necessary for living in the community. Current law holds people with disabilities to income and assets standards that force some to “spend-down” limited resources to keep the services they need for independence. The goal is to raise the MA income and asset standards to reduce the “spend-down,” improving the quality of life for Minnesotans with disabilities.

Reduce the severity of drug-sentencing laws. As compared to the other states, Minnesota has the 8th-highest rate of people under correctional control. A major contributing factor is our state’s uncommonly long drug sentencing policies. The Second Chance Coalition will work to reduce the length and severity of sentences for non-violent drug offenses and eliminate mandatory minimum drug sentences.