November has arrived and it’s hard to believe its only three weeks until Thanksgiving! Here’s a look at some of the events I’ve attended recently, and the latest troubling news regarding the Department of Human Services.
DHS VIOLATED LAW MORE THAN 200 TIMES IN PAST YEAR
According to the Minneapolis StarTribune, the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) violated state law more than 200 times over the past year with $52 million in contracts and grant commitments to vendors, Indian bands and other state government agencies without proper documentation.
The article notes: in some cases, agency employees allowed vendors and grantees to perform work or services as if they were being paid by the state, even though contracts and agreements had not been finalized and signed. In other cases, employees bought products, such as software, without required permission.
Once again, there is even more proof that the Department of Human Services has been careless with tens of millions of taxpayer dollars, with no accountability. Its clear the legislature needs to get involved.
MANUFACTURING AND CONNECTING WITH THE WORKFORCE
Not long ago, I joined the team from Red Wing Ignite and the president from Minnesota State Southeast to travel to Arcadia, Wisconsin and visit Ashley Furniture. We spent a full day touring the manufacturing facilities, seeing their robotics and automation processes, and learning about their efforts to connect with area schools and provide training pathways for students.
It was an impactful day and I came away with lots of ideas on possibilities for our community and state. I believe small, rural communities can grow and thrive when we join efforts on how we educate our students to be “future ready” and connect the dots with what skills and talents our local industries need.
SENATE HIGHER EDUCATION COMMITTEE CHAIR & STAFF VISIT RED WING SHOE TO DISCUSS YOUTH SKILLS TRAINING
Senator Paul Anderson, Senate Higher Education Committee Chair, made a visit to Red Wing Shoe. After a tour of the Red Wing Shoe Museum (on the upper level of the Red Wing Shoe store) we held a panel discussion about the Youth Skills Training program.
Red Wing Shoe shared why they are so engaged in the local program, called Learn and Earn, and the benefit they feel it brings to students. We were joined by representatives from Every Hand Joined, Red Wing Ignite, the local Chamber, Senator Goggin, and folks from the State Chamber of Commerce and the Business Partnership.
This is a great example of a community coming together to meet our shared goals of preparing students and meeting our workforce needs! I'm glad to have played a role in the development and success of the Youth Skills Training grant and will continue work to expand and improve these programs.
With Monday nearly here, I would like to thank all of our veterans, active military and their families as we get set to celebrate Veterans Day. The sacrifices brave men and women have made in service to our nation are truly remarkable.
I’m also proud that southeastern Minnesota takes pride in its veterans, as evidenced by the fact that Cannon Falls is now a Purple Heart Community, joining other local communities with this important recognition of our veterans.
So if you are a veteran, thank you for your service. Happy Veterans Day!
STAYING IN TOUCH
As always, if you have questions or concerns regarding any issue, please contact me. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 651-296-8635.