Down to the Wire: 2023 Legislative Update

The Weekly Report – April 3, 2023
While Minnesota manufacturers have been busy filling orders and recruiting new talent, state legislators have been hard at work on proposals to help those same companies.

As state lawmakers wrap up this season’s budget work, they are determining funding for three high priority programs for Minnesota manufacturers: the Growth Acceleration Program (GAP); an outreach program for the state’s smallest manufacturers; and the Minnesota State system, which educates and trains large numbers of Minnesotans for work in the manufacturing sector.

As I have often said in this column and in Enterprise Minnesota® magazine, GAP has achieved widespread bipartisan support because it helps manufacturers create and retain high quality jobs and brings economic stability to local communities. GAP has proven its return on the state’s investment by at least $25 dollars for every dollar invested.

When GAP funds are not available–as was the case during the last budget cycle– manufacturers repeatedly tell us that they are unable to invest in improving their companies and retaining employees. This is true both in the Twin Cities and in Greater Minnesota, where business improvement service resources are either scarce, or come with too high a price tag.

Enterprise Minnesota has found that our smallest manufacturers, specifically, those with fewer than 35 employees, often need the most support. The outreach funding we have requested will assist those small companies–often the most innovative manufacturers in the state. At the same time, the funding will unlock federal matching dollars.

For each dollar the state invests in these outreach funds, Enterprise Minnesota can leverage another federal dollar from the national network of manufacturing extension programs. Without this state investment, federal match dollars will be lost, and those small manufacturers will go underserved.

Finally, Enterprise Minnesota is a strong advocate for, and testified in support of, increased funding for the Minnesota State system. The colleges in the Minnesota State system are among the greatest allies of manufacturing in the region. Their educational programs have always played a critical part in shaping the future manufacturing workforce. In today’s persistently low unemployment climate, their role is more important than ever.

Every time we appear before a legislative committee, we are committed to highlighting the value of manufacturing to our state’s economy. I honestly feel that each year there is a greater understanding of the companies we work with and the critical role they play in Minnesota’s economic strength and success.

Knowing how these measures can affect our manufacturers, communities and economy, if you happen to see a lawmaker at the grocery store or a local restaurant in the coming days, please put in a good word for all three of them. They’re a great investment in the future of Minnesota manufacturing.

Upcoming Events

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Industry News

Up to $150,000 available in Dual-Training Pipeline grant – applications open until April 3
March 20, MN Dept. of Labor and Industry

President Biden continues “Investing in America” tour with visit to Minnesota
March 31,

Riverland Community College will receive a $2 million grant to upgrade manufacturing and transportation training equipment
March 28, Rochester Post Bulletin

Women needed for U.S. CHIPS manufacturing plans to succeed
March 27, Minnesota Reformer

Winnebago to acquire lithium-ion batteries manufacturer Lithionics Battery
March 27, MSP Business Journal

MN restores all jobs lost during first months of COVID pandemic
March 24,