Jobs bill is great for Greater Minnesota

The Jobs and Workforce Development Omnibus Bill has passed the Senate and is scheduled to be taken up by the House on Friday. Many GMNP priorities are included in the bill, as well as some additional COVID-related investments we supported this session.

Regarding child care, the bill includes $3 million for the Minnesota Initiative Foundations (MIF) and $5 million for the DEED child care grant program, of which at least 50% must go to projects in Greater Minnesota. Unexpectedly, funding for those two programs is projected to continue in the 2024-25 biennium. In past years, funding for these grant programs was one-time funding. The MIF grant program funding is projected at $1 million per year, and DEED grant funding is projected at $1.5 million per year. 

The jobs bill also includes $70 million for the Border-to-Border Broadband Grant Program.

On job creation and workforce development, the bill includes$1.787 million per year for the Greater Minnesota Business Development Public Infrastructure (BDPI) grant program and includes the two policy changes we requested. Development restrictions for BDPI projects would sunset after 10 years, and this would apply to previously funded BDPI projects as well. Additionally, up to 15% of a project could be used for purposes not included in the BDPI statute, which includes manufacturing, technology, warehousing and distribution research and development, agriculture processing, and industrial park development. This change would also apply to previously funded projects.

The jobs bill provides $1.35 million per year for the newly combined Job Training Incentive Program (JTIP) and the Automation Incentive Program (AIP), both of which are limited to projects in Greater Minnesota. JTIP provides grants of up to $200,000 to new or expanding employers to support training and education specifically for the creation of new jobs. AIP provides grants of up to $35,000 to employers to support the training and education of employees when new automation systems are developed.

The bill also creates two significant aid programs using federal money to address lingering economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Main Street Economic Revitalization Program is created to provide funding to address the greatest economic development and redevelopment needs that have arisen in a community since March 15, 2020. The bill provides the program with $80 million for grants and guaranteed loans. The grants can be up to $750,000 and loans up to $2 million.

The second program is the Main Street COVID-19 Relief Grant Program, which provides $70 million for additional grant support for businesses that were impacted by the pandemic but did not receive assistance from previous state support efforts, $35 million of which is dedicated to businesses in Greater Minnesota. Awards will be facilitated by the six Minnesota Initiative Foundations. Eligible businesses must be able to demonstrate some economic hardship due to the pandemic and have fewer than 200 employees. Grants will be between $10,000 and $25,000 depending on staffing size and must be used to support payroll expenses, rent or mortgage, utilities, or other similar expenses that occurred after March 13, 2020. Look for future updates on the two Main Street programs as more information comes from DEED on these efforts.

If you have any questions regarding the jobs bill, please contact GMNP Executive Director Scott McMahon at scott@gmnp.org or 651-259-1908.