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DEED announces new Office of Public Engagement to "bring people from community into the conversation"

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Minnesota’s Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) is adding something new to ensure the state is growing in a way that includes everyone.

On Tuesday, leaders at DEED announced a new Office of Public Engagement. They said this is a continuation of the work that started before the pandemic.

They’ve now increased the staff and the hope is to build relationships with different communities from all over the state that have been hit hardest by racial and other disparities in employment, including gender, sexual orientation, race/ethnicity, disabilities and more.

They want to support entrepreneurs of color, connect job-seekers to resources and training programs and to have community members more involved in the grant review process.

Leaders said this work is now more important than ever as Minnesota’s Black population has grown by the hundreds of thousands in the last decade and just more than 50% of the state’s most recent labor force growth has now been driven by immigrants.

“It’s listening to folks,” said Marc Majors, deputy commissioner for the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development. “[It’s] understanding what their needs are and then coming back and working together to problem solve and create the best way to approach that and that will help us with our decision making as we add more community reviewers as part of our process. The reason why we do bring people from the community into the conversation is because it shouldn’t be a select few to make the determination for a lot of other folks.”

Majors, along with other leaders, said one of the ways to achieve their goal is becoming more visible.

They’ll be out at both the Hmong International Freedom festival and the Somali Independence Day celebration this weekend to connect with people.

Source: CBS Minnesota

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