North Star Newsletter: Preparing Minnesota Students for 21st Century Jobs

Senator Al Franken
2017-04-28 12:10:49
North Star Newsletter | April 2017 Preparing Minnesota Students for 21st Century Jobs When I travel around Minnesota, one thing I hear over and over again from employers is that they have jobs going unfilled because they can’t find workers with the right skills. This problem is called the “skills gap,” and it’s something I’m working hard to address. That’s why I recently convened more than 350 educators, business leaders, students, and policy leaders from across the state for my Advancing Career Pathways Summit. The Summit, held in St. Paul, was the culmination of my office’s tour of 17 Minnesota communities. During the tour, my staff and I brought together Minnesota high schools with local businesses to showcase career opportunities in areas like advanced manufacturing, health care, information technology, and other growing industries. In addition to highlighting a variety of successful and innovative school-business partnerships at the Summit, I also announced that I’ll soon be introducing my Advancing Career Pathways Innovation Act, which will spur more of these programs and help close our nation’s “skills gap.” I’m grateful to all who joined me at the Summit, and I’ll be urging my colleagues in the Senate to support my bill to prepare students for 21st Century jobs. Supporting Our Ag Economy With one in five Minnesota jobs tied to agriculture, I believe it’s vital to hear directly from Minnesota farmers about what needs to be addressed in the next Farm Bill. That’s why I recently met with ag producers and leaders from six counties—including Minnesota Department of Agriculture Commissioner Dave Frederickson and Deputy Commissioner Matt Wohlman—in Farmington to discuss the impact that low farm prices have had on the state, as well as the effect that agriculture budget cuts proposed by President Trump would have on Minnesota. Then, in Saint Paul, I met with Minnesota farm leaders and dairy officials to discuss how we can open new markets for our producers and how I’ll keep urging the President to support Minnesota’s dairy farmers. I’ll also be challenging the new Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue to strongly reject a plan by President Trump to cut funding for the USDA by more than 20 percent—a move that, if approved, would devastate the American farm economy and put the livelihoods of Minnesota families at risk. Farmers are the backbone of America's economy. I'll keep fighting for Minnesota’s ag community in Washington to make sure they have the support they need. Fighting for Minnesota Workers Minnesota’s iron ore miners and steelworkers helped build this country and bring us into the 21st century—their work is literally imprinted in towns, cities, and communities across our nation. But over the past several years, the Iron Range has been hit hard by a massive influx of illegally dumped foreign steel. Hundreds of workers lost their jobs when local mining operations shuttered, and the economic impact has been felt by families, communities, and businesses across the Range. It’s my job to look out for Minnesota workers and their families, which is why I recently called on the Trump administration to crack down on illegally dumped foreign steel from South Korea. I was very pleased that the administration heeded my call just days after I pressed them to level the playing field for our Iron Range workers. And I’m glad we’re seeing important victories for other Minnesota workers, as well. Just the other day, the federal government finally cracked down on the subsidized Canadian softwood lumber that’s flooding across our border and putting people out of work. I’ve called for this problem to be addressed for a long time now, so I’m pleased that the Department of Commerce is taking action with new penalties on that Canadian lumber. Defending An Open Internet For as long as the internet has existed, it’s been grounded on the principle of net neutrality—that what you read, see, or watch on the internet shouldn’t be favored, blocked, or slowed down based on where that content is coming from. I’ve long defended net neutrality because it allows a small business in Minnesota to compete with the big guys, it drives innovation, and it protects free speech. But the new head of the Federal Communications Commission, Ajit Pai, just announced that he’s putting the rules that safeguard net neutrality on the chopping block. Let me be very clear: getting rid of net neutrality would destroy the internet as we know it. And that’s why I’m going to fight Chairman Pai’s proposal—and the big cable and internet companies who are the real muscle behind this attack—every step of the way. The only way to preserve net neutrality is to join together, and I’m proud to have written an op-ed in the Washington Post with my colleague in the Senate Ron Wyden of Oregon and former FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler on why consumers, small business, and Americans deserve an open internet. To unsubscribe from these newsletters, please visit the unsubscribe page here: franken.senate.gov/

North Star Newsletter | April 2017

Preparing Minnesota Students for 21st Century Jobs

When I travel around Minnesota, one thing I hear over and over again from employers is that they have jobs going unfilled because they can’t find workers with the right skills. This problem is called the “skills gap,” and it’s something I’m working hard to address.

That’s why I recently convened more than 350 educators, business leaders, students, and policy leaders from across the state for my Advancing Career Pathways Summit. The Summit, held in St. Paul, was the culmination of my office’s tour of 17 Minnesota communities. During the tour, my staff and I brought together Minnesota high schools with local businesses to showcase career opportunities in areas like advanced manufacturing, health care, information technology, and other growing industries.

In addition to highlighting a variety of successful and innovative school-business partnerships at the Summit, I also announced that I’ll soon be introducing my Advancing Career Pathways Innovation Act, which will spur more of these programs and help close our nation’s “skills gap.”

I’m grateful to all who joined me at the Summit, and I’ll be urging my colleagues in the Senate to support my bill to prepare students for 21st Century jobs.

Supporting Our Ag Economy

With one in five Minnesota jobs tied to agriculture, I believe it’s vital to hear directly from Minnesota farmers about what needs to be addressed in the next Farm Bill. That’s why I recently met with ag producers and leaders from six counties—including Minnesota Department of Agriculture Commissioner Dave Frederickson and Deputy Commissioner Matt Wohlman—in Farmington to discuss the impact that low farm prices have had on the state, as well as the effect that agriculture budget cuts proposed by President Trump would have on Minnesota.

Then, in Saint Paul, I met with Minnesota farm leaders and dairy officials to discuss how we can open new markets for our producers and how I’ll keep urging the President to support Minnesota’s dairy farmers.

I’ll also be challenging the new Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue to strongly reject a plan by President Trump to cut funding for the USDA by more than 20 percent—a move that, if approved, would devastate the American farm economy and put the livelihoods of Minnesota families at risk.

Farmers are the backbone of America's economy. I'll keep fighting for Minnesota’s ag community in Washington to make sure they have the support they need.

Fighting for Minnesota Workers

Minnesota’s iron ore miners and steelworkers helped build this country and bring us into the 21st century—their work is literally imprinted in towns, cities, and communities across our nation.

But over the past several years, the Iron Range has been hit hard by a massive influx of illegally dumped foreign steel. Hundreds of workers lost their jobs when local mining operations shuttered, and the economic impact has been felt by families, communities, and businesses across the Range.

It’s my job to look out for Minnesota workers and their families, which is why I recently called on the Trump administration to crack down on illegally dumped foreign steel from South Korea. I was very pleased that the administration heeded my call just days after I pressed them to level the playing field for our Iron Range workers.

And I’m glad we’re seeing important victories for other Minnesota workers, as well. Just the other day, the federal government finally cracked down on the subsidized Canadian softwood lumber that’s flooding across our border and putting people out of work. I’ve called for this problem to be addressed for a long time now, so I’m pleased that the Department of Commerce is taking action with new penalties on that Canadian lumber.

Defending An Open Internet

For as long as the internet has existed, it’s been grounded on the principle of net neutrality—that what you read, see, or watch on the internet shouldn’t be favored, blocked, or slowed down based on where that content is coming from.

I’ve long defended net neutrality because it allows a small business in Minnesota to compete with the big guys, it drives innovation, and it protects free speech. But the new head of the Federal Communications Commission, Ajit Pai, just announced that he’s putting the rules that safeguard net neutrality on the chopping block.

Let me be very clear: getting rid of net neutrality would destroy the internet as we know it.

And that’s why I’m going to fight Chairman Pai’s proposal—and the big cable and internet companies who are the real muscle behind this attack—every step of the way.

The only way to preserve net neutrality is to join together, and I’m proud to have written an op-ed in the Washington Post with my colleague in the Senate Ron Wyden of Oregon and former FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler on why consumers, small business, and Americans deserve an open internet.

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