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Dan McElroy, the commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, discusses economic development Thursday morning at the American Indian Resource Center in Bemidji. Pioneer Photo/Monte Draper

'New Tools for New Times': McElroy touts cooperation

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The economic recovery more than finding a new job for the recently unemployed, said Dan McElroy, the commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development during a stop in Bemidji Thursday morning.

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A newly laid-off man might need new skills that could be acquired through a local college. But in order to attend classes, he might need child care assistance. Or need to first acquire his GED.

"Customers have needs across multiple systems," McElroy said.

McElroy made Bemidji one of 11 statewide stops in DEED's summer road show, "Investing in Economic Prosperity: New Tools for New Times," which was held at the American Indian Resource Center on the Bemidji State University campus.

The conference lasted about two hours, and approximately 50 people attended to hear new initiatives designed to encourage economic and workforce development.

Today's goal is "inclusive prosperity," through which all workers benefit due to increased median wages and lower unemployment, McElroy said.

"No one system can get us there alone," he said.

Through the road tour, multiple agencies' representatives gather into singular rooms, where they can share successes, ideas, and business cards.

More than a dozen agencies and commissions were highlighted as their representatives discussed what they do and how they help bolster the economy.

McElroy, and others, said northwest Minnesota is particularly prepared for a new era cooperation as the region is used to having to work together to be successful.

"Northwest Minnesota is ahead of other areas of the state," McElroy said. "Collaboration has been the way of life of here."

He also highlighted the last legislative session, during which DEED was given access to "new tools."

Some of the new tools included angel credits, which are tax credits that provide incentives to investors or investment funds that put money into startup and emerging companies focused on high technology or new proprietary technology.

The credits should help bolster small businesses.

Other tools included sales-tax exemptions for aerospace jobs and credits for historic preservation.

McElroy credited bipartisanship for legislative results, saying that the depth of the recession broke down partisan barriers.

Further, he said, the economic development measures were removed from the larger tax bill, which usually is highly debated, and put into a jobs bill.

Y bwesley@bemidjipioneer.com

The economic recovery more than finding a new job for the recently unemployed, said Dan McElroy, the commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development during a stop in Bemidji Thursday morning.

A newly laid-off man might need new skills that could be acquired through a local college. But in order to attend classes, he might need child care assistance. Or need to first acquire his GED.

"Customers have needs across multiple systems," McElroy said.

McElroy made Bemidji one of 11 statewide stops in DEED's summer road show, "Investing in Economic Prosperity: New Tools for New Times," which was held at the American Indian Resource Center on the Bemidji State University campus.

The conference lasted about two hours, and approximately 50 people attended to hear new initiatives designed to encourage economic and workforce development.

Today's goal is "inclusive prosperity," through which all workers benefit due to increased median wages and lower unemployment, McElroy said.

"No one system can get us there alone," he said.

Through the road tour, multiple agencies' representatives gather into singular rooms, where they can share successes, ideas, and business cards.

More than a dozen agencies and commissions were highlighted as their representatives discussed what they do and how they help bolster the economy.

McElroy, and others, said northwest Minnesota is particularly prepared for a new era cooperation as the region is used to having to work together to be successful.

"Northwest Minnesota is ahead of other areas of the state," McElroy said. "Collaboration has been the way of life of here."

He also highlighted the last legislative session, during which DEED was given access to "new tools."

Some of the new tools included angel credits, which are tax credits that provide incentives to investors or investment funds that put money into startup and emerging companies focused on high technology or new proprietary technology.

The credits should help bolster small businesses.

Other tools included sales-tax exemptions for aerospace jobs and credits for historic preservation.

McElroy credited bipartisanship for legislative results, saying that the depth of the recession broke down partisan barriers.

Further, he said, the economic development measures were removed from the larger tax bill, which usually is highly debated, and put into a jobs bill.

bwesley@bemidjipioneer.com

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Bethany Wesley
(218) 333-9200 x337
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