President’s Letter: Legislative Session

July 6, 2017 No Comments
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Good News For Manufacturing

by B Kyle

toc_departments50pxThis month’s update is all about the impact manufacturing is making – especially at the Minnesota Legislature and in the economy – good news to be had!

Update: A Seat at the Table
The 2017 Legislative Session officially ended May 22. What was intended to be a short, two-day Special Session took longer than expected due to wrangling over major sticking points in the proposed 2018-19 biennial budget, in particular the appropriation of a $1.65 billion budget surplus. The good news for Minnesota’s manufacturers: the MPMA’s Youth Skills Training Program bill made it through the session and into the Jobs and Energy Omnibus Bill, which was in front of  Gov. Mark Dayton at of the end of the regular session. This is terrific news.

Indeed, five omnibus bills — agriculture, environment and natural resources, higher education, jobs and economic development, and judiciary and public safety — were passed before the regular session ended. MPMA’s Youth Skills Training Program is included in the jobs and energy bill.

In advance of the end of Special Session, the MPMA sent a letter supporting the Jobs bill to the governor. I was honored to sign that letter. We wrote:

Minnesota manufacturers know first-hand the pressing workforce shortages making it difficult for employers to find the talent we need to grow. MPMA strongly supports efforts to improve Minnesota’s skilled workforce, and we are ready and willing to do our part in welcoming youth who are interested in manufacturing careers into our industry.

The provision creating the Youth Skills Training Program at the Department of Labor and Industry (DLI) will open the doors for more high school students to participate in skills-based internships. This legislation will provide a framework for training programs that incorporate employer participation, uniform skills and competencies, and pathways to post-secondary programs such as registered apprenticeships, two-year technical programs, and four-year degree programs. This initiative will also make it easier for employers to offer internships and apprenticeships to high school students.

The letter concluded by urging the governor to sign the omnibus Jobs bill. On May 30, Gov. Dayton “ended the budget wrangling with thunder,” signing Minnesota’s next two-year, $46 billion budget.
We send sincerest thanks to our lobbyist, Amy Walstien, for the stellar work she has done on the MPMA’s behalf. One of my priorities for this year as president was to make legislative headway in the area of workforce. Through Amy’s efforts, we did that. The work continues, but we should celebrate this victory – more to come!

IN THE ECONOMY

  • Though Q1 started slowly for manufacturers, economic activity in the sector expanded in April, and the overall economy grew for the 95th consecutive month. Growth, though still sluggish, continues!
  • Industrial production, a key barometer for the manufacturing sector, jumped 1.0 percent in April, surpassing expectations for a more modest increase.
  • April Manufacturing ISM® Report On Business Purchasing Managers Index (PMI®) held steady at 57.2 percent. As a reminder, 2016 started with a PMI® of 48.2 percent.
  • U.S. Labor Market Update, April 2017: Nationally, employers added 211,000 new jobs in April, topping expectations.  Minnesota employers added 15,100 jobs in April, and March was revised up to a 5,600-job gain.

See you in the trenches.pm_endmarkgrn-e1320337194716


 

B. Kyle is the Vice President of Strategic Development at Saint Paul Port Authority. She can be reached at blk@sppa.com.

Copyright © 2017 Minnesota Precision Manufacturing Association. For permission to use or reprint this article please contact Nancy Huddleston, publications manager for Precision Manufacturing Journal.

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