Bruce P. Corrie, PhD, Chai.News
The current legislative session did something unprecedented in recent times – setting up a political space just for equity decisions to be discussed and acted upon. Governor Dayton led by example by announcing a $100 million package and steps to diversity the state’s workforce in a concrete manner by the end of his term. The Senate followed with a package of $87 (91) million and the House with $26 million. These actions are noteworthy.
Now the cards are on the table and the conference committees begin their work. The table below illustrates the various equity investments in the Governor, House and Senate proposals.
Analysis of the House and Senate conference committee bills and the Governor’s proposal reveals that they are on the right track but could be more effective if they cover the following gaps:
- Current proposals are broadly inclusive but could be improved by including the diversity of ALANA communities– this can be done by creating competitive grant pools and ensuring they are accessible to the diversity within the ALANA communities.
- Current proposals include ALANA communities in rural Minnesota but the need is large and these programs need to be expanded. One approach is to make existing rural policies and programs more accessible by inserting language in key rural bills such as for the initiative funds to increase outreach to the rural ALANA communities.
- The House proposals are too narrow and restricted in funding. The Governor and Senate proposals cover a wider range of solutions and would make greater progress in reducing disparities.
- While building the capacity of large organizations to be more effective, create a separate competitive funding pool for small organizations in mentoring relationships with larger organizations. Lots of innovation happens in these organizations. Also many of the smaller organizations have cultural intelligence to serve a particular community. Instead of pass-through funding, a mentoring partnership to build capacity of the smaller organizations could be more effective.
- Include ALANA business and workforce goals in construction and transportation bonding bills.
- Follow federal projects and allocate 1 percent of state transportation and construction projects for ALANA capacity building to grow the next generation of workers and businesses.
- Invest in math and science education especially in middle schools where a lot of ALANA kids are struggling. Ensure there is an applied and inclusive learning environment.
- Establish an ALANA competitive innovation fund to encourage new products development in health, technology and alternative energy.
- Convene a bi-partisan task force to establish long term strategies and goals to grow ALANA assets in a systematic way and to monitor progress and results.
- Reinforce and fund strategies aimed at structural changes such as diversification of state employees, procurement reform for greater utilization of ALANA businesses. Change outdated rules and procedures that act as barriers as suggested by the immigration task force proposal.
- Include in the charter of all state agencies and programs the need for outreach and inclusion of ALANA communities. House and Senate language to in the Education bill to increase teacher diversity is a good model that can be followed in other state agencies programs and policies.
- Cultural intelligence is needed for effective policies and programs. That is why many community groups are calling for dis-aggregation of data to allow policy makers to see different experiences so that appropriate investments and interventions can occur.
- Adequately fund programs such as ABE, SNAP, Pathways to Prosperity and other such proposals that include low income people from all communities and equip them with tools for self-reliance and higher standards of living.
- The dual track real-ID proposal is more relevant to the realities of the Minnesotan economy.
- Minnesota has received national recognition as the best state in the nation for policies reintegrating former felons into society. Current legislation should expand this effort to voting rights.
- Language could be inserted into funded projects to provide outcome data how well their services are reaching people at the grassroots/neighborhood level.
- All three strategies to achieve equity are needed: personal economic empowerment and choice, structural change and capacity building.
- Finally for those who think that the current equity funding proposals are too much – note this fact: The total value of ALANA core assets of income, business sales and residential real estate is an estimated $30 billion. $100 million is an investment of 0.33 percent of these assets.
It is time for the conference committees to do the right thing and make a clear statement to the nation – Minnesota is getting equity strategy right!
comparingequity Table for download
|Jobs/Econ Development||Youth at Work||8||Youth at work||0.4||Youth at Work||8|
|Pathways to Prosperity||2.5||Pathways to Prosperity||5.1|
|Child Care Assistance||28.1|
|Center for Indep Living||0.5|
|Twin Cities Rise||0.6||Metro Transit Technician||0.407|
|Construction Careers||1||Workforce development grants||5.5|
|Mobile Food Shelf grants (Hunger Solutions)||1|
|Culturally specific mental health srvs for veterans||0.1||Emerge||4.25|
|Metro Transit Technician||0.407|
|Career Connections- Hennepin||4.8|
|Women in High Demand||1.5|
|S E Asian Communities||4|
|American Indian communities||0.88|
|Build Wealth MN||0.5|
|Achievement Gap||Higher Ed||20||MN Reading Corp||1.5||Teacher residency program||1.5|
|K-12 Positive Behavior||2.8||Grow Your Own||1.5||ABE||3.2|
|GED||0.12||Student Teacher grants||1||Teacher Workforce programs||5.5|
|Preschool Choice||25||St. Cloud Preschool project||0.43||GED Fee assistance||0.12|
|CUE||2||Full service community schools||2.45|
|Mentoring Partnership||1.5||American Indian teacher prep||1.25|
|Parent-Child home program||2||NAZ||1.21|
|Girls in Action||1.5||St Paul Promise Neighborhood||1.21|
|Minnesota Future Teachers||4.5|
|Rock N Read||0.1|
|Revolving Loan Fund||6|
|Small Org||2||Capacity Grants||3|
|Small Biz Support Grants||1.42|
|MN Innitiave Expansion WOC||2.5|
|White Earth Biz||1|
|Emerging Entrepreneur Fund||6|
|Good Food Access||5|
|Upgraded Biz software Admin||2.5|
|Housing||Mortgage Assistance||5||Mortgage Assistance||3|
|Home Own Counseling||1||Homeownership capacity||0.5|
|Risk Free Renting||0.25||Landlord Guarantee Fund||0.25||Landlord pilot||0.25|
|Exploited Family Rental Assistance||0.25||Exploited Families Rental Assistance||2.5|
|Higher Education||Grants for student support srvcs||20||College Possible||0.25||Equity in Post Grad Grants||14.32|
|Collaborative Urban Educators||2||Teacher Diversity Report||0.8|
|State Grant Program||`1.75|