Minnesota Report

Today, Governor Tim Walz (DFL-MN) announce a plan for our state to advance economically. Minnesota outperforms all states in the region and consistently out paces most other states in areas of unemployment, job creation and profitability. The report acknowledges the challenges cause by the COVID pandemic, butt seeks to build upon the lessons learned from it.

Here is the press release.

Governor Tim Walz today announced a ten-year economic expansion plan at Wyoming Machine in Stacy, Minnesota. The Governor’s Council on Economic Expansion today released the 28-page report, titled “Minnesota’s Moment: A Roadmap for Economic Expansion,” which offers long-term steps to continue improving Minnesota’s economy.

Governor Walz launched the fifteen-member Council of business, labor, and community leaders in September of 2021 to help advise Minnesota on the systemic change needed in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors that will achieve a more equitable, inclusive, sustainable, and resilient Minnesota economy. The report makes dozens of recommendations that fall within five core “commitments” the Council believes are essential to economic growth in Minnesota:

  1. Commit to our people, as Minnesota’s number one strength and the key to a prosperous future.
  2. Commit to our communities, as the nexus point of growth and opportunity.
  3. Commit to our businesses, as the engine that will write the next chapter of the global economy.
  4. Commit to innovation, as the central dynamic needed to adapt to an ever-changing economic landscape.
  5. Commit to infrastructure, as the foundation of all economic progress.

We challenged a broad network of Minnesota leaders to look toward Minnesota’s future and find opportunities to make Minnesota a global destination to work, live, and own a business,” said Governor Walz. “The result – dozens of bold new ideas – will guide not only our Administration, but the state’s work for the decade to come. I’m grateful to our council members for their tireless work to create Minnesota’s roadmap for economic expansion.”

“Our goal is an equitable, inclusive, sustainable, and resilient economy – and this report will help guide Minnesota as we continue that work,” said Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan. “As we worked to outline the goals of this Council, we knew it would be critical that the work include feedback from a diverse cross-section of communities, and I’m so grateful to all our stakeholders and partners who contributed.”

The report details dozens of recommendations, ranging from ways to expand child care to support working families, collaborate with employers and labor organizations to prepare students for their careers, and expand public-private partnerships to provide support for small business owners. The comprehensive report covers recommendations from public safety, to infrastructure, to health care, to reducing barriers to job creation and innovation.

The Council, comprised of 15 labor, business, philanthropic and nonprofit leaders from across the state, was created by Executive Order 21-31, and has conducted public meetings since Sept. 15, 2021. The Council is co-chaired by Jeff Ettinger, former Hormel CEO, and Paul Williams, CEO and president of Project for Pride in Living.

The Council had two main goals. First, the Council was asked to propose recommendations on how best to leverage American Rescue Plan funding to advance equitable economic growth. That first report was released last fall and helped shape the Governor’s strategy for the 2022 legislative session. Second, the Governor asked the Council to think longer-term and build a roadmap for Minnesota’s economic expansion in the coming decade.

Central to both goals was the need for the Council to engage stakeholders and to grapple with an economic legacy of racism, exclusion, and disparities in Minnesota’s economy that are holding the state back. The roadmap the Council created includes a wide-ranging set of topics centered on a collective vision for prosperity.

“I am excited for this Council to offer recommendations aimed at supporting a brighter, more inclusive economic future for all Minnesotans,” said Jeff Ettinger, former Hormel CEO. “The Governor’s Council on Economic Expansion seeks to support both Minnesota’s future financial growth and the Minnesotans who will participate in it.”

“We know the impact of the pandemic has fallen especially hard on communities of color and Minnesotans who face systemic barriers,” said Paul Williams, CEO and president of Project for Pride in Living. “I am honored to work with a committed group of leaders focused on how we can build a thriving economy that will help everyone in our state emerge stronger.”

The Council heard from many groups while conducting its work including state, local, and tribal governments, businesses, workers, higher education institutions, nonprofits, and communities that have been disproportionately impacted by historic and modern-day inequitable systems and by the pandemic.

“Our economy has faced disruptions these last three years, but Minnesota has a tremendous opportunity to seize this moment to create an economy that works for everyone,” said DEED Commissioner Steve Grove. “We appreciate this extraordinary group of leaders for sharing their time and expertise to advise our state, and I’m inspired by the report they’ve put forward today.”

“Workforce shortages and other economic pressures have created significant challenges for the human services system,” said Department of Human Services Commissioner Jodi Harpstead. “The roadmap laid out by the Council will help ensure access to affordable housing, health care, and other critical resources so all Minnesotans can reach their full health potential and participate in economic expansion.”

“Living through a global pandemic has presented unique challenges for every Minnesotan, but also presents an opportunity to emerge stronger and more equitable,” said Department of Labor and Industry Commissioner Roslyn Robertson. “It was a priority for the Council that many voices were heard, and that our economic expansion plans include a continued commitment to keeping our workforce safe and healthy.”

Council members included:

  • Jeff Ettinger, former Chairman of the Board and CEO, Hormel Foods (Co-Chair)
  • Paul Williams, President and CEO, Project for Pride in Living (Co-Chair)
  • Scott Burns, CEO and Co-Founder, Structural
  • Brett Carter, Executive Vice President and Chief Customer and Innovation Officer, Xcel Energy
  • Joe Fowler, President, Minnesota Building and Construction Trades Council
  • Jodi Hubler, Vice Chair, Medical Alley Board of Directors
  • Brenda Hilbrich, Executive Vice President, SEIU Healthcare Minnesota
  • Neel Kashkari, President and CEO, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis
  • Marcus Owens, Principal Consultant
  • Tuleah Palmer, President and CEO, Blandin Foundation
  • Joo Hee Pomplun, Executive Director, Alliance for Metropolitan Stability
  • Nonoko Sato, Executive Director, Minnesota Council of Nonprofits
  • Traci Tapani, Co-President, Wyoming Machine
  • Bharti Wahi, Executive Director, Children’s Defense Fund – Minnesota
  • Penny Wheeler, CEO, Allina Health


Additional details about the Council, including the full recommendations report can be found on the Council’s section of the DEED website.