With four days left to election day, we would like to remind area voters that there are resources available to help you vote at GreaterMankatoElections.com. Our website has election resources that can help you determine where and how to vote and can help you decide between candidates, if you have not done so already. Our website contains candidate questionnaires ranging from local races to the race for Minnesota’s 1st Congressional District. In addition, you can find saved recordings of the candidate forums that we hosted as well as links to forums hosted by other organizations in our community.
Important! A recent decision by the US Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals has held that all mail in ballots received after 8pm on Election Day must be set aside, with the expectation that a future ruling will invalidate those votes. We are encouraging all voters with outstanding absentee ballots to submit those ballots in person.
Want a free way to leverage promotion of your employment opportunities to the whole state? The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) has just launched the #GoodJobsNow campaign, an initiative designed to let job seekers know that companies across multiple industries are still hiring for quality jobs that pay a living wage. In the announcement of the campaign, DEED Commissioner Steve Grove said, “Right now, as many Minnesotans face uncertainty, DEED is working to provide job seekers with job opportunities and career training resources through virtual CareerForce services, our regularly updated 30 Jobs in Demand list, the Dislocated Worker Program and now the #GoodJobsNow visualization.” Target industries for this campaign in the Greater Mankato Area include manufacturing, healthcare, agriculture, transportation, construction, and IT.
In May 2020, we published the first of a two part series in Connect Business Magazine. Our initial article spoke to why businesses should incorporate refugees, asylees and immigrants into their workforce. In the upcoming issue of Connect Business Magazine, part two will be published, which outlines some key community resources that can help businesses with this effort. As our initial article was published while businesses across our region were closed, we have received permission to republish a portion of the article below, for those who may have missed it:
A second round of grant funding is being offered to small businesses and non-profits in Nicollet County that have been adversely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The first round of funding was offered in September.
Grant awards will be provided to businesses and non-profits that experienced interruption, closure or significant revenue loss as a result of the public health emergency. Grant awards will be up to $10,000 based on eligibility. Businesses and non-profits with up to 50 full-time equivalent employees can apply. The first grant round was limited to businesses and non-profits with up to 20 full-time equivalent employees.
The US Small Busines Administration and Department of the Treasury have announced that an expedited process has been created to apply for loan forgiveness for those who received Paycheck Protection Program Loans of $50,000 or less. With the exception of employers who, together with their affiliates, received loans totaling $2,000,000 or more, those who received loans of $50,000 or less can utilize SBA Form 3508S.
This new process has waived the reduction in loan forgiveness for eligible employers who did not maintain their employee headcount or were forced to reduce wages. Employers are also no longer required to show the calculations they used to determine their loan forgiveness amount. It has also reduced the amount of documentation required to be submitted along with the loan application; however, all records related to the PPP loan must be retained for six years after the loan forgiveness date as representatives of the SBA can request to view the file.
For businesses needing assistance with this form we recommend partnering with the Small Business Development Center. Businesses can receive assistance by going to myminnesotabusiness.com and choosing “Apply for Services”.
The South Central Tour of Manufacturing Partnership has been working hard to bring manufacturing to the public and to schools in a virtual format. Virtual tours can be viewed at TourofManufacturing.com.
At today’s Blue Earth County Board of Commissioners meeting, the Commissioners voted to expand the eligibility of the Business Assistance Grant Program. The program will now be offered to home based businesses (provided conformance with other criteria). The maximum full-time equivalent (FTE) employees has increased from 20 to 50. Lastly, there is no longer a cap on annual revenue. Continue reading “Blue Earth County’s Business Assistance Grant Program Eligibility Expanded”→
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 Crisis, one of the most common questions we have received is “How is the economy of Greater Mankato doing?” Unfortunately, many of the primary indicators designed to show economic performance have a significant lag period, particularly when attempting to analyze an individual Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA). For example, July unemployment figures at the MSA level are not scheduled to be released until September 2 and 2019 GDP figures at the MSA level are not scheduled to be released until December 2020.
In a collaboration between Harvard University, Brown University and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, an economic tracker has been released that allows a much more timely and much more local look at the available data. While data has not been released for the Mankato-North Mankato MSA as a whole, we can look at data for both Blue Earth and Nicollet County. Data can be reviewed at tracktherecovery.org or by viewing the report below, which contains data accessed on August 12, 2020 as well as a comparison of employment figures released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Consumer spending, small business revenue, and the number of small businesses open have all tracked up since their low points around April 1. Nicollet County is currently outperforming the state average in all three of these categories and small business revenue is currently up 14.6% relative to revenue in January. With significant fluctuations, Blue Earth County consumer spending and small business revenues, which outperformed state averages when data was first accessed one week ago, have currently dipped just below the state average, but are still showing significant improvements relative to April.
The two charts outlining change in employment and change in earnings among low-income workers have the biggest lag in this group and we look forward to seeing the change in these charts when they are updated to reflect the 3,000 jobs the Mankato-North Mankato regained in June.
This is a guest blog submission from Dan Solomonof the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry.
The Minnesota Dual-Training Pipeline is an innovative approach to address current and future workforce needs. The program works with employers to change the conversation from “How do we find workers with the skills we need?” to “How do we GIVE workers the skills we need?”
Pipeline exists to support employers in creating or enhancing a competency based dual-training approach where workers receive a combination of related instruction strategically paired with on-the-job training. Dual-training grants through the Minnesota Office of Higher Education provide funding for employers to create new and expand existing dual-training initiatives. Pipeline focuses on the four industries of advanced manufacturing, agriculture, health care services and information technology. In the Mankato area, Pipeline is thrilled to most recently support workforce training efforts at Jones Metal, Dotson Iron Castings, V-Tek, Inc. and Mankato Clinic.
Minnesota Dual-Training Pipeline is here for business and available to provide consultation with employers interested in setting up dual training any time throughout the year. In addition, Pipeline hosts industry forums to bring business leaders together to share information and provide updates as well as hosts a speaker series with a variety of topics of interest to employers. Pipeline also hosts 101 Webinars for those brand new to the program who would like to learn more. The next Pipeline 101 webinar is on August 11 from 9am to 10am and you can sign up at the following link here: https://www.dli.mn.gov/business/workforce/pipeline-events
If your company is looking for PPE or other COVID-19 related resources as you reopen, it may be worthwhile to check out the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce’s MN Supplier Match to help you find the PPE you need. The Supplier Match database has over 1000 companies and can be sorted by keyword. It also currently has a list dedicated to COVID-19 related supplies as well as options to filter by minority-owned, women-owned, or veteran-owned suppliers. If would like access, simply email firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “MN Supplier Match Credential Request” to request login credentials. The supplier match can be found on the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce Website at https://www.mnchamber.com/your-opportunity/mn-supplier-match.
Become listed as a supplier
While all Minnesota Chamber of Commerce members can be listed as a supplier, they have also opened the supplier listings to any business that is currently producing PPE, cleaning services, and other COVID-19 related products and services. If you’d like to be included, please fill out the form found here.