Christopher Magan / St. Paul Pioneer Press
ST. PAUL — The opioid crisis has gotten so bad that some employers are struggling to find sober workers. "The drug-testing challenge is a significant one for hiring," said Charlie Weaver, executive director of the Minnesota Business Partnership, an organization of 120 CEOs from companies that employ about 400,000 Minnesotans. Weaver and the state Department of Health announced a partnership Tuesday, Sept. 18, to create an opioid toolkit for employers to help workers struggling with addiction.
ST. PAUL — New data from the U.S. Census Bureau contain good news for Minnesota workers, especially those in black and Hispanic households. Median earnings for black households rose for the third consecutive year in 2017, beginning to remedy one of the state's most troubling racial disparities. The median income for black households was $38,147 last year, the census bureau reported, up from $27,985 in 2014, when inflation is taken into account.
ST. PAUL — The number of Minnesotans without health insurance climbed by 17,563 last year, driving up the uninsured rate to 4.4 percent, but the state continues to have one of the best rates of overall medical coverage in the nation. Altogether, 242,509 Minnesotans lacked health insurance in 2017, with black and Hispanic residents having the largest uninsured rates at 17 percent, according to the latest data from the U.S. Census Bureau.
ST. PAUL — Minnesota has made incremental progress the past four years closing some of the state's most troubling achievement gaps, but stagnant and worsening academic performance by several groups is raising alarms. A Pioneer Press analysis of the results of the 2018 Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments, or MCAs, found while students of color have slowly improved their reading proficiency since 2015, overall gains made in math during that period were the result of the state's results declining overall.
ST. PAUL — No matter how the state measures school performance, one thing remains clear — Minnesota has one of the nation's largest academic achievement gaps. The Minnesota Department of Education will unveil a new method for grading schools Thursday, Aug. 30, called the North Star accountability system, but the results are largely the same. Students of color, those who are learning English and students who have special needs or come from low-income families routinely struggle academically compared with their peers.
ST. PAUL — Minnesotans were more excited about voting in August than they've been in a long time. More than a quarter of registered voters cast ballots in the Aug. 14 primary, the best turnout in 20 years. For Amanda Anderson of Apple Valley, it was a chance to make a difference. "So many people complain about politics and I think the only way you can create change is by getting involved," said Anderson, who wasn't a regular primary voter in the past. But that electoral excitement wasn't uniform.
ST. PAUL—Minnesota no longer has a backlog of elder-abuse allegations that need to be investigated. The Minnesota Department of Health announced Wednesday that state officials have finished investigating 826 cases of abuse of seniors and vulnerable adults. Investigators substantiated allegations in 30 percent of those cases. The investigations were part of a backlog of 2,231 reports of abuse and neglect the state faced in January.
ST. PAUL — The Minnesota Department of Education expects to award at least 50 schools up to $500,000 each this fall to improve building security and safety. The $25 million in school safety grants was included in the capital investment, or bonding bill, passed by the Minnesota Legislature in May. Lawmakers signaled they wanted to spend about double that on security improvements but couldn't reach a deal. If interest in the grants is any sign, the cash will go fast.
ST. PAUL -- The race to be Minnesota’s next governor has already cost more than $3.5 million and the five top candidates in the running have plenty of cash to spend before the Aug. 14 primary. The two Republicans and three Democrats hoping to make it to the November election have raised nearly $5 million this year, according to pre-primary campaign finance reports.
ST. PAUL—Are Minnesota's rules setting pay on state-funded public construction projects a boost for skilled labor or a barrier for workers hoping to climb the employment ladder? When it comes to school construction, new research by the Midwest Economic Policy Institute found Minnesota's prevailing-wage law resulted in more local hiring, higher pay and stronger apprenticeship programs.