ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) -- Commissioner Steve Grove visited Rochester Wednesday as part of The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) Economic Recovery Tour. Its goal is to assist the state in economic recovery after the pandemic brought multiple unforeseen challenges.
"There's a record amount of money coming out of our department right now to help our economy jumpstart into its next chapter," stated DEED Commissioner Steve Grove.
More than $280 million in economic development programs, a $150 million fund in business support from COVID-19 and $250 million in essential worker payments are just some of the highlights.
"We know that as Minnesota moves into the next chapter of out economy. Nothing's inevitable. We can't just trust that it's just going to go all swimmingly. We've got to invest and make sure that those that need the help the most get it so that we have successful new business starts, great opportunities for workers in our market and that our whole state can thrive," said Grove.
According to the Rochester Chamber of Commerce, we are mostly seeing and feeling the affects of a labor shortage in the hospitality, retail and manufacturing industries.
"There's challenges both in acquiring that talent but then also retaining. It's a bit of a challenge at this point, but hopefully with the return to school, obviously some changes coming up on the unemployment side of things and some other factors. Hopefully there's going to be that return as we enter the holiday season," stated Rochester Chamber of Commerce President Ryan Parsons.
Commissioner Grove says labor shortage in Minnesota may also be due to the lack of childcare across the state.
"We're about 80 thousand slots short in childcare right now. Just today our department launched a new childcare economic development grant program that puts money into the market nine times more than we ever had before to provide for new childcare businesses to get started," Grove said.
While Commissioner Grove and the state are using multiple programs to help get the Minnesota economy back to where it was pre-pandemic, many in attendance say they are appreciative of the career pathways being implemented by DEED.
More information about DEED including its goals and ideas can be found on its website.