Wednesday, November 30, 2022

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Access to medication is key to HIV prevention, a Florida university uses a religious exemption to disband its faculty union, plus Nevada tribes and conservation leaders praise a new national monument plan.

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The House passed a bill to avert a crippling railroad strike, Hakeem Jefferies is chosen to lead House Democrats, and President Biden promises more federal-Native American engagement at the Tribal Nations Summit.

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The first-ever "trout-safe" certification goes to an Idaho fish farm, the Healthy Housing Initiative helps improve rural communities' livability, and a new database makes it easier for buyers and builders to find available lots.

MN Labor Leader: Don't Forget About Infrastructure Impact

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Wednesday, August 24, 2022   

This summer's passage of the federal Inflation Reduction Act has received a lot of attention. But last year's infrastructure law is seeing its initial wave of projects move forward, and Minnesota labor leaders say it provides even more opportunities.

So far, the federal plan has sent nearly $1 billion to the state for transportation projects, including roads, bridges and public transit.

Joe Fowler, president of the Minnesota State Building and Construction Trades Council, said their affiliates have been busy in the region, and the added funding will be another selling point in getting people into the trades.

"If they know that there's going to be work out there for the next five to 10 years, in addition to what we have," he said, "that kind of helps them make the decision that they can choose it as a career, not just a single job opportunity."

He said these jobs and their steady income allow workers to build their savings and spend money in local communities.

One of the remaining sticking points in Minnesota is that the Legislature has yet to approve the matching funds required under the law. Plan supporters have said it leaves a significant portion of the state's total share, of $7.3 billion, on the table.

Political gridlock has prevented lawmakers from coming back for a special session to address the matter. In the meantime, Fowler said they'll enhance their job recruiting, which already has grown in the past few years. That includes larger training centers and a statewide diversity program.

"That's a 12-week program that has an emphasis on recruiting women, BIPOC community members and veterans," he said.

Fowler acknowledged there's a lot of competition in attracting workers right now. But he said strong apprentice wages and benefits can help with their outreach. Aside from traditional infrastructure projects, the federal law also funds expansion of high-speed internet and electric-vehicle charging stations.


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