Emergency employment program proposed

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A program that helped put tens of thousands of Minnesotans to work during tough times in the early 1980s would be resurrected under a proposal by Rep. Tom Rukavina (DFL-Virginia).

HF1326 would reestablish the Minnesota Emergency Employment Development program, a wage subsidy program that incentivizes businesses to hire new workers. From 1983 to 1985, MEED helped more than 30,000 unemployed Minnesotans find work. Rukavina hopes the state can repeat that success.

“The private sector really liked the program, and it accomplished its goal,” Rukavina said.

Under the bill’s provisions, MEED would provide employers with a state contribution to help pay wages and fringe benefits to eligible job applicants — 50 percent of the wage, up to a maximum of $5 an hour. In its current form, the bill asks for $120 million for the program.

The House Higher Education and Workforce Development Finance and Policy Division held the bill over for possible omnibus inclusion. The companion is SF1529. Sponsored by Sen. David Tomassoni (DFL-Chisholm), it awaits action by the Senate Business, Industry and Jobs Committee.

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