Weather Forecast


Minnesota increases workforce participation goals

Minnesota construction contractors are being asked to hire more women and people of color, the state Department of Human Rights announced Monday.

For Northeastern Minnesota counties — St. Louis, Lake, Cook, Carlton, Aitkin, Koochiching and Itasca — the goal is for total time spent on projects to include 9 percent women and 15 percent people of color. That’s up from previous targets of 6 and 5 percent, respectively.

“These increased goals aim to reduce barriers to workforce entry, to respond to demographic changes, and to prepare for Minnesota’s emerging workforce shortage,” the department said in a news release.

Failure to make a “good-faith effort” toward meeting the goals could lead to ineligibility to receive state contracts, according to the department; contractors can learn more at

Though unemployment rates overall remain low in the state, communities of color still face much higher jobless rates. In Duluth, Census data show 28 percent of African-Americans looking for a job didn’t have one in 2015; the rate was 20 percent for Native Americans.

Brooks Johnson

Brooks covers business and the economy for the Duluth News Tribune.

(218) 723-5329