Rebuilding and revitalizing our economies begins with preparing the next generation of southern Minnesota’s workforce

As a former public school teacher, the spouse of a public school educator, and a father to two children who attend public schools in Mankato, I know there is no more important job than preparing our youth for the future. Communities across southern Minnesota are in critical need of a highly trained workforce to rebuild our economies. Fortunately, our region is well positioned to be a leader in trades and technical education. This starts with making sure all families and students are aware of the options available to them.

Whether I’m meeting with Chambers of Commerce, local officials, or union leaders in the trades, there’s broad agreement over the importance of addressing our workforce needs with technical, trades, and higher education. This past Labor Day, I was fortunate enough to meet with leaders in labor across southern Minnesota. I heard from these individuals about how registered apprenticeship programs had changed their lives, and about the value of apprenticeships to ensuring high quality opportunities and high labor standards for workers. These are stories of success, and in our district we have countless educational pathways that can lead to high-wage, high-growth jobs. We must model the incredible work done by programs like these apprenticeships, FFA, and 4-H in order to help students identify the right path for them. Additionally, we must ensure that higher education fulfills its promise of career enhancement without burdening the next generation of southern Minnesotans with staggering debt.

The work of rebuilding and revitalizing our economies begins with preparing the next generation of southern Minnesota’s workforce. When I am in Congress, I will build a more inclusive and comprehensive higher education infrastructure by encouraging partnerships between local labor, businesses, technical schools, 2- and 4-year degree programs, and high schools so our children are aware of all of their options from an early age. I will support legislation that caps student loan rates and expands job pathways to loan forgiveness. And I will work with labor unions and trade schools to ensure young people have access to high-paying jobs in the trades that don’t require attending a four-year university.

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Dan Feehan

Husband, father, Minnesotan. Army vet, former teacher, former Pentagon, and Democratic candidate for Congress in Minnesota’s 1st Congressional District