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State of the Union

U.S. Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) announced that Dr. Larry Lundblad (shown), the president
of Central Lakes College in Brainerd and Staples, will be his guest at the
State of the Union address on tonight. Since taking office, Sen. Franken has met
with business leaders all over the state, and says he has been astounded by how
often he hears that job openings are going unfilled—even during times of high
unemployment—because businesses can’t find workers with the right training and
skills. President Lundblad’s efforts to address this problem have made him a
statewide leader in closing this so-called “skills
gap.” “President Lundblad
is a leader in Minnesota in fostering partnerships between
business and education,” said Sen. Franken. “His
efforts to close the skills gap are already helping students find employment and
manufacturers fill job openings. I am honored that President Lundblad will be
joining me for the State of the Union, and I look forward to hearing the
President’s thoughts on how we can improve and invest in America’s
workforce in his speech tomorrow
night.” Sen. Franken also says he will be pursuing
legislation on workforce development that will strengthen the relationship
between colleges and businesses to help ensure students get the education they
need to fill open jobs. Central Lakes College
was one of four Minnesota colleges to share in a recent $13 million
U.S Department of Labor grant on workforce development.
President Lundblad and his staff coordinated with Wilson Tool, a Minnesota manufacturer,
to host Deputy Labor Secretary Seth D. Harris’s
visit in October to make the announcement. Sen. Franken visited Brainerd in August,
and says he saw for himself the impressive partnership between Central Lakes College, the Brainerd Lakes Area Chamber
of Commerce, the Brainerd Lakes Area Economic Development Corporation and the
K-12 public school system to make sure high school students are exposed to
careers in manufacturing.
— Alexandra
Fetissoff alexandra@franken.senate.gov

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