“Section One: Human Capital is the first of four sections of The Minnesota Equity Blueprint. The first report reveals the challenges posed by demographic disparities, along with dozens of practical solutions that will help realize our state’s full human potential. Solutions are organized by topic headings:
- Economic Security
- Peaceful Communities
- Educational Attainment
- Healthy People and Communities.
More than 30 specific options for community action or statewide policy changes are recommended.
The diverse congress of Minnesotans in our Thriving by Design Network (TBDN) are deeply concerned about the condition of our most vulnerable people, many of whom would succeed if not held back by discrimination, exclusion and neglect. Disproportionately, these are our communities of color, low-income people of every race, our elderly and disabled, our women, and our families in rural areas who haven’t shared in economic growth.
Business leaders in our network affirmed that our competitiveness depends primarily on realizing our full human potential, improving educational and skills attainment, especially among young people of color (including children of refugees and immigrants) and youth in families living on very low incomes. These are the children who continue to be the least likely to acquire credentials and training and who suffer multiple consequences from stubbornly persistent and growing inequality.
Citing research showing that children succeed with teachers from their own communities and cultures, the Blueprint recommends that state and local government and non-profits fully fund scholarships and loan forgiveness programs for prospective teachers of color and expand alternative pathways to obtaining teaching credentials.
Among dozens of specific policies and practices that improve human capital, TBDN members recommended that the state fully fund cradle-to-career educational equity programs – especially scholarship and career pathway programs, giving preference for locally developed initiatives that include employer input.
Also recommended to improve both human capital and economic security: expansion of Earned Income Tax Credits; indexing the state’s minimum wage for inflation and allowing local governments to establish higher “livable wage’’ requirements; expansion of MinnesotaCare to include more middle- and low-income families; more investments in community-based health programs aimed at outreach and prevention; and major reforms in a criminal justice system, including more investment in community-based alternatives to policing such as youth engagement and non-governmental social service programs.