Our region’s increasing food insecurity challenge that has grown during the COVID-19 pandemic requires action right now. It is both a resource and a supply chain challenge, and real-time data has been critical to a quick and effective response. We are most effective when we have reliable information to inform action. A survey sponsored by AgriGrowth, AURI, the College of Food, Agriculture and Natural Resource Sciences (CFANS) at the University of Minnesota, GreenSeam and the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, is open now to better understand the supply chain effects of COVID-19 on food and ag businesses so that effective strategies can be developed to support supply chain resiliency.
As the unemployment rate continues to increase due to COVID-19, it is much more difficult for many families to put food on the table. In fact, new data by McKinsey & Co, shows that by August, 1 in 8 Minnesotans will face hunger. Allison O’Toole, CEO of Second Harvest Heartland, Dimitrios Smyrnios, CEO of the Schwans Company and David Fiocco, partner at McKinsey & Co. share insights on the food insecurity challenges we are facing and the continued resources needed for sustained relief.
In late May, 28 Minnesota CEOs signed a letter expressing their commitment to addressing racial inequities. In response, leaders from the Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity’s Omicron Boulé offered an action agenda. Dr. David Hamlar Jr. from the University of Minnesota, Chief Diversity Officer Greg Cunningham at U.S. Bank and Chief Inclusion and Diversity Officer Ken Charles at American Airlines walk through the strategies the group outlined.
Note: This is one of several action agendas for leaders to consider.
The CARES Act provides the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) with $1.5 billion to fund projects that prevent, prepare for, and respond to COVID-19. While our region can access these funds, the entire U.S. is eligible, and EDA is expecting the funds to be oversubscribed. We must act quickly as a region if we are to maximize the opportunity. Entities eligible to apply include cities, counties, states, Native American tribes, educational institutions, nonprofits, and subdivisions of states.
Through the Forge North initiative powered by the GREATER MSP Partnership, partners across the Minneapolis-Saint Paul startup and innovation ecosystem set goals for the region, including in the area of racial equity.
The horrific killing of George Floyd moved many of these partners to call for even more immediate action. The Forge North Leadership Council called on the region's startup, tech, and business communities to pledge to take meaningful action that advances racial equity in their organizations across Minneapolis-Saint Paul. In just a few days, nearly 200 leaders have pledged their support for building a more equitable startup and business community.
Today, a broad coalition of Twin Cities counties, chambers of commerce, community development agencies and other partners are announcing Business4Business Minneapolis-Saint Paul (B4B MSP), a regional coalition that aims to build a local support network to help small businesses survive and recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and other challenges facing our small business community.
The B4B MSP coalition will connect small businesses harmed by COVID-19 with local resources from public agencies and private sector partners, including technical and financial assistance to provide immediate relief and boost long-term recovery efforts.
This week the GREATER MSP intel team is reporting on the April jobs report for the MSP region. The significant decline in jobs and an increase in unemployment is record-breaking for the regional economy, but there is a glimmer of hope that the MSP metro’s May report, which has a delayed-release after the U.S. report, will reflect the improvement witnessed at the national level. The U.S. jobs report for May was released on Friday, finding that the economy added 2.5 million jobs and the unemployment rate fell to 13.3%. This is a slight, but welcomed, recovery from April when the U.S. experienced the largest loss of jobs on record, 20.5 million jobs.
While many may have deprioritized, or even forgotten the Census in the cyclone of COVID-19, Minnesota continues to hold the number one spot in national response rates. Still, many communities in our region are undercounted. These historically undercounted groups include people of color, indigenous people, undocumented immigrants, and low-income persons. A complete count is critical because the results of the 2020 Census will affect community funding and congressional representation. To learn more about our region's leadership in responding to the Census and the challenges we face to get a true complete count, read this week's blog.
Projected to be the largest ethnic minority in the state, the Latinx community is facing unique challenges magnified by COVID-19. Minneapolis Council Member Cano shares insights from Ward 9 about how local leaders can help.