Mayor Rybak focuses on Minneapolis’ economy in his State of the City Address

In his annual State of the City Address on March 25, Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak unveiled an aggressive economic plan to put more people to work, grow local businesses, tap global markets in China, and revitalize the City's housing market. Beyond a plan for economic recovery, Mayor Rybak called for residents and businesses to reinvent themselves for a new economy.

In his address, Mayor Rybak said that Minneapolis has been able to meet the demands of this tough economic reality because of the strong foundations in place in the city. He cited the training and placement of dislocated workers, the steady growth of the biomedical device industry in the area, targeted loans for business development and the influx of federal funds to acquire, redevelop and resell homes in the areas hit hardest by foreclosure. Mayor Rybak added that Minneapolis continues to maintain an unemployment rate lower than the rest of the metro and national unemployment rates.

Mayor Rybak laid out a series of initiatives to continue strengthening the Minneapolis regional economy using five overarching strategies: investing in people, home-growing local businesses, reaching globally, incubating innovation, and building stronger partnerships. New initiatives included:

  • Create a Green Jobs Institute to train and place workers into new green jobs. The City is working with Minneapolis Community and Technical College, Dunwoody College, and Summit Academy to develop a training curriculum with the Center for Energy and the Environment for three growing green job areas: home weatherization, energy audits and green buildings.
  • Launch the Homegrown Minneapolis initiative to build the market for locally grown, healthy, and environmentally sustainable food by working with farmers markets, community and backyard gardens, small enterprise urban agriculture, and grocery stores.
  • Leverage international business relationships with countries like China to open up new markets for Minneapolis-based companies around the world. Towards this end, Mayor Rybak announced that he is going to China in May to speak at the International Forum on Development of High-Tech Enterprises. While there, he will work to foster business relationships to secure future business for Minneapolis-based companies, and to position Minneapolis as a destination for leisure travel and technical study.
  • Convene an economic roundtable with leaders in business, labor, education, and the civic community to address how to best to position Minneapolis and region for immediate economic recovery and long term future growth.

The State of the City address will be rebroadcast on City Cable Channel 14 beginning on Thursday, March 26 at 8 p.m. with replays on Sundays at 1 p.m., Mondays at 9 a.m., and Thursdays at 8 p.m. through the end of April.

March 25, 2009

Published Mar. 23, 2009