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Community forum at CLC looks to the future

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news Brainerd, 56401
Brainerd MN 506 James St. / PO Box 974 56401

Minnesota’s changing demographics and implications for jobs, education and the economy, will be topics at a human rights community forum at Central Lakes College, Brainerd.

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Kevin Lindsey, Minnesota commissioner of Human Rights, is a scheduled presenter for the Oct. 25 forum. The event begins with a presentation from 10-11 a.m. in the Chalberg Theater and is followed from 11 a.m. to noon by a community dialogue.

Minnesota’s demographics have changed dramatically during the past decade, and this trend will accelerate in the years ahead, CLC reported. As predominantly white workers of the “baby boom” generation retire in increasing numbers, the share of people of color in the workforce is expected to more than double.

“Minnesota will not have the highly skilled workers it will need in 2020 and beyond unless we find ways to include more minorities in the workforce today, and provide training and education for the workforce of tomorrow,” CLC reported. Commissioner Lindsey plans to explain why Gov. Dayton’s initiatives in education are important, and discuss the efforts of the Department of Human Rights, working in collaboration with other partners, to ensure that all Minnesotans have a chance to compete for job opportunities as the economy regains strength.

“This is not only a human rights issue; it is an economic issue in which all Minnesotans have a vital stake,” CLC reported.

In the November 2012 election, Minnesota’s voters will be asked to decide on two major Constitutional amendments: one would require that all voters produce a photo ID at the polls; the other would limit the status of marriage to opposite sex couples, by inserting into the state’s Constitution a definition of marriage as solely between one man and one woman. Both issues continue to illicit strong options and intense political activism from advocates on both sides. Whatever voters decide in November, it is unlikely the debate over these issues will be over. Lindsey will explore both amendments, analyze the arguments pro and con and discuss why they are likely to remain controversial — and why the debate matters for democracy.

Lindsey will give a presentation on these issues. In addition, the commissioner will provide an overview of the Department of Human Rights’ work to end discrimination and address economic and other disparities.

The main topics may be presented by the commissioner only, or explored as part of a panel discussion featuring one or more additional speakers with a variety of viewpoints.

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