Senator's scaled-back plan for free college would target worker shortages


A northwestern Minnesota lawmaker has scaled back his plan to ease worker shortages in certain industries by having the state cover tuition at 2-year colleges.

Under DFL Sen. LeRoy Stumpf's revised plan, only a few thousand high school graduates would qualify for free college – and only if they're getting trained in certain high-demand skills.

Supporters of the proposal see it as a way to ease worker shortages that have stifled the growth of some businesses, especially in smaller communities.

But the high cost of Stumpf's original plan seemed to make its chances of legislative approval dim. The Associated Press says prospects for the streamlined proposal are still murky, with its chances of getting a hearing in the House uncertain.

MPR News says the cost of the new plan is estimated to be less than $31 million, which compares to more than $100 million for the original plan.

Stumpf's Senate district includes Thief River Falls. The Wall Street Journal recently used that town to illustrate the phenomenon of "job islands" – isolated communities where there are more jobs than people to fill them.

A shortage of trained workers, the Journal says, is stifling the output of some manufacturers.

Next Up

Screen Shot 2020-11-27 at 6.26.50 PM

Minnesota nurse's story about her battle with COVID-19 goes viral

A month later, Ashley Walter is on a hard road to recovery.

Adam Thielen

Report: Still on COVID-19 list, Thielen not expected to play Sunday

Thielen was placed on the COVID-19/Reserve list on Monday.

Image from iOS (19)

Mask-wearing, distancing a common sight on MOA's Black Friday

Thousands of shoppers were out and about on Black Friday despite the COVID-19 situation.

Tim Walz

Gov. Tim Walz, MDH react to record-setting COVID-19 deaths

Minnesota can expect further bad news over the coming weeks.

covid-19, coronavirus

Record 101 COVID-19 deaths reported in Minnesota

The figures are from Wednesday, with no update provided on Thanksgiving.

Screen Shot 2020-11-27 at 9.29.12 AM

Target reveals its 'Cyber Week' online deals

The sales will run from Nov. 29 to Dec. 5.

Minneapolis police

Mayor Frey, Minneapolis police chief reveal new 'no-knock' policy

The new policy for Minneapolis Police Department was announced Wednesday.

Teddy Bridgewater

Coller: It's a what-if Sunday with Teddy Bridgewater's return

Matthew Coller writes a weekly Vikings column for BMTN, with more of his work found at Purple Insider.

Ambulance hospital emergency

15-month-old girl's death being investigated by police in Fargo

The child died four days after being found unresponsive.