- Associated Press - Tuesday, February 14, 2017

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - A new audit shows there’s more work to be done to diversify Minnesota’s hiring, purchasing and contracting practices.

The audit found the state historically has had strong policies to promote equal opportunities for minorities and other targeted groups. But, underfunding, inadequate staffing and insufficient data are impeding those efforts.

In 2015, about 3 percent of the roughly $2 billion the state awarded in contracts went to businesses owned by someone from a targeted group, the St. Paul Pioneer Press (https://bit.ly/2kONRjb ) reported. The majority of that 3 percent went to businesses owned by women, leaving the rest to business owners of color.

The state also has an incomplete picture of the diversity of its workforce because it doesn’t require Minnesota employees to divulge their ethnicity or race. When they do, people of color are clumped into a single group rather than broken down by their ethnicity or race.

The audit was proposed by state and local chapters of the NAACP and backed last year by Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton.

“I look forward to continuing to work with the group members to review this audit’s findings, and to implement recommendations that will help the state of Minnesota better reflect and serve all who call our state home,” Dayton said in a statement.

Dayton also noted progress his administration has made in its efforts to diversify Minnesota’s workforce. When he took office, 8 percent of Minnesota workers were people of color. Now, 11 percent of the state’s employees include people of color.


Information from: St. Paul Pioneer Press, https://www.twincities.com

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