Let others debate whether or not last year’s $787 billion economic stimulus package is creating jobs. Congressman Keith Ellison is announcing Wednesday that Minneapolis will get $4 million to train people in low-income areas to work in the energy efficiency and renewable energy industries.
Another $3 million is going to the White Earth Band of Chippewa.
The grants from the Department of Labor comes on top of $5 million that was awarded last week to the Blue-Green Alliance Foundation, a group that has been pushing for the job-creating potential of the new “green” economy.
Ellison says the grant empowers disadvantaged communities and helps with critical investment in green technologies, such as weatherizing homes – “something many families badly need for the frigid winters in Minnesota.”
The grant program, called the Green Jobs Pathways Out of Poverty, is being announced with Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis.
The announcement comes on the heels of a Council of Economic Advisors report indicating that some $263 billion – about a third of the stimulus package – went out the door in 2009 as either project money, government aid, or tax cuts.
Republicans point to the continuing 10 percent unemployment rate. But the council estimates that the stimulus spending added 3-4 percentage points of real GDP growth in the final quarter of 2009, creating nearly 2 million jobs that otherwise wouldn't exist.
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State Auditor Rebecca Otto, whose office audits 59 of 87 Minnesota counties among other responsibilities, said a technical glitch in the state government finance bill that passed in the final hours of the legislative session could leave those counties without any auditing.