In honor of Earth Day, Sen. Tina Smith (D-MN) joined LIUNA Minnesota, Conservation Minnesota, and the BlueGreen Alliance for a tour of the Laborers Training Center in Lino Lakes. The group toured the facility’s pipe, construction, and environmental bays, where workers prepare for jobs in clean energy and infrastructure.
“Minnesotans are ready to lead into the clean economy, we’ve seen that today and we’ve known it for ages,” said Sen. Smith. “The investments included in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law that we passed last year, and in the budget reconciliation package I am fighting for in the Senate every day, will create good jobs here in Minnesota and create a more sustainable economy and a healthier environment.”
A press conference following the tour featured Sen. Smith and speakers from the LIUNA, the training center, Conservation Minnesota, and the BlueGreen Alliance. The event focused on ramping up workforce development and training for both traditional infrastructure investments from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) passed by Congress last year, and for clean energy investments proposed in a budget reconciliation package still being debated in the Senate.
“Our members build and fix our roads, bridges, transit, energy, drinking water and wastewater infrastructure, and buildings to provide a high quality of life for our friends and neighbors,” said Dan Olson, International Representative of LIUNA and Business Manager of LIUNA Local 1091. “More than 3,000 of our members contacted their members of Congress to pass the bipartisan infrastructure law. Thank you, Senator Smith, for voting to get the job done.”
“Our team is proud to operate the largest apprenticeship program in the state. We just finished an expansion that will nearly double the size of our campus,” said Dean Mills, Director of Training and Apprenticeship at the Laborers Training Center. “Federal infrastructure funding will boost our efforts to expand career opportunities to more women, people of color, and veterans who desire skills and safety training in the construction industry.”
“I cannot think of a better day than Earth Day to tour this facility,” said Paul Austin, Executive Director of Conservation Minnesota. “The investments in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and those proposed in the budget reconciliation bill are critical to the fight against climate change. We thank Sen. Smith for her leadership on both bills and hope to see a strong reconciliation package cross the finish line soon.”
“The historic investments included in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law were a great start. We thank Senator Smith for her support of that bill and the important funding and programs it contained—like funding to replace the lead pipes that have poisoned communities nationwide for far too long,” said Bree Halverson, Midwest States Director for the BlueGreen Alliance. “ And we have more work to do. We need Congress to pass a strong budget reconciliation bill that not only makes robust investments in clean energy, but works to ensure that the jobs created are good, family-sustaining, union jobs.”