Earlier this year, Shane McAllister grew worried when his 9-month-old son, Andrew, developed a 102-degree fever. Shane is a Minnesota doctor, but even with his medical training, he was surprised to see his son quickly lose his cheerful energy and spirit. It scared him, so he rushed Andrew to the emergency room. It didn't take doctors long to diagnose Andrew with a severe case of the flu. Thankfully, treatment returned the little boy to his normal self within a few days.
When firefighters like Jeff Laskowske from Albert Lea arrive at a fire, they are fully aware of the dangers they face from the flames and smoke. But Jeff, and millions of other firefighters like him, are exposing themselves to another deadly risk each time they show up to work: cancer.
It's no secret that our workforce is one of our state's greatest assets. Minnesota is home to some of the best educated, hardest working people in the country. We have the numbers to back that up. As of October, the unemployment rate here was just 3.3 percent, well below the national average. When U.S. News named Minnesota the third best state to live in earlier this year, they cited our outstanding labor force participation. And last year, employment in Minnesota grew at a faster rate than in any of our neighboring states.