ST. CLOUD -- A change in federal immigration policy is needed to help get more people into the Minnesota workforce, according to the president of the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce.

We don't have a workable legal immigration system that meets the needs of the marketplace.  Just speaking of the students that come to your university system here, many times they can't find that work visa to follow up from their student visas.  That's a loss for Minnesota.  We train up the talent, we get them used to Minnesota, and we send them on their way because our system can't accommodate them.

Doug Loon says more people also need to join the workforce in order to keep businesses, and the economy, growing. He says the workforce participation rate is at 68.1 percent, which is still lower than before the pandemic.

We've actually seen a small decline in that, we roughly have about 100,000 Minnesotans who have not come back to the workforce post-pandemic. So pre-pandemic we had a larger workforce in Minnesota.

Loon says those 100,000 people aren't on unemployment, they are just choosing not to work.

These are folks that are on the sidelines of our economy, we feel they should be attracted back to the workplace because we need workers to grow our economy.

Loon also says Minnesota needs to attract workers from around the country in order to start filling open positions.

Doug Loon was on the News @ Noon Show on WJON on Wednesday afternoon.

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