Gov. Walz signs new executive order to help students in critical care sectors

Monday, Gov. Tim Walz signed executive order 20-52, allowing students in critical care sectors to attend classes for needed in-person training or testing in order to graduate.

According to the Governor's Office, the executive order will fill workforce shortages by accelerating entry into critical sectors for up to 1,000 students that will serve Minnesota's most vulnerable populations. At Pine Technical and Community College, there are more than 30 students in the Certified Nursing Assistant program who will be able to quickly begin caring for patients at long-term care facilities after taking a final in-person exam to earn their degree.

“We are committed to providing high-quality care for Minnesota’s most vulnerable communities,” said Walz. “This Executive Order will help fill workforce shortages in critical sectors across Minnesota by creating a path for additional trained, licensed employees in sectors that are critical to protecting Minnesotans’ health, safety, and well-being.”

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The higher education institutions opening instruction to students must have plans in place for proper hygiene and distancing standards before beginning on-site programming, according to the new executive order. All other instruction will continue through distance learning.

“On behalf of our students enrolled in career and technical programs throughout the state of Minnesota who have had to put their face-to-face learning on hold, and the employers who are waiting to hire them, I thank the Governor for making this decision,” said Devinder Malhotra, chancellor of Minnesota State.  “As we conduct these technical skill classes, be assured that our presidents, faculty, and staff are working with the Minnesota Department of Health to make certain they adhere to all health and safety protocols warranted by the pandemic to ensure a safe learning environment.”