DULUTH, MN -- Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development is working toward building back the state's economy after the pandemic.
DEED Commissioner Steve Grove spent Friday morning in Duluth learning about business owner's struggles.
"It's been a very strange and tumultuous 18 months in Minnesota," said Grove. "And Duluth took a big hit early with the seasonal economy that's up here."
Restaurant owners, hospital officials, workforce experts, and more attended the round table discussion.
Many of them, including the Duluth Chamber of Commerce's President Matt Baumgartner, said businesses have similar struggles across industries.
"We have challenges with the workforce, we have challenges with mental health," he said. "And people experiencing homelessness, we have challenges around child care and housing."
Business owners say these challenges all create roadblocks for residents when heading back to work.
While some industries are seeing consumers come in ready to spend dollars, it's coming at a cost.
"It comes incredible demand and strain on our limited supply," said Baumgartner. "This workforce shortage is hurting our hotel and restaurant industry."
DEED hopes to take the feedback from Twin Ports businesses and expand the resources they can provide.
"We have to make this economy that works for everyone," adds Grove. "We want to make sure that our comeback from COVID makes things more equal."
The department received roughly $285 million from the legislative sessions, which they plan to use toward grant and loan opportunities and child care support.
The department will also receive another $75 million from the American Rescue Plan Act.
DEED officials say the struggles Duluth area businesses are seeing are common across the state.