Gov. Mark Dayton wants small businesses to adopt after-school programs.
In his State of the State address last week, Dayton called on businesses to support the programs through financial contributions, equipment donations or employee volunteer time.
Tom Dooher, the president of the state's teachers union Education Minnesota, said after-school programs can improve student's academic performance and keep them out of trouble.
"When kids have this unscheduled time after school, they get into trouble because they're bored and they're trying to find things to do," he said. "This not only gives them a good learning opportunity but it also has positive impact in the community."
Dooher said budget cuts have ended many after-school programs.
"Where we see the greatest need right now is in the middle schools," he said, "where those students are starting to explore what they want to do for their educational career, what do they want to do for their work career. I think that's the best place to start."
Two years ago, Dayton called on businesses to adopt entire schools but said the new initiative could be a better option for small businesses.