Former Google executive Steve Grove was asked constantly why he wanted to leave sunny Silicon Valley for Minnesota. The Northfield native told a group of IT professionals in Minneapolis last year that it was an easy decision. Silicon Valley, he said, operates in a bubble and doesn't interact with the outside world.
"I really believe the future of the American economy is going to depend on people using technology to create better equality and better outcomes for everyone," he said, "and Minnesota is really well poised, I think, to lead that future."
In January, Governor Tim Walz selected Grove to head the Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED). Grove is vocal about developing more technology jobs in Minnesota and encouraging entrepreneurs to start their businesses here. Other things on Grove's mind are paid family leave, which he said "saved his life" when he was at Google, and the opportunity gap for Minnesotans of color.
Commissioner Grove spoke with MPR News host Angela Davis about how these issues impact Minnesota workers and the state's overall economy.
To listen to the full conversation you can use the audio player above.