ROCHESTER, Minn. - Current US Representative and gubernatorial candidate Tim Walz made his way through southern Minnesota Tuesday.
One of his stops was Rochester Community and Technican College.
Walz has a teaching background and spoke with educators about issues they're seeing in their classrooms and how funding can make all the difference.
RCTC offers several majors and programs for students. One that's growing is nursing. There's a simulation lab on campus that offers students hands-on opportunities to learn and refine skills.
Walz hears from educators that declining budgets can make it challenging to put good teachers in classrooms.
He sees it as the governor's role to make sure students are getting everything they need in order to be prepared for the workforce.
"My job is to articulate to them [the public] what are your tax dollars going into, what are we investing in, are we getting the bang for the buck? And I can tell you, spend a little time here and the answer is yes," Walz said. "These folks are doing what we need them to do."
Not only did he discuss how funding can make a difference in education, but also upcoming challenges higher education could face with a more diverse workforce.
Walz cited this statistic: over the next 25 years, 70-percent of employees in Minnesota are going to come from communities of color.
He said because of that, it's going to be a priority to educate and train people for the workforce at places like RCTC.
The governor-hopeful sees the classroom as the starting point.
"If we do a really great job of educating our children in this state, mainly those children of the majority - the white students," Walz said, "we have a problem with you know black, brown, indigenous students closing that and there are research out there to show how we do that and we're seeing successes."
He said it starts with hiring teachers who are culturally competent.
Walz is running to become the next governor of Minnesota. Other candidates for that office include Jeff Johnson who has the Republican endorsement, Erin Murphy who was the DFL endorsement, former governor Tim Pawlenty, Lori Swanson, Ole Savior, and Chris Wright.