VRS_Walz-Flanagan Announce Commissioner for DEED

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Walz-Flanagan Announce Steve Grove as Commissioner of the Department of Employment and Economic Development

Steve Grove, 41, is the founding director of Google’s News Lab, a global division of the company that partners with media companies and startups to drive innovation in the news industry. In that role, he led the development of the Google News Initiative, a $300M commitment from the company to help journalism thrive in the digital age. He has built teams in over a dozen countries and launched partnerships in over 50 countries, including a global technology training effort that trains over 500,000 journalists in person and online every year. Steve also leads Google’s civic engagement work, including the company’s non-partisan voter information and get-out-the-vote outreach efforts. He previously led YouTube's first news and politics team, building a global partnership effort for political candidates, news organizations, nonprofits, and citizen journalists. Steve wrote for The Boston Globe and ABC News prior to joining Google. He has served as an advisor to the White House and State Department on countering violent extremism, and serves on the advisory boards of Witness, a video human rights nonprofit; and Report for America, a nationwide service organization to improve local news. Steve and his wife Mary founded a nonprofit called Silicon North Stars, which helps youth from underserved communities in Minnesota pursue careers in technology.

A native of Northfield, Minnesota, Steve received his Bachelor’s degree from Claremont McKenna College and a Master’s in public policy from the Harvard Kennedy School. In 2018, the Grove moved from Silicon Valley to Minneapolis, Minnesota with their two-year-old twins.

“When looking for a Commissioner of the Department of Employment and Economic Development, I was mindful of finding a leader who understands the values of investing in talent from rural towns to urban neighborhoods, who has experience with the business community, and who is an innovative leader who can guide our state into the economy of the future. Steve Grove is that leader,” said Walz. “I look forward to working with Steve to address our looming workforce shortage and engage all talent available to us by investing in our workforce in communities of color and Greater Minnesota.”

“Steve understands the importance of addressing racial inequity in employment,” said Flanagan.“With a background in business and tech, he is committed to collaborating across sectors to build an economy that works for all Minnesotans – no matter their race or zip code.”

“Minnesota has one of the worst opportunity gaps the nation – and that problem won’t be solved unless we treat it like the emergency it is, working with business to ensure we’re building talent in our workforce across the demographic spectrum to help business thrive in this state,” said Grove. “That’s the vision that Governor-elect Walz and Lt. Governor-elect Flanagan boldly outlined in their One Minnesota campaign, and I’ll work tirelessly with them and the great team they’re assembling to make a reality.”

“Upon meeting Steve, I was struck by his deep devotion to Minnesota students and their educational and professional futures. As a three-year board member of Silicon North Stars, the nonprofit he and his wife founded, I've witnessed his relentless pursuit of creating economic opportunities for Minnesotans,” said Damola Ogundipe, a board member of Silicon North Stars and CEO of Civic Eagle. “I look forward to seeing that same passion and dedication to Minnesotans in his new role as DEED Commissioner.”

Steve Grove will start as Commissioner on January 28. Deputy Commissioner Blake Chaffee will serve as Acting Commissioner until then.