Minnesota lawmakers tour Albert Lea business

ALBERT LEA, Minn. – Minnesota House Speaker, Paul Thissen and State Representative, Shannon Savick spent the morning touring a local business.

Their focus is on a new piece of legislation, that aims to help women in business.

Jean Eaton runs her own kitchen planning and remodeling business in Albert Lea. It’s called Granicrete Minnesota, and it’s where Thissen and Savick spent their morning.

Eaton’s business distributes Granicrete products. It’s an overlay that is applied directly onto existing counter tops and floors. Her company also trains installers on how to use the products.

She believes her company offers women a unique opportunity to be able to work in a non-traditional career that offers them the same opportunities and same pay as men.

“We’ve trained about 27 of about 300 so far, so about 8-10% of our installer base are females. Most often, they add this to an existing business, or they start their own,” explains Eaton.

Just this past legislative session in Minnesota, the Women’s Economic Security Act was passed, which aims to close the gender pay gap, strengthen workplace protections for pregnant mothers and expand employment opportunities.

But, there are still some concerns that women in the workplace have, and Thissen says they plan to do more work on the act in 2015.

“We have the third highest child care costs in the country in Minnesota, and there’s also access issues in certain parts of Minnesota. That will be one of the pieces of the Women’s Economic Security Act we didn’t get accomplished last year,” says Thissen.

“I’m hoping that today’s visit will give Paul and Shannon a better understanding of the needs of the working women in Non-traditional careers,” adds Eaton.

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