Latest Posts

Home

Facebook

Twitter

Search
About

Minnesota Needs to Address Labor Shortage in Education Curricula

Why do most schools around the country have a three-month break every summer? The nine-month school year was adopted over a century ago, so children could work on the farms during prime harvesting months. This is an example of the public education system adapting to the economy. The top priority for any public education system should be preparing the students to be productive members of society, including preparing them to join the labor force.

Currently, one of the top issues with the Minnesota economy is a labor shortage. Not just any labor, but high skilled labor in technical fields that require trade degrees and apprenticeships rather than four-year degrees. The shortage today will only grow over the next few years as a growing share of the baby boomer generation begins retiring.

It is time for Minnesota Public Schools to adapt to the economy and increase outreach and opportunities for such programs. Efforts by schools to increase opportunities for students have been well documented, but not widespread enough to get the change required.

Most schools have added courses to address these needs, but many schools are not doing enough to actually promote these programs or attack the stigma they come with. Many students who are perfectly suited for an apprenticeship may never seriously consider it if he or she only hears from people promoting the four-year path.

This is a problem that is impacting both the metro area and Greater Minnesota. In the metro area, Minnesota’s well-trained labor force has attracted large businesses to conduct operations here, but many top firms are considering relocating due to labor market shortages.

Southeast Minnesota has 9,000 vacant jobs according to the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development. Many of which are in fields like “carpentry, construction, plumbing, electricity, and more.” These jobs are especially important because when an economy’s infrastructure is outdated, all business suffers.

Some companies are actively working to ensure they can get the talent they need. 3M invested $1.5 million in the St. Paul School District to stimulate science and engineering programs, as well as summer programs and giving kids access to mentors. 3M is hoping such efforts will ensure graduating students keep them in mind when considering career paths.

School officials shouldn’t view making such changes as a burden. Nearly everyone will benefit from an improvement in the labor force matching efficiency. Businesses will be able to hire the workers they need to maintain operations. Young people will benefit from the increased opportunities, and those who take these paths will get access to high paying jobs without high debt. Young students who pursue four-year degrees will benefit from less competition in their fields upon graduation. The improved economy means more tax dollars for state and local governments. Superintendents and principals that successfully implement these programs will be highly valued and could be offered raises or positions at other schools.

A society must constantly adapt to changing conditions. The private sector does this through profit and loss motives, but when the government controls parts of the economy, they tend to be slower. Even so, efforts must be made to speed up the process of addressing the labor market shortage by increasing access and outreach to apprenticeships, trade professions, and other skilled labor jobs outside of the traditional college path.

Andrew Scattergood is a summer intern with the Center, a senior finance major at the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management, and a graduate of Wayzata High School.

Comments

Subscribe

Categories

Upcoming Events

  • 2019 Annual Dinner Featuring Candace Owens

    Location: Hilton Minneapolis 1001 South Marquette Avenue Minneapolis, MN 55403

    From Brexit to Blexit… Britain’s exit from the European Union has not been smooth sailing. Since the leave date has been pushed back to October, Nigel Farage is now running for a seat in the European Parliament. That election date is May 23 which has forced him to cancel all American speaking engagements, including our Annual Dinner. Center of the American Experiment is pleased to announce that Candace Owens, the founder of the Blexit movement and host of The Candace Owens Show, will now be presenting the keynote address at our 2019 Annual Dinner on May 18. We are excited…

    Register Now
  • The Diversity Delusion

    Location: Hilton Minneapolis 1001 South Marquette Avenue Minneapolis, MN 55403

    Please join Center of the American Experiment on Wednesday, April 24th at the Hilton Hotel for a lunch forum with Heather Mac Donald as she discusses her new book, The Diversity Delusion: How Race and Gender Pandering Corrupt the University and Undermine Our Culture.  Heather Mac Donald is the Thomas W. Smith Fellow at the Manhattan Institute, a contributing editor of City Journal, and a New York Times bestselling author. She is a recipient of the 2005 Bradley Prize. Mac Donald’s work at City Journal has covered a range of topics, including higher education, immigration, policing, homelessness and homeless advocacy, criminal-justice reform, and race…

    Register Now