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Innovative Dunwoody program helping women and minorities find great jobs

Minnesota’s shortage of skilled workers is causing employers in many fields to scramble to find new sources of talent, including women and minorities. Dunwoody College of Technology is a great place to look. Female and minority students now make up 14 percent and 19 percent, respectively, of Dunwoody’s student body. The college’s Youth Career Awareness Program (YCAP) has played a central role in attracting these young people to technical occupations of a kind many haven’t traditionally sought out. Recently, the Star Tribune’s Neal St. Anthony profiled Dunwoody’s YCAP Program, which was named after the late Leon Rankin, a 1960s Dunwoody grad and one...

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Kersten gets message out that terrific careers don’t require a costly four-year degree: Op-ed reaches 28 community newspapers

The Center’s Great Jobs project aims, above all, to get the message to young people and parents that many terrific careers don’t require a costly four-year college degree. In recent weeks, 28 suburban and exurban newspapers have run an op-ed by Katherine Kersten that makes that point concisely. Katherine points out that many families would likely approach their teenagers’ post-secondary planning differently if they knew two key facts: Here’s the first: about 49 percent of young Minnesotans enter a four-year college after high school, but only 22 percent of jobs in our state require a bachelor’s degree or more. In other words, there...

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AchieveMpls helps students find great jobs that don’t require a four-year degree

Lots of Minnesota companies are looking high and low for skilled welders. They have an ally in AchieveMpls. The mission of AchieveMpls—the strategic non-profit partner of the Minneapolis Public Schools—is to ensure the district’s graduates are ready to pursue their best career and post-secondary options. When a student shows an interest in an occupation like welding, its staff connects him or her with professionals in the field, and then assists the student in identifying—and applying to—the optimal training program. In the past, the emphasis has been on getting a two or four-year college degree. But in 2016, AchieveMpls launched an innovative program...

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Great Jobs and a Perfectly Fitting Story

Do you recall the old line about someone looking like “he came from central casting”?  About a person who appears, not merely to be a good fit for a job or expectation, but a perfect fit?  As a metaphor, the adage may be a stretch in describing the connection between a Page One story in the Star Tribune on Wednesday (July 6) and a major American Experiment project, but maybe not. The story was “Shortage of Skilled Workers Squeezing Twin Cities Builders.”  The project is “Great Jobs Without a Four-Year Degree: Good News for Students, Parents, and Employers.”  With the two...

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Educational and Career Advice and a Barely Changing Score

In the grand scheme of things – and even in much smaller schemes – two decades are not much more than a blip.  So, I don’t want to read too much into an article, published in 1997, that makes many of the same points about how young people choose between four-year colleges and other postsecondary institutions, aided and perhaps pressured by their parents, as does American Experiment’s current multi-year project, Great Jobs Without a Four-Year Degree: Good News for Students, Parents, and Employers.  Still, the consistency is interesting. The article, “The Gatekeepers,” was written by Kenneth Gray, a professor of education...

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Good News about Apprenticeships

President Trump signed an executive order last Thursday (June 15) significantly reducing federal oversight of apprenticeship programs that receive federal funds.  Good and good.  Or more precisely, less regulation will lead more businesses, unions, schools, and postsecondary institutions to participate in such programs.  And overwhelmingly they will do so responsibly, fiscally and in other ways, even with governmental officials demanding less paperwork than usual. One name that has come up frequently has been that of economist Robert I. Lerman, who has studied apprenticeships more insightfully, and advocated them more energetically, than any scholar I know.  In a 2013 paper, “Skill Development...

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What’s CTE? And It Increased High School Graduation Rates by HOW Much?

If I had to guess, there is a general sense among adults in general that high schools in Minnesota and elsewhere around the country currently offer many fewer shop classes then they used to.  They’re right if they think that. If I had to guess a second time, I would say people in general are less familiar with the rise of something called “Career and Technical Education,” which might be thought of as encompassing – and significantly adding to – the aims of old-time shop classes. My own aim here is to report on an important 2016 study that found, among other...

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