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Dear Educated Women, Blue-Collar Men Can Earn Great Livings

It’s worth remembering, if you’re looking for a husband or partner. This commentary appeared at NationalReview.com on January 17, 2019. The U.S economy is aching for many more highly skilled, technically trained people. But what if men end up limiting their eventual marriage prospects if they pursue careers in the trades or other jobs that don’t require a four-year degree? Some proportion of women who have bachelor’s and post-baccalaureate degrees avoid romantic involvements with such guys, holding out for those with B.A.s, M.B.A.s, or J.D.s. Which is to say, they seek potential husbands who have degrees that are more generally esteemed than...

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SAY WHAT? American Experiment’s Greater Minnesota Advisory Board will tap into can-do attitudes on policy initiatives.

This column, by American Experiment Chairman Ron Eibensteiner, appears in the new Winter 2019 Issue of Thinking Minnesota. All the political talk about “Two Minnesotas” in this past campaign season inspired me to think long and hard about what exactly that means—and what we at the Center can do about it. To me, the first Minnesota consists of a political aristocracy, mostly urban, totally liberal, a political nobility composed of unionists, academics, social engineers and media whose attitude about governance can be summed up in three words: “We know better. Forget the real-world costs of coping with our lofty policies.” The other...

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Ideas for improving the lot of American workers (open minds requested)

A new book sounds at times like the stuff of a Democratic caucus, at others like grist for a GOP one. Either way, it sure makes you think.  This op-ed appeared in the Star Tribune on January 7, 2019. Most everyone has heard about leaving your anger at the door. For the discussion that follows about a new book by Oren Cass, “The Once and Future Worker: A Vision for the Renewal of Work in America,” you may want to leave ideology behind, too. A senior fellow at the conservative-leaning Manhattan Institute, Cass writes from the right. But his ideas about the right...

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Turning Away Business

In a front-page story in the Star Tribune, “Help Wanted: Homebuilders Need Workers” (December 27), reporter Jim Buchta opened by noting how the “labor crunch is hitting home in the Twin Cities.” A short while later Buchta quotes the executive director of Housing First Minnesota, David Siegel, who says meeting Gov. Mark Dayton’s goal of 300,000 new homes of all kinds in the next decade “will be exceptionally difficult if we don’t address this labor shortage.” This is abundantly true....

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“Labor Day Project” Helps Employers Rethink Recruitment Efforts

Minnesota’s accelerating talent shortage has created a mismatch in our labor market. Employers are desperate for skilled workers but are struggling to find and retain talent. Why? Why are these well-paying, very-little-debt-incurring career paths going unfilled? Dave Zdon and Dan Nyberg decided to find out for themselves. After learning about the skilled labor shortage while creating LEAN Construction training, and discussing the shortage on Labor Day in 2017, the Labor Day Project was created....

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What About More Experienced Workers in Transition?

“Great Jobs Without a Four-Year Degree” has focused on young men and women, roughly between their high school years and late 20s.  This emphasis will continue.  But there is no inherent reason why many of the ideas undergirding the project, as well as benefits accruing from it, aren’t also applicable to many older men and women, in their 30s, 40s, and 50s.  I’m thinking mainly of men and women who might be thought of as in “transition,” be reasons voluntary or not. ...

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Uponor wows urban students with plastic pipe manufacturing

Like most manufacturers, the Uponor company in Apple Valley is confronting a skilled labor shortage. In October, the company—which is engaged in plastic pipe manufacturing—tackled this challenge in an exciting experiment that already seems to be paying dividends. As part of its ongoing effort to inform young people about careers in skilled manufacturing, Uponor has routinely opened its doors to students from local schools....

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