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Continue to Encourage Young People into Trades

Rising interest in skilled technical positions shows efforts to counter the image of manufacturing, construction and similar fields as dirty and dangerous work environments are succeeding. But it is important Minnesota's future plans include further state-wide workforce initiatives to attract and retain the skilled talent our state demands. ...

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Precision Manufacturing’s Precise Challenge

Steve Kalina, a veteran of more than two decades in manufacturing, is the still-new executive director of the Minnesota Precision Manufacturing Association, having started in August.  He’s also (I’m guessing not incidentally) “a veteran of the United States Marines, with two decorated combat tours and many leadership roles.”  His acute remarks at MPMA’s “ManufacturingNext 2018” conference on workforce issues perfectly reinforced themes Center of the American Experiment continues to focus on in our multiyear project, “Great Jobs Without a Four-Year Degree.”  ...

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Construction Career Pathways: “Looking for the road to success? Build it yourself.”

Thanks to Construction Career Pathways (CCP) and its partnering programs, Minnesota’s youth can begin exploring successful career opportunities in construction as early as middle school, develop skills through a registered apprenticeship program in high school, and conclude with a rock-solid career in the building trades. [Photo Source: CCP]...

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TwinWest Chamber of Commerce event connects leaders on talent & workforce issues

Minnesota’s workforce reality requires increased talent recruitment and retention to tackle a worker shortage expected to explode the number of unfilled technical positions from the current 60,000 to 239,000 by the end of 2022. Nearly 300 business leaders, educators, and community members gathered to share strategies and initiatives to meet the state’s short and long-term talent needs at the TwinWest Chamber of Commerce’s Talent Symposium on September 19....

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Jeff Johnson and Tim Walz Share Very Similar Pages Regarding “Great Jobs Without a Four-Year Degree”

One of the more important, if obvious ideas Katherine Kersten, Catrin Thorman, and I have had reinforced in working on “Great Jobs Without a Four-Year Degree” is that if a state is going to make innovative progress in generating the kinds of training opportunities and jobs that enable individuals and businesses to overcome skills gaps and prosper, a governor’s high-profile and enthusiastic support is not just a good idea, it’s essential. ...

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Big Lake Students Explore Apprenticeships During Career Fair

Students at Big Lake Schools were introduced to apprenticeships and other career-focused opportunities through the high school’s annual Youth Apprenticeship Career Fair on September 20. Twenty-nine local businesses, companies and institutions set up booths with materials and hands-on stations to help students explore career possibilities that do not require a traditional four-year degree....

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Nuances of College Debt

As an integral part of American Experiment’s multi-year project, “Great Jobs Without a Four-Year Degree,” my colleagues Katherine Kersten, Catrin Thorman, and I have written a lot about how college debt poses major problems for many young, and not-so-young men and women—and quite often for their parents. What we’ve reported is quite true, though not necessarily as detailed or nuanced as fuller treatments would allow. Let me catch up and add some detail and nuance to the issue by drawing from a book of mine to be published in early 2019, Education Roads Less Traveled: Solving America’s Fixation on Four-Year Degrees,...

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