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America’s Leading Scholar and Fan of Apprenticeships

Economist Robert Lerman is one of the nation’s leading authorities on apprenticeships. He’s also one of their strongest advocates. I met him two years ago and then interviewed him two weeks ago at his office at the Urban Institute in Washington for a book I’m writing which has grown out of American Experiment’s “Great Jobs Without a Four-Year Degree” project. Tentatively titled Educational Roads Less Travelled: How America’s Fixation on Four-Year Degrees Limits Careers and Economic Prosperity, I’m guessing an editor somewhere along the way will declare the first part insufficiently frightening and change it. Here are a few of...

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Degree Inflation Pushes Out Skilled Workers

Not all careers require four-year degrees, but many of today’s job listings stipulate a college degree as a minimum education requirement. Researchers at Harvard Business School recently released a study on the increasing tendency of employers to demand bachelor’s degrees for jobs that previously did not require them—referred to as “degree inflation.”...

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Companies deal with pressure to raise wages in Minneapolis

On January 2, Minnesota was featured in a front-page story in the Wall Street Journal headlined “Sluggish Wages See Uptick.” The article described how—in today’s tight labor market—companies like Ultra Machining in Plymouth, Generations Hardwood Flooring in New Brighton and Kurt Manufacturing Co. in Minneapolis are dealing with pressure to raise wages....

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A View on Higher Ed: Results show 2-year degree holders often outearn college-educated peers

This commentary originally appeared December 12, 2017 in the Duluth News Tribune. It’s common wisdom in our society that you’ve got to have a four-year college degree to get ahead. If you don’t, you’re doomed to second-best in life, the thinking goes. This stereotype is based, to a good extent, on the belief that people with a bachelor’s degree can expect to make a lot more money over a lifetime than their peers. They’re sure to have nicer homes, fancier cars, more exotic vacations, and a bigger nest egg for retirement. Right? A new study from the Twin Cities-based Center of the American...

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“Legacy Minnesota” Program Prepares High Schoolers for Careers in Energy Industry

The need for skilled workers in Minnesota is on the rise. Many companies are struggling to find diverse, qualified candidates who have the right knowledge and skills to enter critical workforce positions. As a result, industries are facing significant workforce shortages and are seeing a growing skills gap in their applicants. But an initiative called Legacy Minnesota wants to turn this trend around in the state’s energy industry by preparing underserved high school juniors and seniors from diverse backgrounds in Minneapolis and St. Paul schools to become the future employees that energy companies are looking for....

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How does Deed Determine Effectiveness of Workforce Training Programs?

If Minnesota is to solve its looming workforce talent shortfall, the state’s employers will have to explore new talent pools and push for a higher workforce participation rate. The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) runs or provides funding for more than 70 employment training and placement programs that assist in these efforts. For the 2018 fiscal year, DEED has allocated more than $169 million for these programs, according to a recent MinnPost article. But, as the article notes, “not all these programs, or their outcomes, are equal, which brings up an obvious question: How does DEED measure the programs’...

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