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Lego Building Competition Introduces Students to Construction Careers

Equipped with 100 Lego blocks and some string, foil, and paper, elementary school students in Rochester, Minnesota recently participated in a national building block competition called the “Block Kids Building Program,” sponsored by the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) Chapter 346 in Rochester. The program “introduces children to the construction industry in an effort to create awareness and promote careers in the industry.” Students also learn the trade industry is meant for both men and women. ...

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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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