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With an upcoming wave of Baby Boomer retirements expected to explode Minnesota’s skilled workforce shortage from the current 60,000 to north of 200,000 by 2022, it is more critical than ever for business leaders to attract and retain top talent.
In response to the state’s pressing talent needs, TwinWest Chamber of Commerce has launched Opportunity Connect— “a new technology platform to seamlessly connect and support business, education and students/families with career connected learning experiences.”
“If you want to enhance your image as an employer, you must give students a chance to engage with you—and the way to do that is through this platform,” said Twin West Chamber President Shannon Full to American Experiment.
By offering guest instructors, site visits, advising and mentoring, internships, and teacher externships, Opportunity Connect helps employers organize from within to support talent supply development. Interested businesses and individuals create company profiles on the platform to engage with students and educators in-person and virtually.
Student career-based learning experiences include informational interviews, mock/exit interviews, job shadowing, and part-time employment with professional experts in sectors ranging from agriculture, construction and manufacturing to architecture, health science, and business management.
Educators can request classroom guest instructors to help students develop soft skills, workplace preparedness and thinking methods—key skills employers seek that are often missing among job-seekers. Opportunity Connect is also developing a two-week summer externship program for teachers called “Teacher in the Workplace.” Teachers get hands-on experience working with four different area companies within industries such as healthcare, manufacturing, or finance and “learn how to better align coursework with the job and career skills needed in the TwinWest area.”
Because Opportunity Connect creates a network of education and workforce partners, tomorrow’s workforce will be better prepared for skills of the future today. Not only is this beneficial for developing and retaining a skilled K-12 talent pipeline, but it also encourages more employer-led action—a “must” to building the next generation of workers.
A brief demonstration of the Opportunity Connect platform will be held August 22 from 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. at TwinWest’s Plymouth location. Businesses will learn how to set up company and employee profiles (in less than 3 minutes!) and explore each strategy the platform uses to build employer engagement with education and workforce partners.
Visit here to learn how to RSVP and find out more information.