Investing in training and education provides a strong workforce

A report recently released by the Governor’s Workforce Development Council, “All Hands on Deck,” estimates that by 2018, 70 percent of jobs in Minnesota will require education beyond high school. State Sen. Sandy Pappas, DFL-St. Paul, noted that now more than ever we need to invest in education to provide our state with a strong workforce.

“The key to Minnesota’s economic competitiveness, both nationwide and worldwide, is an educated, highly skilled workforce,” said Sen. Pappas, DFL lead on the Senate Higher Education Committee. “Minnesota is currently ranked third in the nation for the percentage of 25 to 34 year olds that have earned an associate degree or higher (48 percent), but we fall well short of the 70 percent needed to remain competitive.”

To meet our increasing demand for skilled workers, the Governor’s Workforce Development Council (www.gwdc.org) worked with hundreds of stakeholders across the state over the course of a year to develop recommendations to improve Minnesota’s education and training system. The council developed 16 recommendations for the Legislature that will strengthen Minnesota’s workforce. Some of their recommendations include:

· Setting goals and developing plans for increasing adult credential attainment;

· Reducing cost barriers to postsecondary education and credential attainment;

· Ensuring that Minnesota’s workforce development system has the capacity to handle the state’s looming demographic and economic shifts;

· Developing a state plan to extend the work life of aging workers;

· Ensuring that Minnesota’s Workforce Centers and the services they provide are accessible and usable by people with disabilities;

· Increasing opportunities for students to pursue postsecondary credit while in high school;

· Strengthening assessments and supports to identify off-track students and bring them back on track; and

· Encouraging schools and districts to take innovative, comprehensive approaches to preparing students.

With the highly-educated baby boomer generation quickly approaching retirement age, employers will begin to see a worker shortage, particularly in occupations requiring higher levels of skill. By creating a quality workforce development system, Minnesota can attract businesses looking for skilled workers.

“Numerous studies have shown that the monetary benefits from increased tax receipts, increased productivity, and reduced reliance on public assistance far outweigh the public costs of investing in workforce education and training programs,” said Sen. Pappas. “It’s up to the Legislature now to process these recommendations and incorporate them into legislation to ensure that Minnesota has a competitive workforce for years to come.”

For more information, Sen. Pappas may be contacted at 651-296-1802, sen.sandy.pappas@senate.mn, or 143 State Office Building, St. Paul, MN 55155.

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Senator Sandy Pappas
Sandy Pappas represents District 65, which includes portions of Saint Paul in Ramsey County in the Twin Cities metropolitan area.

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