North Star Summit

As we approach 2015 and a new legislative session, we take stock of where we are today. Minnesota stands out as a leader in economic growth nationally.

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Our unemployment rate is just 3.9%. We added 9,500 jobs in October. Our economy is growing and we have emerged from the recession in a comparably strong way. Our future is bright.

On our horizon however, is a challenge that will have a profound effect on how we do business in Minnesota. We are soon to confront the largest demographic shift we have seen in our lifetime; our workforce is aging, our jobs require more specialized education than ever before, and our fastest-growing populations face obstacles in attaining the tools to succeed. Together, these issues pose a significant challenge to the future of our state.

To address this challenge, to channel the energy and investment we need to create opportunity and excellence, we have invited interested parties to join us for a conversation about our future. On Monday, December 8, we will convene the North Star Summit at the Minnesota History Center, who has graciously donated their space for this event.

The Summit is co-sponsored by members of the Minnesota Legislature, the Citizens League, the Minnesota Business Partnership, the Midwest Higher Education Compact, MSPWin, Growth and Justice, the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, the Minnesota Minority Education Partnership, and the Minnesota Office of Higher Education. In addition, we are joined by some of Minnesota’s Higher Education and Workforce experts. Individually, we are all at work on these issues, but, it is our hope, that together we can leverage the power of our shared vision and create a plan that propels us strategically forward.

With invited guests, including College & University Presidents, Regents and Trustees, Administrators, Student Groups, Community Groups, Civic Organizations, Business Leaders, Employers and Political Leaders, the North Star Summit will bring strong voices to the table, all who have a stake in Minnesota’s future.

Our ability to have a rich, productive discussion will be shaped by our shared understanding of the facts as they exist today and forecasted for tomorrow. Following data presentations the conversation will be led by an admired colleague of mine, Nate Garvis of Studio E, who will help us explore possibilities against the backdrop of a blank canvas. Nate refers to this type of exploration as “design thinking.”

Finally, there will be a facilitated discussion using technology tools to build a group consensus around goals and objectives that can become the foundation for a strategic plan.

After this event, we will present our framework as a work in progress. Please follow this conversation and take part in shaping this new frontier so that our next generation has the opportunity to access the training and education that allows them to deliver on their promise.  If each and every Minnesotan contributes to their ability, collectively we prosper. Without reaching for the Stars how can we soar?

Senator Terri Bonoff
Terri Bonoff represents District 44, which includes portions of Minnetonka, Plymouth and Woodland in Hennepin County in the Twin Cities metropolitan area. She chairs the Higher Education and Workforce Development Committee.

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