The MN PIPELINE Project is a new approach to the education and training of our youth. This dual education program provides resources for students as they work toward earning postsecondary credentials while gaining invaluable on-the-job training. Under the program, competency standards will be developed for a particular occupation, at which point grant dollars will be made available to employers who partner with higher education institutions for educating and training purposes.
Minnesota leads the nation in demand for highly-skilled workers. Many of Minnesota’s leading industries are struggling to find employees with the skills they need for highly technical, hands-on jobs. The skills gap in our state is real and growing. Industry leaders from four sectors in particular have called for more robust education and training programs: advanced manufacturing, health care services, information technology, and agriculture have all demonstrated a real need for more highly skilled workers in their field.
The “Earn While You Learn” workforce development initiative seeks to expand dual education opportunities through a public-private partnership, allowing Minnesota companies to invest in and develop the talent that our economy needs to grow. Joining a growing number of states who have adopted similar models, enacting this legislation would make Minnesota a national leader by developing a statewide program that allows any industry operating in Minnesota to develop competency standards in coordination with the Commissioner’s Office of the Department of Labor & Industry.
Minnesota has the opportunity to expand and thrive well into the 21st century; reducing the need for student loans and ensuring businesses get the skilled workers they need supports Minnesota’s industries, students, and families alike. (S.F. 5)