On Campus Blog

Rosenstone: MnSCU will survey MN industry needs this spring

Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) system chancellor Steven Rosenstone has announced the start of the statewide jobs-skills survey he has talked about in weeks past.

MnSCU, along with the state Chamber of Commerce and Minnesota Department of Employment, is  performing a joint "Workforce Assessment" to analyze the "state's skills gap."

(I've posted on some doubts about the existence of a skills gap, but I understand MnSCU's drive to take on the training assignment. What follows is info I've gotten from the system's press release. I'll add info as today's board meeting puts it out.)

MnSCU will set up more than 40 listening sessions with employers statewide to "get a better understanding of their current and future workforce needs." It'll use that information to get its education and training programs more in sync with what the state's industries are asking for.

The initial assessment, which begins next month, will look at health care, information technology, manufacturing, engineering, energy and transportation.

MnSCU will take a look at agriculture in June and July, and will look at other sectors (such as financial services) in the fall.

Update: Here's the full press release:

Update: Plus some details on what will be in the survey (in bold):

Statewide Effort to Result in Precise Projections

of Minnesota’s Workforce Needs


            ST. PAUL, Minn., March 21, 2012 – Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU), the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce and the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) announced today a joint “Workforce Assessment” initiative to address the state’s growing skills gap.   The Workforce Assessment will begin in April and engage Minnesota companies in developing precise projections of how many workers and professionals, with what kinds of skills, will be needed in which regions of the state, for what kinds of jobs.

More than 40 listening sessions throughout the state are planned with Minnesota employers to gain a better understanding of their current and future workforce needs.

The data gathered from the Workforce Assessment sessions will be used by MnSCU to align its certificates and degrees, worker retraining and customized training programs with the needs of Minnesota business and industry.

Industry sectors included in the initial assessment beginning in April include:

·         Healthcare

·         Information Technology

·         Manufacturing

·         Engineering

·         Energy

·         Transportation

Workforce Assessment sessions for the agriculture sector are planned for June and July.  Sessions for additional sectors, including financial services and insurance and others, are being planned for this fall.

Business and industry representatives are encouraged to register for one of the Workforce Assessment sessions by visiting http://mnworkforceneeds.eventbrite.com.  The website includes the dates, times and locations for each gathering along with other details.  There is no cost to attend the meetings.

Local chambers of commerce and economic development organizations, the Minnesota Initiatives foundations and other groups are participating with MnSCU, DEED and the Minnesota Chamber in this coordinated effort.

“Minnesota has an immediate and growing skills gap that constrains the state’s economic growth, increases unemployment and limits opportunities for both businesses and individuals,” said Mark Phillips, commissioner, Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development.  “Minnesota businesses’ need for skilled and credentialed workers is greater than all but one other state and the District of Columbia.  By 2018, 70 percent of all jobs in the state will require some postsecondary education beyond high school.”

“Companies across Minnesota indicate that while many good jobs are available, there is a shortage of people with the needed skills and education to do these jobs,” said David Olson, president, Minnesota Chamber of Commerce.  “We are pleased to be working with MnSCU and DEED to determine what skills employers are looking for so they can align their curriculum and programs to better meet those needs.  Minnesota has a huge opportunity to become ‘the skilled workforce state’ and these listening sessions are an important first step.  Assuming we are successful, this approach will ensure that Minnesota businesses have the workforce they need for today’s jobs and the jobs of the future.”

“By listening to Minnesota employers, we can obtain a greater, much more precise understanding of the state’s workforce needs,” said Steven Rosenstone, chancellor, Minnesota State Colleges and Universities.  “Armed with this data, we can ensure that higher education is delivering the right academic programs and preparing graduates with the skills necessary for the success of Minnesota’s businesses and communities.  By doing so, we will help more Minnesotans find fulfilling careers while at the same time helping to secure the state’s economic prosperity.”

A separate but coordinated initiative will result in regional strategies to align resources, increase access to training opportunities and develop effective statewide public policy.  Skills@Work, an effort by the Governor’s Workforce Development Council and Greater Twin Cities United Way, is leading the regional strategies initiative.  Skills@Work will initiate a series of regional planning meetings beginning in May that will result in unified regional strategies to focus private, public and non-profit resources on closing regional skills gaps and recommending necessary public policy updates.

Now a few more details:

A website has been established to help employers identify the most appropriate meeting(s) and to register: http://mnworkforceneeds.eventbrite.com. There is no cost to attend a meeting.

At each listening session, employers will be asked to discuss a series of questions focused on key occupations in their industry, including the following:

• Workforce Supply/Demand: What are your current and future hiring challenges? Where do most of your workers come from today? What does the future of your workforce look like – what types of jobs will you need to fill? What is your timeframe for filling these positions? What is your estimate for how many positions you may need to fill?

• Workforce Skills: What qualities/skills are you currently looking for (or will be looking for in the future) but not finding in your workers? What skills/abilities would you like to see in individuals entering the workforce that you are not seeing today? What changes or trends will affect your industry over the next 2-5 years? What are the implications of these trends for your workforce requirements? What skills or credentials (e.g., technical skills, “soft” skills, leadership skills, languages, etc.) do you expect to be looking for in the next two years?

The sessions are being sponsored by the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce and local chambers across the state in cooperation with the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, MnSCU and other private, public sector and non-profit organizations.