Why are so few MnSCU folks visiting Germany?

One beer and an apprenticeship, bitte. (Marc van der Chijs via Flickr)
One beer and an apprenticeship, bitte. (Marc van der Chijs via Flickr)

European ideas on vocational education have become a point of discussion over the past few years here in Minnesota and the rest of the United States. Federal education officials are toning down their push for a four-year degree and instead have begun emphasizing the need for two-year degrees, certificates and other forms of postsecondary education and training.

Yesterday, a group of Minnesota education officials was scheduled to leave for a six-day trip to study Germany's workforce development program, MinnPost reported. The Germans are known for a "dual education" system that's heavy on hands-on education and apprenticeships.

Here's a roster of which Minnesotans are going, according to MinnPost:

  • Jan Alswager, chief lobbyist, Education Minnesota

  • Ken Bartlett, associate dean, College of Education and Human Development, University of Minnesota

  • Cynthia Bauerly, deputy commissioner, Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development

  • Jeff Britten, principal, Nashwauk-Keewatin High School

  • Dr. Rassoul Dastmozd, president, St. Paul College – A Community and Technical College

  • Dr. Sabine Engel, director, DAAD Center for German & European Studies, University of Minnesota

  • Twyla Flaws, vice chair, Minnesota Governor’s Workforce Development Council; and human resources manager, Clow Stamping Co.

  • State Rep. Tim Mahoney

  • State Rep. Kim Norton

  • Diane O’Connor, deputy director, Minnesota Office of Higher Education

  • Mary Rothchild, senior system director for workforce development, Minnesota State Colleges and Universities

  • State Sen. David Senjem

  • Julie Sweitzer, executive director, College Readiness Consortium, University of Minnesota.

I do find one minor thing interesting: The Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) system -- known as the state's main supplier of vocational-technical education, and the institution making the big push to find out what Minnesota industry wants from its graduates -- has only two of the 13 slots. The apparently higher-brow, research-heavy University of Minnesota, meanwhile, has three. (It's a UMN-sponsored gig.)

Just seems like a disproportionately small percentage for MnSCU, considering the role it's supposed to be playing in workforce development.

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