Why are so few MnSCU folks visiting Germany?

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