PoliGraph: Klobuchar right on student debt, jobs

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Sen. Amy Klobuchar stopped by the MPR News State Fair booth this week to talk about beer, guns and the economy.

But her answer to a question about student loan debt stood out to PoliGraph.

“When you look at the average debt for students in Minnesota… it’s something like $30,000,” Klobuchar said.

College graduates aren’t trained for the jobs that are available, she added.

“One of the things that I’ve found frustrating is that we have something like 80 percent of our manufacturers in Minnesota have job openings,” she said.

Klobuchar is nearly correct on both accounts.

The Evidence                   

Minnesota graduates carry a lot of debt compared to other states.

In 2012, Minnesota ranked fourth with average student debt around $31,500.

Klobuchar argues that part of the problem is that students aren’t finding good paying jobs after they graduate. Some of those jobs are now in the manufacturing sector, but students don’t have the right skills for the work.

“Some of these jobs are good jobs. They’re running robotics equipment, fixing it,” Klobuchar said. “These manufacturing jobs are no longer the three ‘Ds’: Dark, Dirty and Dangerous.”

Among all Minnesota manufacturers, about 67 percent say it is difficult to attract qualified candidates to job vacancies. Klobuchar’s staff says she was specifically talking about Minnesota’s large manufacturers. Roughly 80 percent of them have this problem.

The Verdict

Although she was a little imprecise, Klobuchar is essentially correct. She earns a State Fair blue ribbon.

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