Minneapolis Fed tackles education this week

The Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis will examine innovation in early childhood development and K-12 education during a two-day conference beginning Tuesday in Minneapolis.

Maximizing employment is part of the Federal Reserve's mandate. And there's a correlation between workforce education levels, employment and economic growth, said Fed economist Rob Grunewald.

"Demand for workers is going to continue to grow over time, and if our education system starting from early childhood through K-12, through college, can meet the demand for those job openings, we'll have not only a strong economy but those benefits also go to the children with that strong education," he said.

The conference occurs 15 years after Grunewald and the bank's then-research director Art Rolnick co-authored a study that found investments in early childhood development programs deliver a high rate of economic return for participants, and for society as a whole — as much as 18 percent each year from age 5 to the early 60s.

Grow the Future of Public Media

MPR News is supported by Members. Gifts from individuals power everything you find here. Make a gift of any amount today to become a Member!

The conference agenda can be found here.

Minnesota's economy has strength and a relatively well-educated workforce, but there are gaps, Grunewald said.

"Minnesota has some of the largest disparities in school achievement and graduation rates between children of color and white children. This conference will be looking at how best to close those disparities through strategies for early childhood development and K-through-12 schools," he said.

A livestream of the event can be found at the bank's home page.