For those on the front lines of workforce development in Minnesota, the conversation around the notion of a trades ‘stigma’ is complex.
The problem is especially stark in Minnesota. The state was ranked as the fifth least affordable in the U.S. for infant care, according to a 2017 report from the national Child Care Aware organization.
Tim Walz and Jeff Johnson agreed the state can do much to fix the looming shortage, fueled in part by retiring Baby Boomers, and broadly vowed to make it happen.
The center is the first-of-its-kind effort, tailored to the plight of East African workers, many of whom don’t understand their workplace rights.
Over the last 20 years, American Sign Language interpreters have seen their pay rise by $31 an hour. Over that same period, spoken language interpreters’ wages have gone up $2 per hour.
Recently, service providers have noticed a drastic change in their interaction with business leaders. Instead of asking employers for job openings, they’re begging for employees.
“It’s nice that things are trending in a better direction,” said the Urban League’s Shawn Lewis, “but our nation has been way too tolerant about having higher levels of black unemployment.”
Just eight years ago, the share of male registered nurses in Minnesota was 8 percent; today, it’s 10 percent. The jobs are in-demand, pay well and provide varied experiences.
During the training, the employees gain skills before transitioning into actual jobs when someone retires or quits, or if new positions are created.
“We need to do our part as a city to make sure that we … seek talent from all over the place,” said Mark Brinda, who oversees the city’s workforce training initiatives.
MCTC has moved away from a system that forced undecided students to declare a major upon arriving at the school.
Community and technical colleges in Minneapolis and St. Paul have intensified their efforts to recruit and train women for careers in construction, manufacturing and maintenance.
The process involves not only creating new programs, but also recognizing when old programs are no longer relevant to the modern economy.
The picture is not entirely rosy. Manufactures also face a challenge that has lingered since the country emerged from the Great Recession: a dearth of workers.
During its first 10 months of service, the center managed to assist nearly 500 people to find jobs.
The Metropolitan Economic Development Association’s Mini MBA program is tailored for ethnic minority business owners.
While Minnesota state government spending with minority-owned vendors has grown over the last three years, it still represents only 5.4 percent of the $2.5 billion the government spends with vendors each year.
Author Emily Baxter points out that while 1 in 4 people in the U.S. has a criminal record, 4 in 4 have a criminal history.
Today, though hard data is hard to come by, those who advocated for its passage say it’s made employers more open to hiring formerly incarcerated candidates.
DEED doesn’t have complete data for the holiday season yet. But the state’s retailers added more jobs in September and October than they had in a decade.