Big changes in the work force are fast approaching for Minnesota businesses, as shortages hit the state because of the aging population, State Demographer Tom Gillaspy said in Mankato.
And he said immigrants, including many from Africa, will be needed to help ease the shortage, according to the Mankato Free Press .
According to the paper:
Gillaspy said many in their early 60s will delay retirement, the huge loss of older people from the workforce will leave a worker and skills shortage.
“If it were just that we’re going to have more geezers, it wouldn’t be an issue,” Gillaspy said. But at the same time, there are many fewer young people to move into the workforce.”
Gillaspy said combating the historic change will require focus on retention, recruitment and retraining.
“We need to retrain workers, even if they’re in their 60s.”
He said Minnesota’s largest immigrant population is now coming from Africa, the only state with that distinction, and those African immigrants are predominantly well-educated.
He said about 8 percent of the the state’s current work force is foreign-born and that will grow, the paper said:
Gillaspy said businesses and communities not only need to help in training and educating immigrants, but in making them welcome. He said a highly skilled engineer from another country may help keep a company located in Mankato. “But if their spouse is at the grocery store and hears a derogatory remark because they look different, that’s a deal breaker.”