Renewed Efforts to Close Workforce Skills Gap
Training a qualified workforce hits especially close to home in manufacturing. The growing shortage of qualified workers could weaken manufacturers' ability to capitalize on future growth. But, manufacturing companies along with the public education system have renewed vigor and innovation to close the skills gap.
The June issue of Enterprise Minnesota® magazine features three articles that describe how manufacturers and public educators are partnering to meet the daunting demands of finding future personnel that are well trained to meet the future challenges of an increasingly sophisticated industry.
In "Building the Next Generation of Manufacturing Employees," writer Kate Peterson describes how companies are trying to attract high school students to machining jobs. Alexandria-based Douglas Machine, for one, implemented a scholarship program that not only provides full tuition at a community college, but also a part-time job while students are in school. Douglas also provides generous a tuition reimbursement program to help employees move through the ranks.
The Central Minnesota Manufacturers Association (CMMA) has adopted a school through "Project Lead the Way," which encourages high school students to see the possibilities of careers in manufacturing by letting them tour plants.
Some community colleges have created advisory groups with manufacturers to help develop curriculum. At Alexandria Technical and Community College, President Kevin Kopischke credited the partnership with local manufacturers, combined with dedicated faculty who stay abreast of industry changes and needs, for the machine trades program having a wait list.
The vital role that Minnesota State Colleges and Universities are taking to train this workforce is featured in an indepth Q&A-style interview between Enterprise Minnesota President & CEO, Bob Kill, and Steven Rosenstone, the new MnSCU chancellor. Said Rosenstone: "A core business - if not the core business - of Minnesota State Colleges and Universities is preparing people for the work that needs to be done in Minnesota."
He added that MnSCU is working to deepen its understanding of the precise skill sets that are needed so academic programs can be realigned to turn out quality graduates. "The people best equipped to tell us are the people out there in the business industry trying to get the job done," Rosenstone said. Employers are telling him, he added, that they need employees who can think creatively, work in teams, and understand and use problem-solving and innovation.
Rosenstone also said technical colleges are partnering with high schools to offer weekend and summer programs to foster early relationships.
In "Fast-Tracked Talent Pool", some manufacturers are filling management positions with current employees thanks to a fast-track degree program offered at Minnesota State University-Moorhead's Operations Management program.
The program's graduates are uniquely qualified for industry leadership positions because they have both technical and business education.
Half of the 100 or so students currently in the program have just completed their technical degrees. The others are working adults returning to school to advance their education, many with support from their companies.
For more information on these stories and more, go to
the June issue of Enterprise Minnesota Magazine which will be available online June 5.
The Best Approaches to Marketing
June 27, 2012
8am-11am Argosy University, Eagan, MN
Registration: $79 Early Bird (before June 12) or $110 regular
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What to Expect
Can you define the value of marketing for your business?
Is marketing a part of your business strategy?
How can a strategic marketing program contribute to your revenue, profit and growth goals?
Deb Bly, Enterprise Minnesota Business
Growth Advisor, will define true marketing and demonstrate how a
focused, strategic marketng plan can drive your business growth and
Deb brings a solid background in strategic
marketing, product marketing, branding, pricing and channel management.
She has more than 20 years of experience in identifying new
opportunities to grow revenue through new products and markets with
in-depth analysis and interpretation of market segments. Prior to
joining Enterprise Minnesota, Deb served as senior marketing manager of
new business corporate for Bloomington-based The Toro Company, where she
also served in positions as director of marketing for commercial
products. Previously, Deb worked for Fridley-based Cummins Power
Generation as director/general manager of the mobile business group and
as director of marketing for the consumer products division.
To register for "Best Approaches to Marketing in Manufacturing" Business Event on June 27, 2012
Closing the Skills Gap: MnSCU Turns to Busineses for Advice
Minnesota State Colleges and Universities administrators and faculty have been going directly to the business community for input on how to best overhaul the system's course offerings to better meet employer's needs. Finance and Commerce article continues
Flat U.S. Wages Help Fuel Rebound in Manufacturing
Revival of U.S. manufacturing employment has been accompanied by a less-lauded fact: Wages for many manufacturing workers aren't keeping up with inflation. Wall Street Journal article continues
Minnesota Trade Group Going to China
Gov. Mark Dayton and 50 Minnesota business, agricultural and academic leaders are headed to China as part of a trade mission to bolster relations with the state's second-largest trading partner.
Star Tribune article continues
Partners team up to help Gerdau reinvest in St. Paul
Gerdau announced that it has selected its St. Paul mill to house new continuous casting steel-making equipment. This caster, representing a $50 million investment, ensures the plant's competitiveness and also retains more than 330 high-paying jobs.
Minnesota Chamber of Commerce article continues
ManpowerGroup survey reveals persistent shortage in skilled trades, engineers, IT
ManpowerGroup this week released the results of its seventh annual talent shortage survey, revealing 49 percent of U.S. employers are experiencing difficulty filling mission-critical positions within their organizations.
Business Journal article continues
Open Streets Events
Minnesota Council for Quality's Annual Best Practice Conference
June 5, 2012
NAM's Annual Manufacturing Summit
National Association of Manufacturers
June 6-7, 2012
USS Minnesota Dinner
June 7, 2012
How Immigration Leads to Economic Growth & American Jobs
June 8, 2012
Brooklyn Park, MN
Best Approaches to Marketing in Manufacturing
June 27, 2012
Six Sigma Green Belt Certification
South Central College CBI
July & August 2012
North Mankato, MN
2012 Annual Meeting & Issue Conference
MN Chamber of Commerce
September 25, 2012