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Roundtable in "The Next Minnesota Economy" Series Focuses on Getting Unemployed Minnesotans Ready for In-Demand Careers

Commissioners of DEED and OHE join leaders to launch new resources to help unemployed workers find training


March 11, 2021

St. Paul - Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) Commissioner Steve Grove and Office of Higher Education (OHE) Commissioner Dennis Olson engaged in a dynamic discussion about training Minnesotans for in-demand careers with representatives from health care, manufacturing, technology, workforce development boards, unions and higher education on Friday, March 5. The discussion was the latest in a series of roundtables on “The Next Minnesota Economy,” focused on rebuilding a more inclusive economic recovery that works for all Minnesotans.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has created a paradox in Minnesota’s economy. While hundreds of thousands of Minnesotans are unemployed, there are thousands of businesses across the state who are struggling to hire,” said DEED Commissioner Steve Grove. “To maximize the economic recovery, we need to support workers in finding careers that require additional skills, have a strong future, and offer better pay.”

“Minnesotans we’ve heard from, and we’ve seen in the data, that are in most danger of suffering long-term economic harm from the pandemic are those with a high school degree or less,” said OHE Commissioner Dennis Olson. “We know that higher education and training opportunities are really the key to finding new workforce opportunities that provide some stability, and of course better pay and future growth opportunities.”

To help connect unemployed Minnesotans with current training and employment opportunities, DEED launched a new effort called Good Jobs Now. Visitors to will find an interactive career path tool to help them explore in-demand employment with family-sustaining wages while learning about educational requirements for each position. There are also links to the top 30 jobs in demand in Minnesota now, apprenticeship information, resources for entrepreneurs and more on that Good Jobs Now page.

To help more Minnesotans get the training opportunities they need, the Walz-Flanagan Administration is advocating for $35 million in workforce stabilization dollars, which will help Minnesotans train for in-demand jobs at Minnesota State institutions across the state. Additionally, the administration is pushing for reforms to the state’s workforce development fund, making it more flexible to provide reskilling dollars where they are needed most and creating new grant programs for innovative ideas in training Minnesota workers.

Roundtable discussion participants highlighted the crucial need for workers in many industries now, the critical importance of aligning training to employer needs, and the many opportunities available now for people to grow their skills and find sustainable employment.

“We are connecting with businesses and industry and really engaging them, really coupling pedagogical practice and real-world application,” said Nerita Hughes, Dean of Business, Technology, Career and Workforce Development at North Hennepin Community College. “If we have a student seeking employment along with continuing their education journey, then can we work out something with the employer so it’s earn and learn, an internship, and externship, some kind of work experience opportunity.”

“Public-private partnerships are so critical to what we’re doing,” said Anne Kilzer, Assistant Director, Workforce Development for Hennepin and Carver Counties. “The 16 Local Workforce Development Area boards are really a place where people can come together and ensure that where the state and local and federal investments are being made are really aligned to meet the needs of employers in our communities.”

“We have over 200 jobs posted right now. We’re looking for all kinds of people: technicians to make our airplanes; manufacturing positions; engineers across all disciplines; IT technical jobs,” said Pam Roed, Human Resources for Innovation and Operations at Cirrus Design Corporation. “We’re really promoting that we have on-the-job training, people don’t have to have aviation experience or necessarily manufacturing experience. We’re just looking for good people who want to stay and grow here at Cirrus.”

You can watch a recording of the entire reskilling roundtable.

DEED is the state's principal economic development agency, promoting business recruitment, expansion and retention, workforce development, international trade and community development. For more details about the agency and its services, visit the DEED website or follow us on Twitter.


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