Talking Iron Range workforce challenges at ‘Policy & Pint’

PHOTO: Jason Dean, Flickr CC

I’ll be bringing the panel discussion lighting and regional analysis thunder to an event Thursday, May 18 at the Minnesota Discovery Center in Chisholm. The Citizens League, in partnership with MPR’s The Current, will be presenting “Policy and a Pint” from 6-8 p.m. You can get tickets now. (Now free, thanks to grant support). The event is sponsored by the Bush Foundation and Target.

We’ll be talking about the workforce of Northern Minnesota. In sum, the workforce here is changing. Additionally, and importantly, the workforce *needs* are changing.

Minnesota has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country. For the past three years the rate has been at or below 4%. Yet, certain Minnesota communities still struggle with unemployment. 10% of adults on the Iron Range are currently without work. At the same time, employers in certain communities struggle to find skilled labor to staff open positions. This workforce shortage continues to become more challenging as baby boomers throughout Minnesota reach and exceed retirement age, exiting the workforce and bringing decades of skill and experience with them.

A recent study by RealTime Talent finds that Minnesota will be short about 278,000 workers statewide by 2022. The irony of this dichotomy reveals a disconnect that exists in our state that presents both a challenge and an opportunity. How do we develop the talent of our currently unemployed and future workforce to match the skills needed by employers seeking, but not finding, a skilled workforce? What are the state and local leaders doing to identify workforce development challenges in Greater Minnesota, and what proactive steps are they taking to address those challenges? How do the public and private sectors come together to build a strong Minnesota for everyone?

I’m on the panel with Sandee Joppa, Executive Director of Real Time Talent.

Roy Smith, Director of Talent Development for the Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board and the Northeast Higher Education District, is also on the panel.

My job will be to bring some regional perspective like what you read here. I’ll also share my experiences working with students entering many different fields at Hibbing Community College.

Get your tickets now. I’d love to see some MinnesotaBrown regulars at the event.

And yes, as the title indicates, beer will be served.

UPDATE: The event is now free thanks to grant support. People who paid for tickets will be reimbursed. Admission is free. Beer is not free. Just to be clear.

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