At the second meeting of the Career Pathways and Technical Education Advisory Task Force, DEED presented a powerpoint titled: Minnesota’s Workforce Trends 2013 and Beyond. Most of what was presented we have heard in one form or another, yet we need to keep this information in front of us as we work on redesigning our middle and high school coursework and career paths. Here are some of the highlights in regards to our current labor force:
- Minnesota is almost back to peak employment – as of July 2013 we were 4,400 jobs short of pre-recession high.
- Job vacancies are at pre-recession – retail and the arts accounted for half of the vacancy reduction which are traditionally lower wage jobs.
- Our work force is shrinking and we will not have enough qualified people entering the work force to fill the jobs.
- African American unemployment is declining.
- 45% of 335 employers surveyed reported difficult to fill positions in their company.
- Industries reporting hard-to-fill positions were Manufacturing, Professional, Scientific and Technical Services and Health Care.
- Employers cite a lack of skills gained through experience or hands-on training.
- Employers did not cite a lack of available training programs.
- Health care will add the most new jobs in Minnesota (2010-2020).
- Veterinary techs and biomedical engineers are top two fastest-growing occupations.
- Minnesota is the second highest (only behind Washington, D.C.) when it comes to jobs that requires post-secondary education.
What does this mean for K-12 education? Our public school system has to be intentional in preparing students for the future work force. Our state needs develop the policies and a sustainable structure to help students identify their strengths and passions earlier in their school experience. However, that is not enough we need a system that will guide each student through the design of the appropriate experiences and coursework that will allow them to graduate with the confidence. Confidence comes from knowing they are academically prepared to enter a college of their choice or have the aligned experiences through technical programs or internships for the career path of their choice.
Note: All materials referenced in the summaries of the Career Pathways and Technical Education Advisory Task Force meetings are available at this link: http://education.state.mn.us/MDE/Welcome/AdvBCT/CareerPathTechEducTaskForce/index.html.