Spring Conference: CEOs to offer ideas to move Minnesota forward

April 29, 2014

MHTA – Minnesota, and just about every other state, is focusing on new strategies to help employers meet new workforce demands. It is one of the key concerns a panel of local CEOs will cover at MHTA’s Spring Conference May 6th at the Minneapolis Convention Center. The conference will include an entire track devoted to workforce development solutions.

A new analysis by the Education Commission of the States found 2013 alone saw at least 78 substantive policy changes via legislation, state board rules and executive orders specific to career and technical edcuation (CTE) and workforce development. Governors in many states have made clear that CTE and workforce development remain top priorities in 2014, according to ECS Senior Policy Analyst Jennifer Dounay Zinth.

“States must produce greater numbers of individuals holding industry-recognized certificates to fill labor market gaps, including in high-wage, high-demand jobs,” said Zinth.

A qualified, cost-effective workforce is a key focus for Eagle Creek Software Services co-founder Ken Behrendt. His Eden Prairie based company has developed rural technology centers in North and South Dakota. The company’s”Dakota Model” trains IT consultants in a public-private partnership that is focused on delivering clients less risk, higher quality and more rapid deployment.

“We’re seeing that U.S. companies want to get to the market faster,” Behrendt told Minnesota Business Magazine. “They want a technology deployed as fast as possible, and cost is an issue.”

Across the country, other workforce development examples include regional councils created in Indiana to evaluate career education offerings at area high schools and to develop alternatives if necessary. Other states offer students incentives for completing industry certifications and credentials. In Kansas, school districts earn $1,000 for every graduate completing a credential on a state list of in-demand jobs. Minnesota is among the states expanding internships, such as MHTA’s SciTechsperience program, and apprenticeship opportunities to develop and retain high-skilled workers.