Minnesota's workforce needs higher levels of
education than ever before, Rosenstone said. The state needs a more robust
pipeline of increasingly skilled workers, innovative and creative thinkers
on the leading edge of knowledge creation who can solve problems and can
bring those solutions to market. Minnesota's workforce must be equipped to
meet the needs not only of state or regional businesses but also of the
global production, assembly, delivery, and distribution systems that have
an increasing impact on the state's economy.
Beyond the challenges posed by an aging
population, Rosenstone outlined three ways the workforce shortage will
1. Minnesota has an immediate and growing skills
gap that is holding back our economy and further job creation. There
are many good jobs available, but there is a shortage of people with the
skills to do those jobs. Companies across Minnesota are in dire need of
workers, particularly in the manufacturing, biotech, and health care
sectors. Many of the 167,000 jobless Minnesotans lack the education needed
for the jobs emerging with the new economy.
2. By 2018, 85 percent of all new jobs in
Minnesota will require some postsecondary education. As much as 85
percent of the new jobs will require some postsecondary education with
over half of those jobs requiring a certificate or associate's degree, not
a baccalaureate degree. "If we fail to meet our state's evolving workforce
needs Minnesota's economy will be in great jeopardy," Rosenstone said.
3. K-12 needs to provide stronger preparation
for post-secondary education. About one-quarter of Minnesota's
students entering high school don't graduate on time, and too many of
those who do graduate are not prepared for post-secondary learning. The
state's fastest growing populations - people from communities of color and
families of modest financial means - are the least prepared for the jobs
that lie ahead. Minnesota business needs a diverse workforce to compete in
the global economy. And going forward, there will be virtually no jobs
that will provide a decent standard of living to those who do not complete
some post-secondary education.
Post-secondary education has been squeezed by
the state's structural deficit.
These workforce preparation challenges must be
met at the same time the state is coming face-to-face with its long-term
structural budget problem. This budget shortfall has been a constraint
within which Minnesota's education systems have had to operate.
State funding of higher education has "dropped
like a stone" with Minnesota's investment in higher education decreasing
faster than the national average. Post-secondary spending has been
squeezed out by increases elsewhere in the state budget - particularly in
health and human services.
Between FY 1999 and FY 2010, Minnesota's support
of higher education per full-year equivalent student fell 40 percent in
constant dollars compared to a 19 percent decrease for the nation as a
whole. Over the past two years, only nine states in the country decreased
higher education spending more than in Minnesota. Minnesota's cuts to
higher education were five times deeper than the national average.
"Minnesota's support of higher education is no
longer above average at a time when above average is no longer good
enough," Rosenstone said. The state now ranks in the bottom half
Minnesota's funding of MnSCU has dropped 46 percent in real terms in 12
The impact of all this on students has been
profound. State funding (in constant dollars) per full-year student in
Minnesota State Colleges and Universities in real dollars have dropped 46
percent over the past twelve years.
Increasing value: the cost of educating a student in MnSCU has been
lowered 10 percent.
The cost - in constant dollars - of educating a
student in MnSCU is actually 10 percent lower than it was a decade ago,
Rosenstone said. The payer is what has changed, with the education bill
moving from the state to the students.
Even with this decrease in cost per student,
MnSCU is serving more students than ever before and it is serving more
educationally challenged students. "The students we're serving span a huge
range. The fastest growing student population is a population that has not
been traditionally served by higher education," he said.
Given the lowering cost and more challenging
student population that we are serving, Rosenstone argued that MnSCU is a
remarkably good value.
Within MnSCU, two-year college tuition and fees
average $5,170 per year - about one-third the cost of private trade
schools. The tuition and fees at MnSCU's four-year universities average
$7,025 per year, or approximately one-half the cost of the University of
Minnesota and one-fifth the cost of a private college or university.
"Our goal is to continue to be the
highest-value, most cost-effective higher education option in the state,"
THE GOAL: CONTINUALLY EVOLVE TO MEET WORKFORCE NEEDS
MnSCU aims to meet the workforce needs of Minnesota by providing graduates
who are prepared for the work that needs to be done to keep Minnesota's
economy and communities vibrant and growing.
THE STRATEGY: SYSTEM INNOVATION
"To address this challenge," Rosenstone said, "MnSCU
needs a comprehensive plan that leverages its assets in new, more
Minnesota State Colleges and Universities are
playing a lead role in delivering solutions, he said, and his team is
working with Governor Dayton and his administration, the Minnesota's
legislature, workforce centers, faculty and staff, foundations, business
and industry, the Chamber of Commerce, and labor to develop a plan that
will accomplish the goal of meeting Minnesota's workforce needs.
The plan addresses five challenges.
1. Map the workforce needs of Minnesota going
forward, sector-by-sector, and region-by-region.
Rosenstone will move from "planning by
anecdotes" to a "systematic assessment" and precise projections of the
needs the system must meet.To forecast future educational demands, we must
know with great precision how many workers and professionals, with what
kinds of skills, are needed in which regions, for what kinds of jobs.
MnSCU's colleges and universities will work with its partners to lead such
an assessment in April of this year. It is a process of mapping that will
be an ongoing practice, he noted.
2. Align college and university programs with Minnesota's workforce needs.
The system needs to respond to leading
indicators, he said - ensuring that we are developing and delivering the
courses and programs that will be needed for the jobs of tomorrow.
MnSCU needs to have the right programs, in the
right places, to prepare the right kind of graduates - with the skills
needed to lead every sector of Minnesota. This includes aligning
certificate and degree programs, advanced certification programs, programs
aimed at retooling workers, and customized training programs to provide
graduates with the foundational and work skills that Minnesota's
businesses and communities need.
Minnesota State Colleges and Universities play a
crucial role in this, Rosenstone said. Each year more than 400,000
Minnesotans from all walks of life attend MnSCU colleges and universities
for training and retraining, for degrees and for graduate programs.
3. Prepare graduates more effectively for jobs of the future.
Good programs must become excellent and
excellent programs must become preeminent. This spring, across the entire
state, MnSCU faculty will be examining how to better facilitate learning,
and how to use technology and collaboration to serve more students better
and more cost-effectively. Retention and graduation rates and
time-to-degree also must all improve, Rosenstone said.
The system will be focusing on outcomes - the
capabilities of its graduates, not the test scores of its freshmen - as
the measure of success. Each academic program will have measureable
learning outcomes that identify the proficiencies that each graduate will
"I don't think we should be judged by how many
students we turn away or the ACT scores of the incoming students, but on
the quality of the education those students receive." So far, in his
estimation, MnSCU has done an extraordinary job with the resources it has
received. But his goal is to do even better.
4.Ensure that there is a pipeline of high school graduates who are
To meet this challenge, MnSCU is partnering with
the Department of Education, the Office of Higher Education and with
schools across Minnesota to ensure that students from all walks of life
are all "college ready." They are working to redesign grades 11-14 to
enable more students to start and succeed in appropriate post-secondary
"We also need to realize that not everyone needs
or wants to pursue a baccalaureate degree," Rosenstone argued, adding that
they are working to connect high school students interested in technical
careers with programs in technical colleges that are aligned with the jobs
of the future.
"In short, we are working to make the grades
11-14 more cost-effective, more flexible, and more responsive to student
and workforce needs."
5. Redesign the MnSCU system to improve the quality of the graduates,
increase the effectiveness and efficiency of its operations, and keep
"The final area, system redesign, is where I'm
trying to be the most thoughtful and courageous," Rosenstone said.
To this end, MnSCU has created a Campus Service
Cooperative to deliver higher quality business services to MnSCU schools
at much lower cost by sharing non-academic functions such as purchasing,
payroll, information technology, human resources, and the processing of
student financial aid.
They are examining the incentives that are
implicit in the current way funds are allocated to our colleges and
universities to ensure that the incentives are aligned with the outcomes
need to be produced.
MnSCU colleges and universities have begun
working together to develop regional academic plans to meet regional
educational and workforce needs.
Conversations have begun with the University of
Minnesota and Minnesota's private colleges to identify new opportunities
for collaboration to leverage the strengths of each system, boosting
quality and efficiency.
MnSCU is a responsive system
"I'm not a command and control guy," Rosenstone
commented. "MnSCU is an extremely decentralized system, reflected in the
speed and agility with which our colleges and universities respond to new
The challenge is meeting Minnesota's needs for a
highly educated workforce at a time when the resources to do so have been
To a question regarding the number of campuses
needed to provide access, Rosenstone said he doesn't know the answer to
that. "We need to ensure that we are providing access to higher education
in ways that meet the needs of students and ensure the vitality of
Minnesota's diverse regional economies. Our students are on average aged
26, with families and full-time jobs. They can't just drive to a campus
200 miles from home and move into a dorm, and we know that many of our
educational offerings can't be all online either. Online learning will
remain part of the solution, but it is not a silver bullet."
"We're not worried about the new federal
standards concerning online learning - we exceed them, and at $5,000-7,000
per year we're beating the for-profit schools in cost many times over."