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These comments are responses to the Civic Caucus interview with

Steve Hine, Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development
May 8, 2015

Minnesota needs better-aligned, not more, postsecondary grads in coming years

Overview

Minnesota does not need to increase the absolute number of postsecondary graduates in coming years, argues Steve Hine of the Minnesota Department of Economic Development (DEED). Despite the much slower rate of labor-force growth projected for the state, the challenge, he says, isn't to produce more postsecondary graduates, but to deliverbetter-aligned graduates, whose postsecondary credentials and fields of study better match the needs of the economy.

Minnesota has always had a very highly educated labor force, with 60 percent of the state's workforce holding some sort of college credential, whether an industry-recognized credential or an associate, bachelor or graduate degree. But Hine asserts that only 35 percent of the state's jobs currently require postsecondary education. He notes that many college graduates are working in occupations that don't require postsecondary credentials or degrees. These college graduates displace lesser-educated people from their jobs, since employers find the more highly educated candidates more attractive. Proper alignment between college education and workforce needs is crucial to the employment success of both postsecondary graduates and the lesser educated, he states.

Hine shares data showing that different fields of study for bachelor-degree graduates in Minnesota result in widely different employment outcomes. Graduates in fields like engineering, for example, are much more likely to be working full-time after graduation and to be earning markedly higher salaries than graduates in fields like visual and performing arts or history. He argues that young people should explore these data before selecting college majors.

Hine explains that new longitudinal data developed by the state can show outcomes for recent graduates of various programs at individual schools. However, he said, some state postsecondary schools have resisted the public posting of this information.

For the complete interview summary see: Hine interview

Response Summary: Readers rated these statements about the topic and about points discussed during the meeting, on a scale of 0 (strongly disagree) to 5 (neutral) to 10 (strongly agree): 

1. Topic is of value. The interview summarized today provides valuable information or insight.

2. Further study warranted. It would be helpful to schedule additional interviews on this topic.

3. Better alignment leads to fuller employment. A better alignment of education and workforce needs would help to prevent lesser-educated workers being displaced by college grads who, having exhausted other options, end up moving down the jobs ladder.

4. 4-year degree overrated. The need for a four-year degree is overrated.

5. High school diploma insufficient. But having only a high school diploma is clearly insufficient for earning a living wage.

6. Students need wage, employment data. Students should be encouraged to pay closer attention to wage and employment rates for various fields of study so that they can make more intelligent decisions about the type and amount of education they should strive for.

7. Colleges should provide necessary data. Higher education institutions should freely share all data that illustrates their graduatesí actual earnings organized by level and field of education.

Response Distribution:

Strongly disagree

Moderately disagree

Neutral

Moderately agree

Strongly agree

Total Responses

1. Topic is of value.

14%

0%

0%

43%

43%

7

2. Further study warranted.

14%

0%

14%

71%

0%

7

3. Better alignment leads to fuller employment.

0%

14%

14%

43%

29%

7

4. 4-year degree overrated.

0%

29%

0%

57%

14%

7

5. High school diploma insufficient.

0%

0%

0%

43%

57%

7

6. Students need wage, employment data.

0%

14%

0%

29%

57%

7

7. Colleges should provide necessary data.

0%

0%

0%

29%

71%

7

Individual Responses:

Dave Broden (0) (0) (2.5) (2.5) (10) (2.5) (7.5)
1. Topic is of value. A very weak discussion with no preparation or in depth information and data to support the work.

2. Further study warranted. A serious discussion from DEED or someone who has an understanding of what business needs and how business operates.

3. Better alignment leads to fuller employment. Agree that better alignment will be beneficial but the relationship between alignment and job displacement and options makes no sense.

4. 4-year degree overrated. Only one opinion not supported by any rationale or data.

5. High school diploma insufficient. Some form of post secondary education remains a focus for all; the form and type is the question. We also need to recognize that some will not obtain additional education beyond high school and ensure that there is a path for these individuals.

6. Students need wage, employment data. Wages and job rates are important but we seem to forget that the worker or individual must seek a work place in which he/she has interest and can see a vision of career and opportunity. We often place too much discussion on the wage and not on the value and purpose of the job to the individual.

7. Colleges should provide necessary data. Useful and important but see above comments. Job must match individualís interest

Robert Beussman (na) (na) (na) (na) (na) (na) (na)
I have said for many years that not everyone needs to graduate with a four-year degree, but should have some post high school training.

John Hottinger (na) (na) (na) (na) (na) (na) (na)
Excellent interviewee on an important and generally misunderstood topic. Adds on to the information you gathered from Tom Gillespy a couple of times.

Wayne Jennings (10) (8) (10) (8) (9) (10) (10)
Students in high school also need more employment knowledge and experience. Internships, shadow studies, self-awareness, and community understanding need attention.

Erick Ajax (10) (9) (7) (10) (10) (10) (10)

Chuck Lutz (9) (7) (8) (7) (9) (9) (10)

Tom Spitznagle (7) (7) (5) (7) (10) (10) (10)
Apparently citizens cannot rely on most post secondary educational institutions to help guide citizens to the most useful educational programs. Instead, many colleges and universities appear to focus more on their own needs Ė offering programs that donít serve citizens well but only perpetuate the bureaucratic and financial interests of the schools and their instructors. Itís also unfortunate that students can pile up a considerable amount of debt under these circumstances while finding out too late that their educational path was ill-chosen.

At the same time, one would think that students would naturally operate in their own best interests and choose productive educational paths prior to committing significant time and money. The information is readily available as to which careers are in demand. Yet many students still choose dead end educational paths. Has there been any research performed to determine how students choose their educational paths to see if there are any significant defects in the process? Are citizens stubbornly choosing educational paths out of emotion rather than market demand?

Bright Dornblaser (10) (5) (10) (4) (10) (10) (10)

Paul Hauge (8) (9) (7) (8) (8) (9) (9)

 

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The Civic Caucus   is a non-partisan, tax-exempt educational organization.   The Interview Group  includes persons of varying political persuasions,
reflecting years of leadership in politics and business. Click here  to see a short personal background of each.

  John S. Adams, David Broden, Audrey Clay, Janis Clay, Pat Davies, Bill Frenzel, Paul Gilje (Executive Director), Randy Johnson, Sallie Kemper, Ted Kolderie,
Dan Loritz (Chair), Tim McDonald, Bruce Mooty, John Mooty, Jim Olson, Paul Ostrow, Wayne Popham, Dana Schroeder, Clarence Shallbetter, and Fred Zimmerman

 

 

 


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The Civic Caucus, 01-01-2008
2104 Girard Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55405.  civiccaucus@comcast.net
Dan Loritz, chair, 612-791-1919   ~   Paul A. Gilje, coordinator, 952-890-5220.
 

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