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   Response Page - Kelliher Interview                                                 

These comments are responses to the Civic Caucus interview with

Margaret Anderson Kelliher, Minnesota High Tech Association President and CEO
Dec. 12, 2014

Developing a full range of STEM talent is critical to continued high tech growth in Minnesota

Overview

According to Margaret Anderson Kelliher of the Minnesota High Tech Association (MHTA), by 2020, Minnesota will need an additional 80,000 to 180,000 people with science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) degrees to fill newly created jobs and to replace retiring baby boomers. She calls the challenge of finding the talent companies need one of the top issues affecting growth of companies in our state and region, particularly related to technology jobs and basic-science jobs. She says workforce training must be our most important area of focus in order to meet MHTA's goal of Minnesota being in the top five science and technology states in the country.

Since the birth replacement rate won't fill all of these jobs, Kelliher says, we can't afford to lose people along the way. She believes we suffer in the STEM area from the "super-bright student bias," often focusing only on the top students who can qualify, for example, for the highly ranked University of Minnesota's engineering program. But we must also identify people in the middle with good skills and aptitude, who can complete two- or four-year STEM degrees in Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) institutions, are more likely to stay in Minnesota after graduation and can have successful careers.

Kelliher believes we must do a better job of exposing people to the variety of job and training opportunities in STEM fields. That includes bringing people from high-tech businesses into the classroom to tell students and their parents what they do, taking students on tours of high-tech companies and providing more high-tech internships for high school and college students. She discusses several programs outside of the state's postsecondary system providing these opportunities and alternative job skills training.

As a member of MnSCU's board of trustees, Kelliher says the biggest challenge facing the system is its low completion rate for students, whether they are pursuing certificate programs, two-year degrees or four-year degrees. This is expensive for the individual, for the state and for the system, she says. Retaining the number of students who enter the MnSCU system would solve the system's budget and enrollment issues, she asserts.

For the complete interview summary see: Kelliher interview

Response Summary: Average response ratings shown below are simply the mean of all readers’ zero-to-ten responses to the ideas proposed and should not be considered an accurate reflection of a scientifically structured poll.

To assist the Civic Caucus in planning upcoming interviews, readers rated these statements about the topic on a scale of 0 (strongly disagree) to 5 (neutral) to 10 (strongly agree): 

1. Topic is of value. (6.9 average response) The interview summarized today provides valuable information or insight.

2. Further study warranted. (6.9 average response) It would be helpful to schedule additional interviews on this topic.

Readers rated the following points discussed during the meeting on a scale of 0 (strongly disagree) to 5 (neutral) to 10 (strongly agree): 

3. Home-grown workforce insufficient. (7.8 average response) Home-grown talent won't be sufficient to fill at least 80,000 more science and technology jobs projected in Minnesota by 2020.

4. In-migration the only solution. (7.4 average response) The need will be met only if the state is able to attract enough talent from other states and nations.

5. Talent needed is overestimated by many. (7.4 average response) Too many parents and students think that only super-bright students from top engineering schools are suitable for high tech jobs.

6. Gap alleviated by 2-year degree programs. (7.5 average response) The shortage could be alleviated if more Minnesota students and parents realized that associate degrees and auxiliary engineering degrees are sufficient for most high tech jobs.

7. Offer high-tech training in K-12. (7.7 average response) School districts should offer more high tech education, rather than requiring high school students to delay such education until they go to college.

8. Expand state funding of technical training. (7.7 average response) The Minnesota Legislature should expand programs that offer college students paid internships in high tech companies and, for high school students, more exposure to the high tech world, such as training in basic technical help-desk skills.

Response Distribution:

Strongly disagree

Moderately disagree

Neutral

Moderately agree

Strongly agree

Total Responses

1. Topic is of value.

9%

0%

18%

55%

18%

11

2. Further discussion warranted.

9%

0%

27%

27%

36%

11

3. Home-grown workforce insufficient.

8%

0%

8%

50%

33%

12

4. In-migration the only solution.

8%

8%

8%

42%

33%

12

5. Talent needed is overestimated by many.

0%

0%

25%

50%

25%

12

6. Gap alleviated by 2-year degree programs.

0%

8%

17%

50%

25%

12

7. Offer high-tech training in K-12.

0%

0%

25%

50%

25%

12

8. Expand state funding of technical training.

0%

0%

25%

42%

33%

12


Individual Responses:

Ray Ayotte (7.5) (10) (7.5) (10) (10) (10) (10) (10)

Scott Halstead (7.5) (10) (10) (10) (7.5) (7.5) (5) (10)
7. Offer high-tech training in K-12. Perhaps it is time to bring STEM education offerings into high school via alternative methods (on-line, remote presentations). There needs to be more partnering with business.

Don Anderson (7.5) (7.5) (10) (10) (7.5) (7.5) (10) (7.5)

Don Fraser (10) (10) (7.5) (7.5) (7.5) (7.5) (10) (10)

Vici Oshiro (5) (5) (10) (10) (10) (10) (5) (7.5)

1. Usefulness of topic. Interesting, but I'm not in a position to use the information. But I'll forward it to a daughter working on STEM in another state.

2. Importance of further discussion. That's for you to determine.

4. In-migration the only solution. You phrased the boldface summary statement wrong. It differs from the actual statement. I support "only if" not "only".

7. Offer high-tech training in K-12. Devil is in the details.

8. Expand state funding of technical training. Again, devil is in the details.

Mark Ritchie (na) (na) (na) (na) (na) (na) (na) (na)

Great interview as always.

Bright Dornblaser (na) (na) (10) (8) (10) (10) (8) (10)

Chuck Lutz (9) (6) (8) (9) (7) (8) (9) (8)

Paul Hauge (10) (10) (8) (8) (8) (9) (7) (7)

Roger Wacek (0) (0) (0) (0) (5) (5) (5) (5)

Lyall Schwarzkopf (7) (7) (9) (8) (6) (7) (8) (7)

Tom Spitznagle (5) (5) (5) (5) (5) (5) (9) (5)

Bert Lemunyon (7) (5) (8) (3) (5) (4) (6) (5)

I have been concerned that too many students that have the ability to succeed in STEM programs don't want to put in the effort required. It might interfere with their college social life and having a good time.

 

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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