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 Response Page - Wildwood / Lindsley  Interview -      


These comments are responses to the questions listed below,
which were generated in regard to the
Inez Wildwood / Bryan Lindsley Interview of
04-06-2012.
 

OVERVIEW 

Inez Wildwood, chair, and Bryan Lindsley, executive director, Governor's Workforce Development Council, discuss the challenges facing Minnesota by a looming workforce shortage and skills gap.  They assert that Minnesota's unemployment rate could decline significantly if its pool of job applicants had more post-secondary training. Unless action is taken, they contend the mismatch in Minnesota between jobs available and applicants' training will grow even more serious over the next six years. They believe that FastTRAC, a pilot program at Minnesota state universities and community colleges that combines remedial math, reading and writing with post-secondary occupational skills training, should be expanded. A lack public awareness, they contend, is part of the reason more effort hasn't been devoted to closing the jobs-skills gap.

For the complete interview summary see: http://bit.ly/JNzVM1

Response Summary: Readers have been asked to rate, on a scale of (0) most disagreement, to (5) neutral, to (10) most agreement, the following points discussed by Wildwood and Lindsley. Average response ratings shown below are simply the mean of all readersí zero-to-ten responses to the ideas proposed and should not be considered an accurate reflection of a scientifically structured poll.

1. Training will reduce unemployment. (7.2 average response) Minnesota's unemployment rate could decline significantly if its job applicants had more post-secondary training.

2. Unaddressed, gap will grow. (8.0 average response) Unless action is taken the mismatch in Minnesota between jobs available and applicants' training will grow even more serious over the next six years.

3. Expand FastTRAC. (7.1 average response) FastTRAC, a pilot program at Minnesota state universities and community colleges that combines remedial math, reading and writing with post-secondary occupational skills training, should be expanded.

4. Solution impeded by public unawareness. (5.9 average response) A lack public awareness is part of the reason more effort hasn't been devoted to closing the jobs-skills gap.

5. Business responsible for training. (5.0 average response) Responsibility for closing the job-skills gap is misplaced. It's the job of private business to pick up the tab for employee training, not the public sector.

Response Distribution:

Strongly disagree

Moderately disagree

Neutral

Moderately agree

Strongly agree

Total Responses

1. Training will reduce unemployment.

11%

11%

0%

42%

37%

19

2. Unaddressed, gap will grow.

5%

10%

5%

30%

50%

20

3. Expand FastTRAC.

5%

10%

15%

40%

30%

20

4. Solution impeded by public ignorance.

15%

15%

10%

45%

15%

20

5. Business responsible for training.

15%

25%

20%

25%

15%

20

Individual Responses:

Anonymous (0) (10) (5) (0) (5)

5. Business responsible for training. Of course, employee training is something that will always be needed and done in the private sector, but it seems like the conversation missed the obvious question. What about learning math, reading and writing in high school?

Don Anderson (7.5) (7.5) (7.5) (2.5) (10)

Chris Brazelton (10) (10) (10) (10) (5)

1. Training will reduce unemployment. Not just more training, but the right training, matching training and skills up with employer needs.

3. Expand FastTRAC. If the success rates quoted are correct, we should expand what works. We also need to do a better job motivating our young people through early/preschool education and ongoing motivational speakers in middle school and junior high school to keep children engaged in achievement. Many children grow up surrounded by people and circumstances that are discouraging, and they as well as the rest of society pay the price.

4. Solution impeded by public unawareness. Just as we have regional weather forecasts, we need regional jobs forecasts, publicizing what skills are needed to fill the employment opportunities now and in the foreseeable future. Learners and educators alike must respond to those forecasts to fill the pipeline with workers who possess the required skills.

5. Business responsible for training. It will require all of us working together. We all benefit when the system works. And we all lose when it doesn't.

Anonymous (10) (10) (10) (7.5) (2.5)

5. Business responsible for training. The question it self is a bit misleading. Today business is investing in retraining its workers and keeping employee skills updated to meet new demands. But investment in post-secondary education is clearly a public good as well. A significant part of our challenge as a state is to reignite the understanding among policy makers (and the tax paying public) of higher education as a public good and an investment necessary for the prosperity of Minnesota. The challenge of closing he growing skills gap is best resolved through a coordinated and cooperative effort among the private sector, public sector and non-profit sector.

Robert Jacobs (0) (0) (0) (0) (10)

5. Business responsible for training. A progressive democrat hasn't got a clue as to how to create a job. Just stay Ö out of the way of the people. Public union educators are a minus to society. Disband the NEA.

Dave Broden (10) (10) (10) (7.5) (0)

1. Training will reduce unemployment. Joblessness will decrease with increased training that matches to the skill gaps of various companies and activities. The post secondary training may be in votech and/or in specialty higher education disciplines. The rapid changes in the technology used in the workplace for basic company operations and for manufacturing are changing so fast that workers must remain current or be unemployed.

2. Unaddressed, gap will grow. The changes in company operations and manufacturing are demanding a new skill set of the average worker. Introduction of robotic factories, improved material handling, CNC machines, all signal a change from hands on manufacturing to operation of equipment that does work previously done by the worker.

3. Expand FastTRAC. This program captures the need and provides the format for the students/workers to address and learn the skills that must be applied in the workforce today and in the future. Ensuring that FastTRAC is linked to the skills required by companies is a key focus.

4. Solution impeded by public unawareness. The forces driving the skills gap are moving so fast that only the companies doing the work have a good understanding of the impact. MnSCU and particularly the votech side seem to be connecting well. There does appear to be a gap with legislators and certainly with the general public regarding how the job skill set is changing and the need and benefits of the change. One key aspect is to communicate the benefits of the advances in the equipment in manufacturing etc. in terms of the worker and the worker opportunities.

5. Business responsible for training. Closing the skills gap is a perfect example of the public-private partnership that must exist to address many of the issues of today. The public sector must be the primary (but not only) source of the training and education. The private sector must communicate the need and provide in company training and learning where possible. Company funding of the education or in a shared mode should be considered. There need to be incentives for business, for the worker, and for the public sector to make this happen.

Bruce A. Lundeen (2.5) (2.5) (7.5) (0) (0)

1. Training will reduce unemployment. No amount of training will help if there are no jobs.

2. Unaddressed, gap will grow. More training may not be an asset for the jobs that Minnesota has and will have to offer in the future.

3. Expand FastTRAC. These programs will create a higher class of worker/individual, but it will allow the more ambitious to succeed.

5. Business responsible for training. Employers cannot train everyone for the few jobs they have to offer.

Scott Halstead (10) (10) (10) (5) (2.5)

John Nowicki (10) (9) (7) (2) (9)

Unless the legislature does an about-face, the situation will just deteriorate. (I s)uggest these two and the caucus look at what a small town in NY did to get a huge data chip factory. Check out ABC network: "1300 jobs and counting".

Arvonne Fraser (6) (5) (6) (4) (5)

Fred Zimmerman (2) (2) (4) (8) (1)

My many years of studying industrial employment, both in Minnesota and nationally, leads me with a somewhat different take on the matter. Companies, particularly manufacturers, are not necessarily looking for more skills, though some selected skills would be quite helpful. Their main need is for people with good character traits, appropriate attitudes, and in possession of a well-cultivated work ethic. Minnesota's weak and value-free education system, which is rarely oriented to cultivating character, attitudes, and work ethic, is a major disappointment for employers. Even many college and university programs are losing their luster to employers because the technical knowledge provided is often both minimal and out-of-date. Character traits are seldom stressed.

We should not put any more money into the present system before we fire at least some of the people in it. We should replace some non-performing teachers and professors with people experienced in industry who can display desired characteristics as suitable role models. The Focus Hope operations in Detroit would serve as a good role model for Minnesota.

Bert Press (10) (10) (10) (10) (0)

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

Carolyn Ring (na) (9) (4) (8) (8)

There is no doubt (that) there needs to be much more attention to skills needed and education for those skills. Business/Industry and Higher Education should be able to work that out together without government intervention

Paul and Ruth Hauge (9) (8) (7) (7) (6)

Robert J. Brown (8) (10) (5) (8) (5)

3. Expand FastTRAC. Most of the basic skills stuff should have been done in high school. While programs like FastTRAC can benefit some individuals they allow secondary schools to continue to not serve their clients.

5. Business responsible for training. If the individual has adequate general training with skills in math, communication, etc., and ability to work with others then the specific job skills can be taught by the employer. Post secondary schools can't possibly be able to teach the specific skills for each type of job.

Chuck Lutz (9) (10) (8) (8) (2)

Wayne Jennings (8) (10) (10) (10) (4)

Another major factor is the mismatch between current high school programs and needed job skills. For example, many high school students lack basic arithmetic skills but are subject to the requirements of algebra 1 and 2. Or (they lack) writing skills but high schools emphasize esoteric literary skills such as determining plot and denouement of Shakespeare and Wordsworth. Most kids are turned off by these programs and either dutifully do boring assignments or simply tune out or drop out. Basic skills must be learned by at least the end of high school for every student. Shifting it to remedial programs in college for the workplace is expensive and is not productive use of high school years.

Alan Miller (8) (9) (9) (8) (8)

Shirley Heaton (10) (10) (5) (5) (10)

This situation, Iím convinced, is occurring in states throughout the country, certainly, here, in Florida. Whatís needed at the outset is for private industry and public/private education institutions to get together and agree on how to meet current and future needs.

    

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

   Verne C. Johnson, chair;  David Broden, Charles Clay,  Bill Frenzel, Paul Gilje,  Jim Hetland,  Marina Lyon,
Joe Mansky,  John Mooty,  Jim Olson,  and  Wayne Popham 


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The Civic Caucus, 01-01-2008
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