By John Fitzgerald | May 22, 2009 • A new report by the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system shows that state business leaders say that a shortage of educated and skilled workers is a barrier to economic growth.
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Workforce of the Future: Leadership Reaches Out to Business (PDF) found that business leaders across the state overwhelmingly identified an insufficient supply of educated and skilled workers as the main barrier to their companies’ long-term growth. The report was compiled after MnSCU officials visited 352 businesses to further a Board of Trustees goal of enhancing the state’s economic competitiveness.
Manufacturing companies noted a shortage of technicians with skills in blueprint reading, automated systems, robotic controls, welding and basic math. Health care companies reported shortages primary care physicians, nurses and laboratory technicians. Business leaders cited difficulty in attracting engineers, information technology workers who have stronger business-oriented analytical skills and employees with knowledge and experience in quality management. They also are redefining “soft” skills to include customer relations, innovation, flexibility, adaptability and teamwork.
To meet these needs, MnSCU plans four steps: strengthening programs to ensure students have the necessary skills; expanding internship and apprenticeship options and on-the-job training; adding more online education and flexible programs; and continuing to work and communicate with local businesses.
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