Presents a state approach to strengthening the workforce and closing the skills gap by expanding career pathways strategies and increasing credential attainment.

“Minnesota needs more adults to attain postsecondary credentials in high-demand fields. Driven by the federal Workforce Investment Act and the funding it provides, Minnesota’s workforce system focuses on short-term job search and reemployment at the expense of long-term human capital investments. Our system currently cannot help enough adults get the skills and credentials they need to get a good job. While federal law is a challenge, Minnesota has unique resources and policy options—namely with the Workforce Development Fund—to invest in strengthening its workforce. Our state can and should invest more in helping adults attain the postsecondary credentials needed by employers” (p.3). (Abstractor: Author)

Full publication title: The Most Competitive Workforce in the World: How Minnesota can help more adults gain the right skills to get and keep good jobs

Major Findings & Recommendations

“There is growing consensus at the state and national level that the workforce system must change its focus from short-term job placement to long-term human capital investments.... The skills gap is the growing rift between the needs of employers and the skills of Minnesota’s workforce. It is a product of larger economic and demographic forces, and presents both challenges and opportunities for [the] state...” (p.4). • “85% of all new jobs created in the decade after the recession formally ended will require postsecondary education. • Two-thirds of Minnesota manufacturers list a “high-performance workforce” as the number one factor for firm success. • 7 in 10 Americans hold jobs for which there’s low demand or an oversupply of qualified labor. • Two-thirds of employers nationwide report having positions for which they often cannot find qualified applicants” (p.4). “Recommendation 1: Establish a competitive career pathways grant for adults within the Workforce Development Fund. Recommendation 2: Require publicly reported and disaggregated credential outcomes of workforce programs. Recommendation 3: Direct Workforce Centers to focus more energy on helping customers attain industry-recognized credentials and one year of post-high school education. Recommendation 4: Ensure adults have easy access to local labor market information, including jobs in demand and information about related career pathways training programs” (p.3). (Author: Abstractor)