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About This Tool

Where do the employer quotes come from?

The quotes displayed in the Minnesota Workforce Needs tool come from nearly 50 "listening sessions" with Minnesota employers in several industries and across various regions of the state. The quotes reveal what employers are looking for in their new hires and current workforce, the skills and experience they need but are not finding, and how educational institutions can help to address these gaps. Wilder Research analyzed meeting transcriptions and organized the spoken quotes into general Themes and Issues, and our staff lightly edited the transcribed quotes for clarity and readability.

Background on the Employer Listening Sessions

In response to Governor Dayton's call to better align postsecondary education and workforce training with the jobs of the future, Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU), the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, and the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) created a joint Workforce Assessment initiative to address the state's growing skills gap.

Beginning in April, 2012, these three organizations hosted 44 different listening sessions across the state with employers in seven different industry segments:

  • Healthcare (nine meetings)
  • Manufacturing (12 meetings)
  • Engineering (five meetings)
  • Energy (five meetings)
  • Information technology (six meetings)
  • Transportation (seven meetings)

More listening sessions are planned for the coming months. These will cover the agriculture, mining, natural resources, and financial services industries, among others.

Approximately 600 employers attended the first round of 44 meetings. During the meetings, employers were asked the following questions:

  1. Thinking about new applicants or recent hires, what qualifications are you currently looking for or needing but not finding in this occupation? Consider key areas, such as: skills, combinations of skills, credentials, experience, education, and soft skills.

  2. Thinking about incumbent workers, what qualifications are you currently needing but not finding? What skills do your incumbent workers lack?

  3. Thinking about the changes and trends in the next one to three years that may affect your industry, what is the likely implication for your workforce?

  4. How can the Minnesota higher education system respond to both your current and future workforce needs?

Each meeting consisted of an approximately hour-long, open-ended discussion among employers. MnSCU educators and community groups attended meetings to listen, and employer comments were recorded, transcribed, and analyzed as described above.

Stay tuned for more results from the agriculture, mining, natural resources, and financial services industries! Return to the Minnesota Workforce Needs tool.