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Media Release

Sessions to Assess Workforce Needs in Financial Services Industries

Launch Marks Continuation of Initiative to Address State’s Job Skills Gap

ST. PAUL, Minn., Oct. 23, 2012 – Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU), the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce and the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) will host seven listening sessions around the state to assess employers’ workforce needs in the financial services industries.

The sessions will be held between Nov. 8–Dec. 12 in Mankato, Minneapolis, Rochester, St. Cloud and St. Paul. Sessions will focus on occupations involving accounting and bookkeeping, finance, financial support services, financial planning, taxation and insurance.

“The financial services sector plays an essential role in the success and prosperity of our state,” said MnSCU Chancellor Steven Rosenstone. “By listening to employers, we can obtain a much better understanding of their needs and ensure that higher education delivers the right academic programs and prepares graduates with the skills necessary for the future success of Minnesota’s financial services economy.”

Business and industry representatives from the financial services sector are encouraged to register for one of the upcoming Financial Services Workforce Assessment sessions by visiting http://mnworkforceneeds.eventbrite.com. The website includes the dates, times and locations for each gathering along with other details. There is no cost to attend the meetings.

The financial services sector listening sessions continue a statewide “Workforce Assessment” initiative launched to address the state’s skills gap by engaging Minnesota companies in developing precise projections of how many workers and professionals, with what kinds of skills, will be needed in which regions of the state, and for what kinds of jobs. Minnesota’s need for an educated workforce is greater than all but one other state and the District of Columbia. By 2018, 70 percent of all jobs in the state will require some postsecondary education beyond high school. Companies across Minnesota indicate that while many good jobs are available, there is a shortage of people with the needed skills and education to do these jobs. This skills gap constrains the state’s economic growth, increases unemployment and limits opportunities for both businesses and individuals.

To date, 50 sessions have been held addressing workforce needs in eight industry sectors: agriculture, energy, engineering, healthcare, information technology, manufacturing, natural resources and transportation. Sessions addressing workforce needs in the construction sector are being planned for spring. Data gathered from the sessions are being used by the state colleges and universities to better align certificate and degree programs, worker retraining and customized training programs with the needs of Minnesota business and industry.

Local chambers of commerce and economic development organizations, the Minnesota Initiatives foundations, the Governor’s Workforce Development Council and other groups are participating with MnSCU, DEED and the Minnesota Chamber in this coordinated effort.

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The Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system includes 24 two-year community and technical colleges and seven state universities. It is the fifth-largest higher education system of its kind in the United States.