The local technology industry is hot enough to ward off some of this fall’s cold.
The Minnesota High Technology Association (MHTA) says there about 11,400 Twin Cities-area jobs open at median salaries of $81,200 for project managers, software engineers, manufacturing, and quality engineers; business systems analysts and other jobs that require degrees or technical experience.
Moreover, employers throughout the state, such as growing Uponor, which just expanded its Apple Valley plant, are having a hard time filling entry-level manufacturing jobs that start at $15-an-hour-plus-benefits for high school graduates.
The Milken Institute, in its annual state technology survey, just named Minnesota seventh among the 50 states. Milken ranked us particularly high in the categories of technology and science workforce, human capital investment and our technology-company clusters that span several industries.
“We are really excited about the Milken report and the good progress we’re making,” said CEO Margaret Anderson Kelliher of the 300-member MHTA, which also hosts its annual dinner and awards program for nearly 800 attendees this week. “Our No. 1 challenge is the issue of workforce attraction and filling the [job] pipeline and … I think we’re doing better.
“We’re getting folks educated in the right skill sets. We spend more and more of our time working with member companies and public policy people on filling the gaps in the workforce. The job shortages today are the ones that are projected into the future as well. That’s important. In this industry, people can earn $90,000 in technology [on average according to the 2015 Cyberstates report] compared to the average Minnesota salary of $52,000.”
Minnesota’s technology industry added 5,500 jobs in 2015, a 4 percent increase over 2014. The state has more than 300,000 workers in the tech industry and in technology occupations in other companies.
The MHTA also is working with small companies on a growing, several-year-old internship program for qualifying small technology companies called "Scitechsperience." The program, which gets a small amount of funding from the state, next year expects to place about 270 interns in tech positions around the state with small companies who otherwise couldn't afford the program but who often hire them when they conclude school or training, as business permits.