Great natural resources have played a critical role in establishing the Twin Cities region’s diversified, global economy. But human resources have been equally essential, and attracting and retaining a talented workforce will be even more important as baby boomers retire.
The metro area consistently has one of the country’s lowest unemployment rates. That’s great news, but there already are worker shortages in some professions. And the challenge will only grow more severe in the next five years, when the 16-county area will face an estimated shortage of 100,000 workers.
That statistic — and many more that point to the growing threat to regional economic growth — comes from Greater MSP, the regional economic development partnership. On Tuesday, after months of strategic development with more than 50 partners, Greater MSP launched an ambitious effort to address the challenge.
Labeled “Make It. MSP.” (www.development.makeitmsp.org), the initiative includes a new website with a job portal and a recruiter tool kit that should help sell prospects not just on employers, but on a quality of life consistently rated among the nation’s best.
Of course, boasting belies the Minnesota modesty so deeply inculcated even in transplants, so the site helps tell the story to millennial jobseekers, many of whom have multiple options on where to work and live.
Once they’re here, they’re likely to stay. In fact, there’s quantitative credence to the long-held assumption that it’s often hard to get professionals to come to the Twin Cities, but even harder to get them to leave. The region ranks first among the top 25 markets in young professional retention, but 19th in attracting millennials. For those with diverse backgrounds, the region ranks 14th in retention and 18th in attraction, suggesting more work needs to be done.
Greater MSP’s five strategic goals for the initiative are to improve social inclusion; support innovative talent; connect talent to our community; connect talent and employers, and close near-term talent gaps.
If the region wants to sustain leadership in the global economy, it will take talented workers, Greater MSP CEO Michael Langley told the Star Tribune Editorial Board. “From the organic growth rates here compared to what you need,” Langley said, “then you start saying we better get on our horse and do something about the future of our human capital pipeline.”
Langley’s right. And “Make It. MSP.” reflects the kind of cohesion this region is noted for. It’s a smart start toward addressing the kind of workforce shortage that some slow-growth metro areas will never face and many would welcome.
But of course the Greater MSP initiative alone will not fill the regional pipeline. Overcoming the obstacles to attracting and retaining talent will also require corporations, institutions and individuals to reach out to potential workers and, once they’re here, to make sure they stay.