College system is seeking a comprehensive picture of what employers are looking for in workers.
The Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system is set to map the state's workforce needs -- region by region, industry by industry.
The system's chancellor, Steven Rosenstone, announced Wednesday that MnSCU, along with the state Chamber of Commerce and Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, will hold 40 "listening sessions" statewide to gather data from businesses.
"By the end of this set of conversations, no business or industry in the state of Minnesota can say, 'No one asked me what we need,'" Rosenstone said.
The meetings start April 5 with transportation and will span the fields of health care, manufacturing, energy and agriculture. A full list is at mn workforceneeds.eventbrite .com. At each session, employers will respond to questions including, "What skills or credentials do you expect to be looking for in the next two years?"
After compiling the answers, the public higher education system will adjust and match its program offerings and customized training. Two-year colleges are already asking such questions of the businesses in their areas, Rosenstone said, but this effort is bigger and broader.
"The individual relationships are really important," he said. "But we need to understand an entire sector, across the entire state."
Business leaders raised the issue of the state's growing skills gap at a daylong jobs summit convened by Gov. Mark Dayton in October. Solving it is one of his, and higher education's, top priorities.
Jenna Ross 612-673-7168