Northland Technical College, Economics Developers Cena. Manpower Insight into Amy Klobuchar – The Grand Fork Herald

East Grand Forks – The problems of financial developers and technical college teachers in East Grand Forks and the shortage of manpower in the region extend beyond the shortage of people to fill the job.

On Wednesday, March 30th, Northland Community & Technical College administrators, local financial developers, and chamber executives met with U.S. troops on the East Grand Forks campus in the Northland. The meeting was convened on the recommendation of D-Minnesota in D-Minnesota. Klobuchar did not attend the meeting, but addressed members via a pre-recorded video message. When her message ended, the discussion on how to deal with the problems faced by job seekers, tech ed students and employers was like an explosion of anxiety and suggestions for help.

There are issues ranging from a lack of awareness of how to participate in apprenticeship programs to federal government regulations surrounding financial aid for two-year college students, and how those college administrators can spend grant dollars. Child care is also an important issue for a person who wants to enter the labor force or take up vocational training – the lack of childcare will prevent people from working and studying.

Klobuchar arranged nine meetings across the state to hear feedback on workers’ issues and to inform future legislative ideas.

“We need your input,” she said. “You’re at the forefront, you know about your industry, I know you have a lot of good ideas.”

Klobuchar said childcare is a barrier for students and workers, which is not available or affordable for many. They have co-sponsored bilateral legislation in the Senate to educate and retain childcare workers.

Northland President Sandy Kiddo said many Northland students are parents and some are unmarried parents. Given waiting lists in places like the East Grand Forks and Thief River Falls, it can be difficult to find quality child care – the number of children is greater than the number of places available to them.

“People who are not in the labor force should have access to child care so they can join the labor force,” Kiddu said.

Paul Gorte, director of economic development at East Grand Forks, said the city needs to add more than 200 places for pre-kindergarten children. Kiddu said a similar number of sites would need to be added to Thief River Falls, which also has a Northland campus.

Another problem for workers is that people are already working. As of February, the unemployment rate in Minnesota was 2.7%, according to data from the Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. In his message, Klobuchar said that there are 205,000 open jobs in the state and that is a record high.

Barry Wilford, president and CEO of the East Grand Forks / Grand Forks Chamber, said looking at unemployment rates in other sectors to attract workers is now an outdated idea, and those rates are very low. Increasing workers’ participation by focusing on providing the necessary skills is an opportunity for colleges like the Northland because they are fast and adaptable.

“We’re playing this game – we’re going to attract people from other areas,” Wilford said. “I have news for you. The unemployment rate is zero everywhere.”

Some of them may be workers from abroad. In his message, Klobuchar said he supports raising the bar for temporary work visas in various sectors, including the medical sector. Although the immigration law could be amended to allow more people to enter the country, Wilford argued that doing so was a “political problem”.

Apprenticeships are another problem. Klobuchar has sponsored a number of bills related to apprenticeships, such as allowing workers to earn credit for completed apprenticeships. But not all businesses know how to register for apprenticeship programs. Meeting participants were asked to re-package and centralize the controls surrounding such programs so that business owners know where to look for information.

Kiddu said the restrictions on financial aid do not apply to Northland students working in a school-based approach to education. In that model, working students come to school when a particular class is needed. It’s problematic when filling out a traditional school year – based application. They demanded more flexibility for financial assistance.

Kiddu and other participants also demanded more flexibility in spending government grants. When Northland receives a grant to set up a new program, for example, the grant does not allow for administrative expenses or marketing, which means it goes out of school’s pocket to advertise the new program.

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