Just this week Chancellor Devinder Malhotra was on MPR talking with Kerri Miller about Trade skills in high demand and the importance of technical education and careers. A 39-year old male called in to the program wondering how someone his age could fit in at college to pursue a new career, and the chancellor talked about how the average age for two-year Minnesota State students was over 25 years old - and that the caller would fit right in on any campus. He’d certainly fit in on the Saint Paul College campus. For instance, we just happened to feature Erik Steen, a Welding Technology student in our college magazine. Erik had spent 20 years as a martial arts instructor, but needed to find a new career after a spinal injury. He was steered to Saint Paul College for welding by a blacksmith who noticed Erik’s interest in his craft. Erik is not alone at the College – people come from all different kinds of career paths to start a new path here. Their reasons are as varied as the people themselves.
Many people are discovering the value of a trade or technical education in building and construction trades, machining, manufacturing and transportation careers. Our spring semester is starting soon - I urge anyone interested to check out our Career and Technical Education programs, and learn about the advantages and benefits of the degrees, certificates and diplomas offered at two-year colleges: affordability, top-notch education and training on state-of-the industry equipment.
Here’s more information about the trades training in the tight labor market: Minnesota's tech colleges see surge in skilled-trades training
Our dedicated faculty and staff continue to facilitate opportunities for success for our students. I am grateful to our faculty and staff who go the extra mile each and every day. They are the game changers for our students and establish a solid foundation for student success and achievement inside and outside of classrooms.
Here’s a short recap of a few of my activities this week:
One Minnesota Transition Advisory Board
I along with the other members of the new One Minnesota Transition Advisory Board met at the State Capitol for the first time. This advisory board is led by Lt. Governor-elect Peggy Flanagan, and consists of voices from across the state to provide counsel and advice for the transition. The board will help Flanagan and Governor-elect Tim Walz fill “important roles in their administration, shape the state’s budget priorities for the next year, and provide diverse knowledge and experiences in facing Minnesota’s biggest challenges.” We discussed strategies and processes in selecting the leaders to fill executive-level positions (Commissioner, Deputy Commissioner and Assistant Commissioner) in state agencies and in the Governor’s Office. For more information on how to apply for a leadership position with the new administration, please see: Executive Branch Leadership Careers.
Construction System Workforce System Change
The dean of Workforce Training and Continuing Education and Business and I met with the representatives from Associated General Contractors of Minnesota and Builders Association of Minnesota to discuss the next steps of the construction sector partnerships to better meet the skilled workforce talent for construction related occupational clusters. This project was funded by the McKnight Foundation and Minneapolis Saint Paul Regional Workforce Innovation Network and Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED).
Meeting with Community Leaders
The major gift officer of the Friends of Saint Paul College Foundation and I met with two community leaders who are passionate supporters of Saint Paul College to discuss philanthropy, potential for partnership, in-school and after-school youth leadership programs, and Minnesota’s current and future economic and workforce trends.
Pillsbury United Communities
I met with a team of administrators at Saint Paul College to discuss potential partnership opportunities with Pillsbury United Communities to establish Career Technical Education (CTE) pathways for their youth. Pillsbury United Communities works with underestimated populations across Minneapolis to foster the resilience and self-sufficiency of individuals, families and community as a whole. This organization designs solutions that address a spectrum of intersecting needs- from education to employment to health. They are creating a new model for nonprofit organizations with their interconnected system of programs, community centers, and social enterprises.
Comprehensive Workforce Solutions
I along with four other presidents of colleges and universities of Minnesota State met about the development of a Comprehensive Workforce Solution model for the East Metro region, using the expertise and resources of our customized training and continuing education units to strengthen Minnesota's workforce in a manner that is financially sustainable and market competitive. This model must enable us to serve more employers more proactively, more comprehensively, while delivering greater value.
Neighborhood House Board Meeting
I attended a Neighborhood House Board meeting. Neighborhood House is a multi-service agency in St. Paul that provides free wrap-around services for people when they need it most, such as help with basic needs, education, youth programs, and health and well-being.
Hennepin County Workforce Leadership Council Meeting
I attended the Hennepin County Career Pathways meeting to discuss the intentional and engaged role that Saint Paul College can play in devising career pathways in construction, IT, business, finance, health, service, manufacturing, transportation and skilled trades.
Saint Paul Promise Neighborhood
I attended a Saint Paul Promise Neighborhood Board of Directors meeting to discuss progress with current strategic planning, Promise Neighborhood outcomes, and current strategic priorities as we embark on a new legislative session.
In the news
PR Newswire: BREVENA Laboratories' Introduces Skin Expert, Susannah Courteau
Courteau, a licensed esthetician, graduated from the Esthetician Certificate program at Saint Paul College in 2004.
Pioneer Press: Charlie Awards announces nominees for best in local food and drink
The winners will be announced at the January 27 Charlie Awards ceremony, followed by a food event featuring food prepared by culinary students from ProStart and Saint Paul College.
Pioneer Press: We asked what people are thankful for. Here is what they told us
Interesting perspectives of thankfulness from people all across the area, of which I was happy to be a part – and I am most thankful for all connected to Saint Paul College.
Hennepin History Museum Exhibit: LifeCYCLE: Stories from the Minnesota Bike Community
Marques Watson, pictured above, is a Saint Paul College student recently featured in our College Magazine article Power of YOU student and Philando Castile Scholarship recipient. He is now part of the special new exhibit at the Hennepin History Museum. He is one of eleven individuals to represent the diverse backgrounds, ages, gender identities and ethnicities found in the cycling community - all of whom see the transformational possibilities of bikes and cycling in their own lives and in their communities. Marques’ transformation was in discovering his interest in an engineering major through his work as a bike mechanic. You can read more about Marques in A preview of the LifeCYCLE Story. I am so proud of Marques and his accomplishments, and am very grateful that this fine young man chose Saint Paul College.
I will end this week’s blog by wishing everyone a relaxing weekend.
Rassoul Dastmozd, PhD
Saint Paul College