This week, Saint Paul College held the Legislative Friends Breakfast where we welcomed legislators, business/industry partners, and employers. Chancellor Devinder Malhotra and Mayor Melvin Carter provided opening and closing remarks, respectively. A robust panel discussion was facilitated by JR Stephenson, One Stop Associate: “What is at stake for Minnesota’s economy with the shortage of a talented workforce? How does Saint Paul College provide the workforce talent Minnesota needs?” The panel of experts (Tom Nielsen, ’84, Mo-Tech Corp.; Laura Beeth, Fairview Health Services; Karin McCabe, McGough Construction; Co., Inc.; Brooke Anttila, International Institute of Minnesota) represented perspectives from Construction, Health, and Manufacturing occupational clusters.
Current students and alumni spoke of their experiences and higher education journeys at the College, elaborating on the outstanding quality of our faculty and staff, who have encouraged and challenged them to excel. The eloquence and thoughtful discussion presented by our student/alumni panelists (Dr. Zahra Roble, ’03, Nurse Practitioner; Pierre Young, Student Ambassador, Pedro Reed, Student & Mo-Tech Employee; Toya Dragseth, ’18, Application Analyst, Fairview Health Services; Holly Soldner, Cabinetmaking Student) is a perfect example of why employers seek out our students!
Here’s a short recap of a few of my activities
Meeting with two community members/neighbors
I met with the owners of confectioner Mademoiselle Miel and Afro Deli & Grill to discuss partnership opportunities for their employees (continuing education) at Saint Paul College. Both neighbors are passionate about the work that Saint Paul College does in our community.
Greater Metropolitan Workforce Council Board Meeting
I along with private and public sector leaders attended the Greater Metropolitan Workforce Council board meeting to discuss strategies that will benefit members of our communities who have traditionally been underserved and underemployed, with a special focus on sector partnerships and career pathways to prosperity. Saint Paul College plays a critical role by training qualified talent for Minnesota’s economy and workforce shortage. Check out saintpaul.edu/programs
Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundations Meeting
I attended the Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundations Community Impact Committee meeting as well as met with the executive vice president for Saint Paul & Minnesota Community Foundation to discuss strategic planning of the foundations.
Minnesota State Weekly Legislative WebEx
I attended the weekly Minnesota State Legislative WebEx conference call where we discussed the latest developments at the Capitol and the legislative priorities of the colleges and universities of Minnesota State.
Twin Cities Metro Baccalaureate Plan
I met with several Metro area college presidents and Minnesota State System Office leadership team members (Twin Cities Metro Baccalaureate) to discuss a Metro area baccalaureate plan.
Science Museum of Minnesota Board Meeting
I attended the Science Museum of Minnesota board of directors meeting.
President’s Advisory Council Planning Meeting
I along with dean of Institutional Research, Planning & Grants met with the chair of the President’s Advisory Council to discuss planning for the upcoming meetings for 2019 academic year.
In the news
MN DEED Press Release 3/7/19: Minnesota adds 3,800 Jobs in January - Unemployment rate ticks up to 3 percent
“Minnesota has started the year on a positive note with 3,800 new jobs,” said DEED Commissioner Steve Grove. “However, with revisions we continue to see job growth slowing across the state as our labor force continues to tighten.”
EducationDive.com: Associate degrees linked to better employment, earnings
A new study from the American Council on Education recommends that high school graduates pursue associate degrees as a way to improve their economic status — and that community colleges have better personal and academic supports for them once they get there.
Washington Post – Opinion: The risk to our economy from secular stagnation
Carrying forward work on the idea of secular stagnation and the closely related idea that fundamental economic forces are driving down the neutral rate of interest — where savings and investment are balanced at full employment.
Thank You Saint Paul College Faculty and Staff
Next week is Spring Break. We always think of how the students are so relieved to have a break from their busy school schedules, and how they look forward to the time off. This year with the quirkiness and severity of our winter weather, when we were relieved to have “snow days” that mitigated the worry of travel for so many, I know our faculty are feeling the crunch of some lost time in the classroom and meaningful student contact. I want to thank faculty and acknowledge their extraordinary efforts during this hard winter. It’s not always easy to keep students engaged and interested in the classroom, but when we’re all fighting the winter doldrums, it does take committed and inspired faculty like ours to keep the flame of education alive for our students. So to our faculty, I hope that you have an incredibly relaxing and well-deserved break and I want you to know that all of us at Saint Paul College feel very fortunate to have you here.
And to our staff who have assisted students in every way during the long stretch of challenging winter events, we are so grateful for your efforts in keeping everything on track. To our facilities staff in particular, thank you for your herculean efforts in keeping walkways, the circle drive and parking areas clear and safe for us all. You also kept our hallways and entryways safe, clean and dry despite all the heavy wet, snowy foot traffic!
Saint Paul College could not exist without all of the dedicated faculty, staff and administrators working together to keep our campus functioning in such an exceptional way. To those of you off for Spring Break, enjoy your time away. For those working through break, may the relative quietude on campus give you a nice break from the hubbub of the regular routine on campus.
My best, Rassoul
Rassoul Dastmozd, PhD
Saint Paul College