This week I had the opportunity to engage in conversation with two students of very different backgrounds. One was a male non-traditional student who will be transferring to the University of Minnesota College of Science and Engineering, and the other was a female student who transferred to Saint Paul College from a private exclusive university. Both students expressed having positive experiences at Saint Paul College, and how caring our staff and faculty are both inside and outside the classroom.
This week it seemed even more of a privilege to be able to talk directly to our students and also listen to them speak at various meetings with legislators, given the tragedy that took place in Parkland, Florida. It has been difficult for all of us to witness the unbearable sorrow and grief of the whole Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School community. It has reminded me about how much I treasure and value our college community and students. I am grateful to all of our faculty and staff who truly care about our students, making them feel at home, safe, and welcome at Saint Paul College, especially during a time such as this.
Here's a short recap of my week:
House Senate Capital Projects Committee
This week, the College hosted a luncheon for 30 members of House Senate Capital Projects Committee. The committee toured Saint Paul College Robotics/CNC/Machining lab as well as the Health and Science Alliance Center. I made a presentation to this group about Saint Paul College Higher Education Asset Preservation (HEAPR) and Innovation and Academic Excellence project. The highlight of this event was a dialogue among the legislators, students, College faculty, and academic deans. The State of Minnesota will face shortages of qualified and skilled workers. Saint Paul College and Minnesota State System are the solutions by providing the right qualified talent pool that employer across Minnesota need in order to stay competitive. We need the State of Minnesota to invest in higher education and workforce training programs.
Central Corridor Anchor Partnership
I attended the Central Corridor Anchor Partnership (CCAP) Executive Committee meeting to discuss and promote workforce system strategies for the healthcare occupational sector.
Greater Metropolitan Workforce Council Board Meeting
I along with private and public sectors 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
Congresswoman Betty McCollum
Congresswoman Betty McCollum, who represents the people in the Fourth District in the United States House of Representatives, visited our campus. She is a passionate advocate for education, Saint Paul College and our students. She met with myself and other cabinet members, deans, and students and discussed the College and programs. Our students were very inspiring as they shared their personal stories and experiences with Congresswoman McCollum
Neighborhood House Finance Committee Meeting
I attended a Neighborhood House Finance Committee meeting. Their mission is to help people gain the skills, knowledge and confidence to thrive in diverse communities. Neighborhood House is an intentional partner of Saint Paul College.
Minnesota Precision Manufacturing Association (MPMA)
I along with dean of Career and Technical Education and the executive director of Friends of Saint Paul College Foundation hosted and provided a tour to the executive director of Minnesota Precision Manufacturing Association. We are grateful to MPMA for providing scholarships for high demand occupational cluster training in agriculture, Health, IT, and Manufacturing. For more information, please see: https://www.twincities.com/2018/01/23/minnesota-state-announces-400-scholarships-for-high-demand-programs/.
Regional Career Pathways Employer Convening Meeting
I gave the welcome keynote to a group of educators as well as state employees who are engaged with Career and Technical Education movement. The essence of this gathering was how to best engage employers and technical program advisory committee members in the operation, vitality and health of CTE programs.
I gave the welcome keynote to a group of counselors and navigators from achievempls. It is the strategic nonprofit partner of Minneapolis Public Schools (MPS), and they rally community support to inspire and equip Minneapolis students for careers, college and life.
Meeting with Director of City of Saint Paul Public Works
I met with the new Director of City of Saint Paul Public Works. This nationally accredited department is responsible for the design, construction and maintenance of the street, sewer and drainage infrastructure systems in the city. We discussed the critical role that Saint Paul College plays in escalating economic development and prosperity for the residents of Saint Paul and surrounding communities.
Comprehensive Workforce Solutions Steering Committee Meeting
Along with the interim executive director and four other Minnesota State presidents, we met about the development of a Comprehensive Workforce Solution model 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.
The dean of Career and Technical Education and the executive director of Marketing were interviewed by a MinnPost reporter to discuss how Saint Paul College is providing access to affordable and accessible higher education and training that leads to gainful and high wage employment for the residents of St. Paul and the greater Twin Cities.
You may find these articles of interest:
These colleges turn low-income students into middle-class earners — but how?
On the website of The Hechinger Report – Covering Innovation & Inequality in Education: A small, somewhat pricey 50-year-old program in New York City is a prime example of an engine of social mobility, economists find
After decades of pushing bachelor’s degrees, U.S. needs more tradespeople
On PBS.org News Hour by Matt Krupnick, The Hechinger Report
As California budgets millions to rebrand long-disparaged vocational education, there are an estimated 30 million jobs in the U.S. that pay at least $55,000 per year
Since 1910, Saint Paul College Career and Technical Education programs have been preparing our students for jobs in the construction and building trades, and technical careers. As always, the College stays current by engaging employers and business/industry representatives who serve as volunteers on all the program Advisory Committees. We are proud of the legacy and commitment and contributions of Saint Paul College to these occupations. We are committed to deliver on our promise, when our students start here, they can go anywhere.
Saint Paul College has been a change agent and a leader by welcoming thousands of students and giving them the opportunity to dream more, learn more, and become more. Through all of our efforts, we promise we will continue to do more and transform many more lives. I am reminded of a quote from President Barack Obama: "Change will not come if we wait for some other person or if we wait for some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for."
I will end this week’s blog by wishing everyone a relaxing extended weekend as Monday, the College will be closed because we will be celebrating Presidents Day.
Rassoul Dastmozd, PhD
Saint Paul College