Editorial: Ensuring the futurePublished 5:09pm Saturday, August 17, 2013
Larry Pogemiller, state Chancellor of High Education, made a poignant observation Thursday when he remarked the state needed to do all it could to attract more students to postsecondary schools. Of course, Pogemiller was at Riverland Community College Thursday as part of a workshop on the Minnesota Prosperity Act, which allows undocumented students to attend college at in-state tuition rates, as well as access state and private financial aid to pay for school.
We wholeheartedly support any effort to get workers trained to take on the deluge of jobs which will open over the next few years.
Minnesota, like much of the U.S., will soon face a crisis as a large portion of baby boomers decide to retire. The mass exodus of experienced workers will leave many job openings over the next few years, as many as 5 million in the U.S. by 2018, according to 2010 studies.
That translates to tens of thousands of open jobs in Minnesota over the next decade, which could have a huge impact on our state’s economy. If there aren’t enough workers for the state’s manufacturing, medical, agricultural and technical jobs, among other fields, our state could see a serious economic impact through a lack of services, slowed production and a bevy of other ill side effects.
That’s why legislation like the state’s Prosperity Act, also known as Minnesota’s version of the DREAM Act, is important, regardless of the controversy surrounding immigration reform. Much of the questions surrounding undocumented student status may be answered through upcoming federal immigration reform, and we treat that as a separate issue.
Minnesota needs to do everything in its power to ensure students from all backgrounds have the education they need to replace retiring residents. It’s a necessary step to focus on higher education efforts, and it makes for a stronger Minnesota economy in the long run.