Today, Secretary John Bryson traveled to Minneapolis, Minnesota, to tour facilities at Minneapolis Community Technical College (MCTC), along with Mayor R.T. Rybak and U.S. Representative Keith Ellison. After the tour, Bryson held a discussion with business leaders, students and educators—including Steven Rosenstone, Chancellor of Minnesota State Colleges and Universities, MCTC Graduate Mike Palm and Kimberly Arrigoni, President-Elect of Minnesota Precision Manufacturing Association—on how the Obama Administration can continue to support successful partnerships between community colleges and businesses to train and place skilled workers.
The rigorous education and hands on technical training offered at MCTC and other workforce training campuses has made a difference in the lives of people across the country. As President Obama said during his State of the Union Address a few weeks ago, having a strong workforce is a critical part of ensuring that our economy is built to last.
Bryson noted  that over the past two years, we’ve added over 3.7 million new jobs, including 404,000 manufacturing jobs. But there is still work to be done. That’s why the President has called for more programs and partnerships like the ones at MCTC. We need to support more colleges that teach people the skills that businesses need, and investing in the next generation of skilled workers is a smart investment that will pay off.
We have a lot of openings right now in science, technology, engineering and math – STEM fields, but we haven’t been able to fill them. Over the last decade, growth in job openings within these fields climbed three times as fast as other jobs. And these jobs are not just open to people with masters in Engineering or Ph.D.s in nanotechnology. Bryson told the audience that we also need workers with science and technology knowledge on the front lines: engineering technicians, computer support specialists, and network system analysts and administrators.
That’s why it is great to see the Administration’s steadfast commitment to training the next generation of skilled workers, having already invested $3.4 billion in STEM education in fiscal 2010. That money supports teachers, internships and workforce training efforts.
Bryson reminded the audience  that government doesn’t have all the answers. That’s why it’s imperative we collaborate with businesses and colleges like this one to do the most we can to help businesses grow, innovate, and create jobs. Supporting partnerships between businesses and technical colleges nationwide helps ensure that Americans have the skills they need to fill good paying jobs, and that businesses have the workforce they need to be competitive and support an economy that is built to last.