Here’s the good news from today’s college attendance report by the Minnesota Office of Higher Education:
Minnesota’s college participation rate hit an all-time high in 2008 with 70.2 percent of the state’s 65,220 high school graduates enrolling immediately in a public or private college after high school. Minnesota’s college participation rate has gradually increased over time and has been among the highest in the nation. But 2008 was the first year 70 percent of the state’s high school graduates enrolled immediately in college.
Here’s the data that should make you worry about Minnesota’s future workforce: Among those who did enroll in college after graduation, 28 percent enrolled out of state — and that percentage is increasing.
Is it a crisis? No. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be paying attention. It’s a point we’ve been arguing repeatedly the past few months.
As Minnesota’s workforce ages and shrinks and high school and college graduates decrease, what happens when large numbers of high school graduates go to college elsewhere — and possibly not return to the state? Who will do the economy building — and tax paying — to sustain Minnesota?
After jumping 15 percent this decade, the State Demographic Center projects only an 8.7 percent increase in Minnesota’s labor force over the coming 25 years.
Yes, lots of people come to Minnesota and the quality of life and the workforce is high. But we’ve been living on that for decades and there’s increasing worry that Minnesota just can’t rely on that any more.
We’re heading for a stretch where that labor force will age significantly. Meanwhile, the number of Minnesota high school graduates is forecast to slide through 2015 after peaking this year.Again, it’s not a crisis right now. And I have no idea how the private sector or government should respond. But the high school, college and labor force trends are running against Minnesota’s future. Shouldn’t we be talking about it?
If you have thoughts on today’s higher education data or Minnesota’s future workforce needs, post below or contact me directly.
Source: MN Office of Higher Education