How a skills gap may be forming in high school

Not much of this is around anymore

This week, MPR’s Ground Level and reporter Tom Robertson look at whether there really is a jobs-skills mismatch n Minnesota — what’s causing what we’re seeing, and what’s being done about it.

(Hint: It’s a lot more complicated than you think.)

I posted yesterday on a conversation Robertson had with Steve Hine, research director for the state Department of Employment and Economic Development.

Here’s a key section of Robertson’s piece on how a gap may have started in high school:

Why isn’t there more demand (for technical programs)? It may be partly because of an opportunity gap in high schools. In 2002, the number of industrial tech classes in Minnesota high schools began to drop. That’s when the No Child Left Behind initiative started shifting school resources toward the core subject areas of math and reading. Shop classes like machining, welding and robotics were reduced or cut. … The shift in curriculum priorities, combined with big budget problems in many school districts, forced schools to eliminate technical courses, staff and equipment.

The radio pieces air this week, but you can access their print versions on the Ground Level blog here.