Possible worker shortage pending

Daily Editorial Board

Annually, Minnesota experiences a net loss of about 9,000 adults under 25 as these people move elsewhere. At the same time, high school enrollment in the Midwest is projected to decrease by approximately 5 percent between 2013 and 2022. 
 
State officials are concerned that, in the face of these statistics, Minnesota will not be able to attract talented workers to keep its economy healthy and competitive. 
 
To help combat a potential workforce deficiency, “Make It. MSP,” a new campaign to attract talented individuals to Minnesota, recently launched. 
 
The University of Minnesota Board of Regents is also considering whether to adjust its enrollment strategies to face population trends. Fewer high school graduates mean fewer college students, and regents are discussing efforts to admit more Minnesota students so the University can continue to serve the community. 
 
Lowering ACT score requirements to make admission more accessible to Minnesota high school graduates is one of the most concrete strategies regents are considering.
 
We believe the strategies of “Make It. MSP” and the Board of Regents will be most productive if they complement each other. 
 
However, if Minnesota wants to attract the best talent, the University shouldn’t lower admission standards. Instead, schools statewide should focus on preparing more Minnesota students to meet the University’s standards, especially by addressing the Minnesota educational system’s racial achievement gap. Strategies that focus on the quantity of in-state students rather than students’ college preparedness will result in a state that remains starved of skilled workers.