MN FutureWork Series Eleven

Minnesota FutureWork is a collection of articles highlighting current trends and news that impacts industry, the economy, and careers. These articles originate from various media journals throughout the country.

Is There a Gender Wage Growth Gap?
By Ellyn Terry
Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta
November 14, 2016

Turning qualifications into jobs
The Economist
January 12, 2017

How tech is changing teaching, learning
By Aaron Frey
January 19, 2016
Community College Times

What does the future of jobs look like? This is what experts think
By Alex Gray
January 27, 2017

Wanted: Factory Workers, Degree Required
By Jeffrey J. Selingo
New York Times
January 30, 2017

6 Critical Skills for Tomorrow’s Workplace
By Ira Wolfe, President
Success Performance Solutions
January 31, 2017

The Most Exciting Medical Technologies of 2017
By Bertalan Mesko´
The Medical Futurist

MN FutureWork Series Ten

Minnesota FutureWork is a collection of articles highlighting current trends and news that impacts industry, the economy, and careers. These articles originate from various media journals throughout the country.

Educational Needs of the Workforce
By Steve Hine and Matt Bombyk
Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development
December 2016

The answer to America’s working class job crisis is hard, but not mysterious
By Simon Montlake
Christian Science Monitor
December 14. 2016

New Gig Economy Will Force Employers to Strengthen Screening of Growing On Demand Workforce
By Thomas Ahearn
ESR News
December 21, 2016

As more Americans retire, we must educate a new generation of leaders by making higher education affordable
By Anthony Benoit
Hechinger Report
December 27, 2016

STEM occupations: past, present, and future
By Stella Fayer, Alan Lacey, and Audrey Watson
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)
January 2017

Pay gap between college grads and everyone else at a record
By Christopher S. Rugaber
The Associated Press
January 12, 2017

Hot Jobs for 2017 – By Industry
By Karsten Strauss ,
January 25, 2017

Danny Sertich is a Young Entrepreneur With Big Dreams

Millennials are taking charge of their future very early on and they’re being exposed to this through unique student organizations helping students connect their academic learning with real-world experiences. We spent time with one young entrepreneur to learn about his business venture and how he got started.

Tell us who you are and what you do.

I am Danny Sertich, Minnesota DECA’s Vice-President of Communications and entrepreneur. As a state officer for Minnesota DECA, I represent 4,700 members. I also have the task of running our State Career Development Conference with the other officers and staff.

Outside of work and school I run cross-country and track, play hockey and golf, and canoe/camp with my friends. This coming summer [2017] I will be going on a 45-day expedition into the Arctic Circle with seven other crewmembers. This expedition will follow the Coppermine River in Canada to the Arctic Ocean. This is a 2nd year trip for the Les Voyageurs, Inc. program after I spent 30-days in the Canadian wilderness with a similar crew and over 350 miles of portaging and paddling.

I have one younger brother, Shjon, and we enjoy many of the same activities. With his blonde surfer-boy hair, he always finds a way to make me smile. I wouldn’t want a different person to be around at home!

We heard you’re a young entrepreneur. Tell us what your business is and how you got started.

Yes! I own Versolin a business consulting firm. I started this after I competed with a business plan for DECA in 2015-16. A category of DECA’s competitive events involved a market research project with local businesses. Students work with a real business to formulate a plan to solve a problem (determined by a topic area put out by DECA, Inc. each year). DECA picks these topics based on trending problems in the business world, so often times these problems apply to the business they’re working with, and the business actually finds a way to implement the plan.

With a combination of my experiences in DECA (the business plan and a market research project) I realized I could actually make money from the consulting that DECA students are already doing. I explored the idea while I worked for the Greater St. Cloud Development Corporation, and with the feedback from local businesses there was a common theme. Many business executives and owners had a disconnect with the upcoming Millennial Generation—they just didn’t understand us. Using this gap as my niche, I started Versolin in August and I am now using it to compete in DECA’s Business Growth Plan.

In the recent past, Versolin did more targeted marketing for other businesses than any other service we provided. Now, with the Business Growth Plan, I am evaluating the possibility to engage in the venture capital market (currently untapped in St. Cloud, MN).

What’s the most important advice you ever received?

“Find something you’re passionate about and stick with it,” or “use your talents to make money.”

These two pieces of advice are the reason I am here today. If I didn’t have the courage to start my business or run for office, I’d just be the average high school student.

What advice would you give other students?

If there’s one piece of advice that I’d like to give to other students, it’s to not listen to what other people say. Actually, listen to advice and ignore those who tell you that you can’t succeed.

Minnesota DECA is a career and technical education student (CTSO) organization that prepares emerging leaders and entrepreneurs for careers in marketing, finance, hospitality and management in high schools and colleges around the globe. Learn more about Minnesota DECA to learn about their mission and how you can get involved.

An interview with Mike Lehn: A Champion for Strengthening Automotive Business Partnerships with Schools

Business/industry and education partnerships—when done right—can reap tremendous benefits for the students, for the business, and for the entire community. We sat down with Mike Lehn, a champion for strengthening automotive business partnerships, to find out why investing in these partnerships is a win-win situation for everyone.

Tell us about your business/industry and what you do.?

Mike Lehn: As the Minnesota Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) Industry Education Alliance1 Manager, I work with Minnesota high school programs that have partnered with Automotive Youth Educational Systems programs. I assist those programs and their students with the transition from education to career. ASE students proceed through qualification steps that include a strong academic emphasis, personal development, job shadowing and industry based certification assessments and other criteria.

Pictrure of Mike Lehn.
Mike Lehn, Minnesota Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) Industry Education Alliance Manager

In your view, what role does CTE play in Minnesota’s workforce readiness?

Lehn: Career and Technical Education is the location where students in high school learn critical life skills which help them focus their passion towards a particular career. Students need to engage in high quality career education as early as middle school and that career education has to be continued throughout their high school experiences with the highest of quality of rigor and relevance.  This career instruction needs to be continuously reviewed by business and industry leaders to ensure that this education is up to date and that it aligns to today and tomorrow’s needs to support Minnesota’s economy.

Can you think of one technical skill that every person should know how to do?

Lehn: I have been working in the automotive industry for the past 40 years and am aware of a multitude of technical skills that technicians are required to know.  But the most critical in my mind is the ability to seek out valid and reliable information to correctly diagnose and repair vehicle problems.

Have you always been fascinated by vehicles? Do you like to drive them or fix them? Learn about careers in the transportation industry at CAREERwise Education, a Minnesota State Career and Education Source.

1 The ASE Industry Education Alliance is a group of organizations under the ASE umbrella providing a career resource from entry-level to retirement for automotive industry personnel and serves as a model for other industries. The ASE Industry Education Alliance consists of the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE), the National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation (NATEF), Automotive Youth Educational Systems (AYES), and the Automotive Training Managers Council (ATMC). For more information, visit the NATEF website at

MN FutureWork Series Nine

Job-to-Job Transitions in an Evolving Labor Market
By Canyon Bosler and Nicolas Petrosky-Nadeau
Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco
November 14, 2016

Regional Talent Pipelines: Collaborating with Industry to Build Opportunities in Texas
Dallas Federal Reserve
December 2016

Career Tech Credentials in Health at Community Colleges Yield Sizeable Gains
By Sarah Bohn, Shannon McConville, and Landon Gibson
Public Policy Institute of California
December 2016

Looking Ahead: 5 Jobs Trends to Watch in 2017
By Dr. Andrew Chamberlain
December 2016

IBM is preparing for an automated future that depends on ‘new collar jobs’
By Chris Weller
CT Post
January 6, 2017

AI is Coming Faster Than You May Think
By Tom Hood
January 9, 2017

Can cybersecurity boot camps fill the workforce gap?
By Jaikumar Vijayan
Christian Science Monitor
January 20,2017

An interview with Shelli Sowles: Career and College Readiness Specialist

It’s Career and Technical Education (CTE) Month in Minnesota. No better way to start it off than talking to Shelli Sowles, the 2017 National Career Guidance Award winner selected by The Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE). The ACTE Excellence Awards recognize individuals who have made extraordinary contributions to CTE, programs that exemplify the highest standards and organizations that have conducted activities to promote and expand CTE programs. Award winners serve as inspirational leaders to ACTE: they embody the core values of serving their students and being committed to CTE.

Picture of Shelli Sowles from century College, MN, recieving an award plaque.
Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Snow (left) presented the ACTE Career Guidance Award to Shelli Sowles (right), for her commitment to advocating, educating and communicating the value of career and technical education (CTE).

Who are you and what do you do?

Shelli Sowles: I am Shelli Sowles, the 2017 National Career Guidance Award winner, and I’m proud to represent the Association for Career and Technical Education in Minnesota, the Midwest, and across the nation.

In my position I coordinate the secondary Federal Carl Perkins grant for the Northeast Metro consortium, and also work at the 916 Career Tech Center as the Career and College Readiness Specialist.

I am the proud mother of three beautiful daughters, 7 year old Benna and twin 3 year olds Rayla and Dessa. Although I enjoy traveling and adventure, I’ve spent much of my life within a 10 mile radius. I was raised in North St Paul, graduated from Tartan High School, currently live in Vadnais Heights, and now work on the Century College campus.

My favorite part of the job is my co-workers; their passion for student success is evident in every part of their work.

In your view, what role does CTE play in Minnesota’s workforce readiness?

Sowles: I recently had the opportunity to testify in front of a Minnesota Senate committee and share the exciting opportunities students, business/industry, and communities have because of Career and Technical Education. When Career and Technical educators partner with communities and local businesses everyone wins.

Students gain:

  • a broad range of understanding the multiple facets of a career field,
  • motivation to stay engaged in their learning and graduate high school at a higher rate, and
  • confidence in themselves and a focus on their future.

Communities gain:

  • revenue from population growth and an increase in tax base when people live and work in their region, and
  • individuals who are “invested in” and “proud supporters” of the community.

Business and Industries gain:

  • knowledgeable employees who are pre-trained in a field,
  • employees who are invested in the company—resulting in less turnover, and
  • a workforce pipeline where students move directly from classroom to work.

I believe that Career and Technical Education is not only for “some students,” but can benefit all Minnesotans when we partner together.

Can you think of one technical skill that every person should know how to do?

On my job, I have learned so many skills that have come in handy in life. I learned how to care for an injured person (broken bone), learned how to change a tire, and I even how to curl hair to perfection!

So much math goes into the construction pathway and simply owning a home means you usually have projects around the house.  I believe everyone should have is basic construction knowledge—how to read a tape measure and safely pound a nail. It’s a money saver when you can fix those issues yourself with confidence.

Learn more about career and technical education programs at Century College.

Photo courtesy of Army Recruiting.

MN FutureWork Series Eight

Minnesota FutureWork is a collection of articles highlighting current trends and news that impacts industry, the economy, and careers. These articles originate from various media journals throughout the country.

What is Behind the Recent Increase in Labor Force Participation?
By Didem Tüzemen and Jonathan L. Willis
Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City
November 14, 2016

Companies Are in Short Supply of Cybersecurity Talent
By Xuyen Bowles
Newsfactor Business Report
December 5, 2016

Manufacturing jobs are returning to some places. But these jobs are different
By Ted Mellnik and Chris Alcantara
December 14, 2016
Washington Post

Attracting students to tech ed
By Rhonda Tracy
Community College Times
December 16, 2016

Temp workers, permanent effects: how temps changed the nature of the U.S. workforce
By Meredith Miller
Monthly Labor review
December 2016

How Minnesota’s community and technical colleges are responding to the rise of robots
By Ibrahim Hirsi
December 22, 2016

Trump’s Infrastructure Proposal Could Create 11 Million Jobs. Will the New Jobs Lead to Sustainable Careers?
By Anthony P. Carnevale and Nicole Smith
Georgetown Center for Education and the Workforce
January 2017