Why declining college enrollment isn’t (necessarily) a bad thing

By |2023-09-29T14:14:11-05:00April 27th, 2023|News|

For the better part of the last 60 years, Americans have been led to believe that the most viable path into a middle-class career is with a four-year degree and with it, often enough, thousands of dollars in accrued debt. Relatedly, some are calling recent dips in college enrollment a “crisis” that portends dire consequences for the economy. Not necessarily. Between 2020 and 2030, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that about 60 percent of new jobs in the economy will be in occupations that don’t typically require an associate’s, bachelor’s, or graduate degree. According to BLS, many of these jobs will be in construction, energy, transportation, equipment repair, as healthcare technicians and other occupations where most median wage rates already exceed national averages and don’t require workers to accrue college debt to qualify. Read the full article here.

Jason George: Labor shortage? That’s because job quality matters

By |2022-05-22T14:13:37-05:00May 22nd, 2022|Featured, News|

As growing numbers of employers warn of labor shortages , some have also taken that to mean that somehow Americans don’t want to work . This is simply not true. The so-called “Great Resignation” that followed the worst public health crisis in more than a century was not Americans suddenly deciding that they could live without a paycheck. It was about American workers deciding that job quality matters. Read the full article here.

If construction firms need workers, they should turn to unions

By |2022-04-07T15:38:58-05:00April 7th, 2022|Featured, News|

by Mark Ziegler Competition is the foundation of our free enterprise system. Just as business success requires an ability to compete for customers, it also depends on attracting and retaining qualified workers. As COVID 19 has disrupted just about every industry that relies on in-person or face-to-face work, there have been plenty of complaints about “labor shortages.” But not nearly enough discussion about what it takes to compete for labor. Read the entire article here.

Commentary: Why our clean energy future should be unionized

By |2022-02-14T11:48:09-06:00February 14th, 2022|Featured, News|

It is not exactly news to say clean energy could transform our region’s economy. In 2019, nearly half of Minnesota’s power came from sources like wind and solar. The state’s wind generation capacity is nationally ranked in the top 10 and North and South Dakota are not far behind. And recent research has shown that investments in this emerging sector would create more jobs — and more economic growth — than comparable investments in fossil fuel power generation. Indeed, some analysts have noted that the cost of building solar and wind facilities has plunged 72% to 90% over the past decade. Wind and solar are cheaper than existing coal plants and competitive with natural gas and nuclear alternatives. However, there are very real challenges that could threaten this progress. Read the entire article here

Your Turn: Infrastructure means good jobs

By |2021-12-10T14:48:02-06:00December 8th, 2021|Featured, News|

Minnesota stands to receive over $6 billion from the bipartisan federal infrastructure legislation signed into law this week. That means historic new investments to modernize outdated roads, highways and bridges that currently cost the average Minnesotan over $500 in preventable maintenance each year. It means upgrades to the public transportation, airports and water treatment facilities. It means expanding high-speed internet to the 83,000 Minnesotans who currently lack it, and lower internet costs for over a million residents who will be eligible for the affordable connectivity benefit. It means funding to protect our infrastructure from the extreme weather that cost us $10 billion over the last decade alone, electric car charging stations, and more. Read the entire article here

Workers are in demand, want to be in unions

By |2021-12-13T09:28:53-06:00December 1st, 2021|News|

It’s not just that supporting labor unions is good politics; it’s also good policy. American workers are quitting their jobs because they want family-sustaining wages, secure benefits, safe worksites, and less inequality. Employers are concerned about labor shortages and want predictable costs and a stable supply of skilled workers. The data show that labor unions are delivering. Read the entire article here

Report: Union labor offsets cost with efficiency, safety

By |2021-11-30T13:42:35-06:00November 30th, 2021|News|

Minnesota union construction workers make, on average, over $8 more in hourly wages and are more likely to secure a number of other benefits as opposed to their non-union counterparts, according to a new report. The report found these characteristics come without a higher cost to Minnesota employers, who reside in a state with one of the nation’s highest rates of construction unionization. A team of researchers from the Midwest Economic Policy Institute, the Project for Middle Class Renewal at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Colorado State University Pueblo released the report this month detailing the personal and economic impact of unions in Minnesota’s construction industry. “Minnesota’s union construction industry, the data shows, is no more costly than the non-union alternative, even though it produces higher wages, more apprentices, safer work sites and less reliance on government assistance programs,” Frank Manzo, report author and policy director for the Midwest Economic Policy Institute, said in an interview. Read the entire article here

Report: Minnesota’s union construction workers earn more without affecting project costs

By |2021-11-30T13:39:55-06:00November 30th, 2021|News|

ST. PAUL — Union construction work in Minnesota pays better than the nonunion peers without inflating project costs in the $16 billion industry, according to anew study out last week. Union contractors in Minnesota collected an average hourly pay of $33 between 2015 and 2019, according to the study, $8 more than their nonunion counterparts and only $2 less than the average Minnesota college graduate. Coupled with other findings in the study, Midwest Economic Policy Institute Policy Director Frank Manzo said Tuesday, July 6, is the takeaway "that Minnesota's union construction industry is no more costly than the nonunion alternative even though it produces higher wages." Using U.S. Census Bureau data, researchers at the institute, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Colorado State University-Pueblo found construction workers in Minnesota not only earned an average hourly pay 32% greater than nonunion workers, but had greater access to pension plans and relied less on government assistance as well. Less than 1% of union construction workers used the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program between 2010 and 2019, according to the study, compared to 13.6% of nonunion construction workers. Read the entire article here

Shortchanging workers is a flawed business model

By |2021-11-30T13:46:37-06:00November 30th, 2021|Featured, News|

Whether you call it “Striketober,” “Strikevember” or something else, there’s no denying the fact that American workers are having a moment. After enduring decades of wage stagnation, rising economic inequality and an unrelenting assault on their rights in statehouses and the courts, workers are finally pushing back. Millions are quitting their jobs or are going on strike. This doesn’t mean there’s a labor shortage.  It means there’s a shortage of good paying, family sustaining jobs. It shouldn’t require a once in a century pandemic to remind us that the cost of labor is not just whatever the boss is willing to pay. It should reflect the cost of ensuring employees have the requisite skills, and that their work sites are safe. It should enable workers to afford housing, health care, food, transportation and other basic needs near their jobs. Yet too often it does not. And when that happens, these costs are pushed onto the backs of taxpayers in the form of food stamps, housing vouchers and Medicaid. Read the entire article here

Guest Commentary: Apprenticeships beneficial to economy

By |2021-12-13T09:30:47-06:00October 16th, 2021|News|

Currently, these programs serve nearly 11,000 Illinois residents, making it our state's seventh-largest private post-secondary educational enterprise. They also employ nearly 3,000 instructors and support staff. In our analysis, we found that the economic impact of program expenditures create nearly 1,400 jobs in the local economy, boost our state's economy by over $400 million and add nearly $30 million to state and local tax revenues. Read the entire article here

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