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Reader's view: More technical training will boost area’s economy

Tony Stauber’s comments about the importance of technical education in our area should not be taken lightly. (I’m referring to Stauber’s June 10 “Educator’s View” column, titled “Job skills are lost in college focus.”)

Many of the new jobs in the Duluth-Superior area require people with technical backgrounds. It is not just a matter of serving people who have a technical aptitude; it is about cultivating the talents of those people to support the economic success of our region. A frequent example used is the trouble AAR is having finding workers locally who have airframe and power plant (A&P) certificates. Workers have to be attracted from outside the area to fill the A&P jobs because there haven’t been training programs locally.

On the flip side, there aren’t sufficient jobs for college graduates in the area. As a result, college graduates in most disciplines too often have to leave the area to find jobs that effectively utilize their degrees. A June 2 presentation from LinkedIn, posted on, showed the

Minneapolis-St. Paul area in third place internationally for the percentage (40 percent) of new residents who are recent college graduates. At the top of the list of where these graduates came from was Duluth. At the top of the list of what schools they came from was the University of Minnesota Duluth.

Duluth shouldn’t be surprised that the population continues to decline in spite of new jobs being created (“Population dips in Duluth, but officials are optimistic for 90,000,” May 26). Local workers aren’t qualified for many of the new jobs, and there aren’t enough jobs for which local workers are qualified. More and better technical training programs need to be provided to fill the high demand for skilled workers while also creating more jobs that will keep college graduates in the area.

Steven M. Savageau