Sen. Amy Klobuchar’s visit on Wednesday to LINDAR Corp. in Baxter placed a spotlight once again on a familiar yet troubling refrain we’ve heard from certain business owners. One of their challenges, in a region with high unemployment numbers, is finding highly skilled workers.
The difficult-to-fill jobs are not the stereotypical “strong back, weak mind” manufacturing jobs of decades ago. Those jobs are largely gone. Their era has passed. As Klobuchar noted on the tour vocational-technical degrees are “not your grandfather’s degrees.” Modern post-secondary training for manufacturing jobs are increasingly sophisticated and the jobs are very often free from the heat and dirt associated with technical vocations.
As is usually the case, education is the key to a successful career, and that no longer means a college degree. New manufacturing jobs are challenging, using state-of-the-art technology. The smart high school students who find this path appealing should do everything they can do to prepare themselves for the jobs of the future. That’s where the Brainerd Lakes Chamber’s Bridges Workplace Connection plays a key role. The program puts emphasis on school-business cooperation that will guide interested students to high-paying careers that require specific training.
This sort of training is one example of the type of investment in education that can help pull the U.S. out of its current economic downturn. We shouldn’t let a lack of commitment to training and education stand behind good workers and a good-paying job.