FastTRAC exists to close Minnesota’s growing skills gap.
A changing economy and new technologies have opened up a rift between the skills employers need and the current skills of Minnesotans. By 2018, it is projected that 70 percent of Minnesota jobs will require some education beyond high school. Yet today only 40 percent of working adults in Minnesota hold a postsecondary degree.
The skills gap is a jobs issue.
At the national level, it is estimated that eliminating the skills gap would lower unemployment by 2.5 percentage points. There are nearly 4 million Americans who could return to work if they had the right training. Meanwhile, a significant percentage of businesses report moderate or serious skills shortages.
A true win-win opportunity.
Providing Minnesotans with the right skills empowers them economically and helps businesses thrive. The overall result is a prosperous and competitive Minnesota that attracts new businesses and improves our quality of life. Now is the time for Minnesota to build on its long tradition of investing in the skills of its citizens.
We must focus on adults already in the workforce.
Roughly two million adults in Minnesota lack a postsecondary credential of any kind. Demographic projections tell us that training these individuals is essential to our long-term economic growth. Why? Because today’s workers will still make up over two-thirds of the state’s workforce in 2035.
Programs like FastTRAC have a strong track record.
Most postsecondary education programs are not designed with adult learners in mind, and as a result, many fail to achieve consistent, meaningful results for their students. Career pathways programs like FastTRAC, on the other hand, have a clear mission and a strong track record serving adults.
To date, 88 percent of participants in FastTRAC credit-bearing integrated Adult Basic Education/postsecondary courses have successfully completed the integrated course.