Guest Column: Consider formula as you start your career

Published 8:54 pm Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Guest Column by Matt Bissonette

Did you know that the true ratio of jobs in our economy is 1:2:7? This ratio is fundamental to all industries. It was the same in 1950, 1990 and will be the same in 2030.  For every one job that requires a master’s degree or more, two jobs require a bachelor’s degree and seven jobs require a one-year diploma or two-year degree: 1:2:7.

A recent review of open positions in the greater Albert Lea area showed there were 40 jobs available that require less than two years of education and experience and paid between $30,000 and $49,000. The available positions included maintenance technicians, drivers with a commercial driver’s license (CDL), supervision and management positions, as well as auto and diesel technician positions. These represent high-skill, high-wage positions.

Matt Bissonette

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As part of Riverland Community College’s strategic plan, under the leadership of President Adenuga Atewologun, the Albert Lea campus was designated as the transportation, trade and industrial education center for the college. Some of the local offerings on campus include machining, welding, industrial maintenance, electrical maintenance, construction electrician, as well as auto and diesel mechanics. These programs produce the high-skill workers desperately needed to fill open positions in the region.

Riverland’s programs are designed and aligned to train the skills required by industry.  We collaborate with industry, secondary education and Workforce Development Inc. to educate and train individuals to fill the skills gap. Riverland, an affordable option for students, has higher placement rates due to engaged industry partners.

Entering the workforce with lower student debt gives a person a path forward. Education is a journey and having skills in a high-demand specialty provides an individual with mobility and opportunity. With lower debt and a high wage job, individuals can achieve a higher quality of life for themselves and their family.

It’s never too late to gain the skills that are in high demand and pay a high wage.  Riverland’s mission is to “inspire personal success through education.” What does personal success look like to you? It could be happening right now. Riverland is accepting enrollment for fall, and financial aid and/or scholarships may be available. 

Matt Bissonette is dean of business and technology, trade and industry, and health and wellness at Riverland  Community College. He is a member of the Albert Lea-Freeborn County Chamber of Commerce’s Business Education Partnership Committee.