Chamber of Commerce members, Senator Susan Kent, and representatives from Century College and the Minnesota Career College Association, including Rasmussen College, the Art Institute and McNally Smith College of Music were among those who joined Globe University employees at its Lunch and Learn on Thursday, June 12 at the Woodbury campus. They all come together to hear Commissioner Larry Pogemiller from the Minnesota Office of Higher Education speak about post-secondary education in Minnesota and the role of career colleges.
Commissioner Pogemiller was appointed by Governor Dayton in 2011 after 28 years in the Minnesota Senate. He has a passion for education and always has the students’ best interests in mind. He offered the Lunch and Learn attendees statistics and his own expertise on everything from student debt to remediation and completion rates, and what it all means for higher education in the future.
“Post-secondary education has moved from being the step-child to the favorite son or daughter,” Pogemiller said in reference to the recent 10 percent increase in public investment in higher education in Minnesota.
Pogemiller stated that he thinks legislation will continue to invest in post-secondary education because we know it’s a priority in our economy. Proof of that can be seen in statistical data from the Minnesota Office of Higher Education, showing Minnesota has the second-highest level of higher education attainment in the country (after Massachusetts), with 70 percent of citizens having at least some college education.
“There is incredible pressure and a shortage of labor for Minnesota,” Pogemiller said. “We should have everyone coming out of public entitlement education – K-12 – prepared for post-secondary education at some point in their lifetime. A high school diploma is not the objective anymore.”
Although we all realize that college is becoming more important, Pogemiller pointed out that it’s still not an easy decision for many families, especially those in the lower-middle class. A growing population of Minnesotans must decide if college, and the debt that comes along with it, is worth it and, if so, which type of institution is right for them.
Pogemiller highlighted the fact that the student body in general is changing dramatically and becoming more diverse. There are more first generation college students, students of color and older adults who are pursuing higher education.
To fit the needs of all students, Pogemiller explained a new data collection system called Statewide Longitudinal Education Data Systems (SLEDS). SLEDS allows the Minnesota Office of Higher Education to track students’ progress all the way from kindergarten through post-secondary education and into their careers. It give us the opportunity to figure out what the circumstances of each student are and what we can do to help students in similar situations going forward.
Unlike baby boomers, the new generation knows it’s more realistic to hold three to four jobs in their lifetime versus just one. This puts an emphasis on soft skills, as well as technical skills needed for a particular job. Higher education institutions needs to keep this in mind as they aim to educate and prepare students for successful futures.
“It’s about being prepared to do whatever comes next,” said Pogemiller.
Visit www.globeuniversity.edu to learn more.