Minnesota may be called the "Land of 10,000 Lakes," but the 12th largest state in the U.S. actually has more than 15,000 lakes, which makes it a recreational paradise. In 2013, Minnesota was home to 5.42 million residents, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, and about 60 percent of them lived in the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area. Minnesota's economy is bolstered by a diverse array of high-growth industry sectors. Manufacturing, construction, health care, green energy, bioscience and business/financial headquarters all are industries expected to perform well in the coming years, meaning that students enrolled in Minnesota vocational and technical schools may wish to seek a number of career opportunities.
According to the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (MNDEED), manufacturing and construction were the sectors experiencing the greatest amount of job growth between 2012 and 2013. Education and health services, professional and business services, and leisure and hospitality also experienced strong growth. Below is a sampling of some of the industries employing the largest numbers of people in Minnesota, as well as the projected employment growth for those sectors between 2010 and 2020:
- Production: 216,090; 4.9 percent growth (manufacturing)
- Construction and extraction: 85,170; 39.3 percent growth
- Business and financial operations: 155,890; 8.6 percent (financial activities) and 16.6 percent (professional and business services)
- Education, training, and library occupations: 154,240; 31.7 percent (education and health services combined)
- Health care practitioners and technical occupations: 158,240
Minnesota economy and wage information
MNDEED has identified a number of key industry sectors that are expected to be very important in Minnesota in the years to come, because they are high-growth and high-pay industries. These are manufacturing, bioscience, alternative power (particularly wind), clean technology and customer call centers. Following are a few positions in these key sectors that students at Minnesota vocational and technical schools can prepare for, with mean annual salary information for May 2013 from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS.gov):
- Mechanical drafters: $55,320
- Industrial machinery mechanics: $50,940
- Computer-controlled machine tool operators, metal and plastic: $47,640
- Agricultural and food science technicians: $39,050
- First-line supervisors of retail sales workers: $38,550
According to the Minnesota High-Tech Association, Minnesota will need approximately 188,000 qualified workers in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields by 2018, to fill the positions in these key economic sectors. A terrific first step to helping fill those needs is to explore earning your training at one of Minnesota's vocational and technical schools.