Recent news articles have stated that while 45% of Minnesota’s workforce currently has post-graduate education, it is anticipated that 70% of Minnesota’s workforce will require post-graduate education by 2018. *
Why such a big jump in such a short time-span?
Changes in technology have rapidly led to changes in how we conduct business. Looking back, here are a few examples we’ve experienced:
Five years ago, none of our foremen or supervisors used computers on the job. Today, they all have them in their trucks. They use them frequently for scheduling, communicating, reporting field activity, and logging employee times for payroll.
Five years ago our estimators worked up most of our bids by hand or on a spreadsheet. Today we use elaborate computing systems designed for bidding our work, which helps us produce more consistent bids and proposals, and track our progress.
Five years ago, one would never see a mechanic in our shop with a computer. Today, these mechanics use the computer for product reference, checking equipment hours and locating equipment in the field when the computer tells them that service is necessary, and for parts inventory.
Five years ago, our best equipment operators all operated by “feel.” Today, electronic controls are the norm. A large role of an equipment operator today is to set-up and permit the electronic controls to operate parts of the machinery properly.
In just the past five years we’ve transformed our office to paperless reporting. That means more computers. Computers expand, not contract, our need for knowledge, as greater amounts of information move faster.
In an industry considered relatively stable and low-tech, we sure have a lot of changes occurring. Based on just some of the changes we’ve endured, plus more changes on the horizon, it is easily feasible to understand the need for higher education.
Specifications continue to evolve becoming more demanding and complex. Will construction workers of the future have 2-year or 4-year college degrees?
* www.minnpost.com interview with MNSCU’s new Chancellor, Steven Rosenstone published August 15, 2011.