Communicating with your employees on public policy issues is a theme we’ve presented to Partnership members on a number of occasions. Why it’s important to have effective employer-employee communications was clearly demonstrated during the 2013 legislative session when we effectively engaged you and your employees to defeat the largest pieces of the business-to-business sales tax proposal. While we’ve talked about this issue a number of times, few have brought as much strategic insight and tactical experience, or demonstrated as much success with employer communication tools as the president and CEO of the Business-Industry Political Action Committee (BIPAC), Greg Casey. Casey’s admonition to business leaders was this: your employees are waiting for you to communicate with them, and that employers “continue to be the most credible source for information on public policy issues that affect your company.”
“Higher education is critical for the health and prosperity of our Minnesota communities.” The Itasca Project – an employer-led civic alliance that the Partnership has worked closely with in the past – recently completed a report titled “Higher Education Partnerships for Prosperity” (link here).
Much of the report details how, once students enter the state’s higher ed system, we can better ensure that they are getting the skills they need to compete for jobs in the 21st century. One of the failings that the report identifies – and an issue that the Partnership has focused on over the past several years – is the fact that 40% of the students entering college are unprepared for their coursework. The remediation that takes place (the re-teaching of basic skills that should have been completed in high school), costs millions of dollars and wastes time – burdening student and teacher alike.
Improving Minnesota’s K-12 system is not only important in its own right, but will have long term benefits to our state’s higher ed system as well. We need both systems to function effectively and efficiently if Minnesota is going to successfully compete for jobs in the future.
Eric Mahmoud’s record as executive director of Harvest Prep and Best Academy in North Minneapolis is proof that academic achievement has nothing to do with skin color, poverty or ZIP codes. Mahmoud’s schools – which he and his wife started in their home in 1985 and which now serve 1,000 kids – gained attention last year when their students out-performed students in the Edina and Wayzata school districts. Mahmoud’s strategy – addressing five key education gaps in preparation, time, belief, teaching and leadership – has produced the only school in North Minneapolis to meet its adequate yearly progress goal.