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ENEWS: Higher Ed Equity Goals, Business Reimagined, Mobile Innovations

Date Published: 08/29/2019

Author: Dane Smith

Higher Ed Equity Goals Reviewed

Growth & Justice has been instrumental over the last decade in convincing the state Legislature to establish specific statewide goals for post-secondary attainment and, more important,  to erase  the wide racial gaps in college degrees and job-training certificates.   A recent MinnPost story offers a clear-eyed assessment of progress toward those goals, noting that overall attainment of any sort of post-secondary certification has risen from 58 to 61 percent since 2015, when the official goal of 70 percent attainment by 2025 was enacted.  Success rates for communities of color are improving but still lag far behind the white attainment rate.   Key statistic:  Of the 120,000 credentials needed to put Minnesota’s attainment rate at 70 percent by 2025, 85,000 will have to be earned by nonwhite residents.   The article cites effective efforts to help students of color navigate toward workforce credentials, including the Summer Scholars Academy.

Business Roundtable Sets New Corporate Purpose

The national Business Roundtable created quite a stir recently with an inspirational statement calling for a reimagined idea of the corporation, dropping the notion that they should function entirely to serve  shareholders and maximize profits.   The statement called for “modernized principles’’ and concern for a wider set of stakeholders, including employees and communities, and fostering “diversity and inclusion, dignity and respect.”   Some on the right condemned the statement as heresy, while some on the left dismissed it as hypocrisy.   One of the more thoughtful critiques was penned by Minnesota’s own Steve Young, in a  Star Tribune commentary.   Young praised the new direction and noted how Minnesota business leaders have helped lay the groundwork a more enlightened capitalism.

Prairie Five Mobile Community Center  

In Southwest Minnesota, Prairie Five Community Action Council is driving an innovative multi-use bus around rural communities that are aging somewhat faster than others. This retrofitted transit bus is the first of its kind in the state and a model that could be replicated elsewhere. The mobile community center is, “designed to go to small communities and rural farm places to provide people with access to everything from telemedicine services and Skype connections to distant family or as a place to gather with friends to visit, get information on Medicare, or to join for services such as blood pressure screening.”

The goal of the bus is to help seniors age independently and stay in their homes longer. It seems to be working and has even caught the attention of the MN Department of Human Services. Assistant Commissioner for continuing care for older adults, Daniel Pollock, is quoted in the WC Tribune article saying, “It’s exactly the kind of pioneering service that I think is going to make a real difference in the lives of older adults in this community and many many others if we can use it as a model.”

Quote:  “Stakeholders count — customers, employees, suppliers, communities and the environment — and must be included in any measurement of firm success or failure. Minnesotans can take quiet pride in being ahead of this curve. The stakeholder theory of the firm is not a new concept. Many Minnesota companies have long been operated with stakeholders very much in mind.”  Steve Young—Global Executive Director of the Caux Roundtable for Moral Capitalism, in Star Tribune commentary cited above.

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