Posted on Aug 14, 2017
Bill Blazer, Julie Wearn
Our speaker today was introduced by Terry Gilberstadt.  Bill Blazer is senior vice president of public affairs and business development at the Minnesota Chamber.  He is responsible for the chamber’s policy and political programs and directs Grow Minnesota and the Chamber’s statewide business retention and assistance program.  His topic was the “Importance of Immigrants in the Workforce”.
Bill began by presenting the facts that by 2026 without immigration our workforce goes negative in Minnesota.  He presented a wonderful group of facts to help us appreciate the problems our state will face in the future without attracting and integrating immigrants into the workforce.  It used to be that people moved into the state from other parts of the US and that young people stayed in the state or returned after college.  Both of those situations seem to have changed in the last 10 years.
The #1 reason the companies leave the state is that they cannot find competent workers.
With our work population at the current rates this problem will persist until 2070.
The profile of immigrants is a higher group with an advanced degree than US residents but also a higher % of no high school.  Natural US citizens tend to trend in the middle.
What can we do to help the problem in our own communities?  Offer diverse community services and training opportunities.  Also promote a welcoming community to all.  Minnesota has benefitted from large immigrant owned companies locating here in the areas of iron and steel, food processing and high tech.
Bill gave us a great insight and a very well-structured talk backed up by research from the U of M.  It gave us both challenge and hope for how we are presenting and focusing our state so it will be vibrant for coming generations as it is for us due to all of our ancestors who located here, many of them immigrants themselves, promoting the state and developing for future growth.
Thanks Bill and your work at the Minnesota Chamber is “right on” to promote business and economic growth in the state.