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People Are Our Best Assets: Unveiling the Economic Dynamics of Ramsey County

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21 February 2024

Top 10 Trends to Watch in Ramsey County’s Workforce Landscape: Part Two

Ramsey County, a dynamic hub nestled in the urban heart of Minnesota, boasts a rich tapestry of diversity and talent that forms the cornerstone of its economic vitality. With nearly 550,000 residents calling Ramsey County home, each individual adds a unique thread to the fabric of the community. As we delve into the intricate web of demographics and workforce dynamics, it becomes evident our people are not merely residents but the driving force propelling our county towards a brighter future. 

"Ramsey County is more than just a geographical location; it's a vibrant community brimming with potential," remarks Erin Olson, Director of Strategic Research at RealTime Talent. "Our people continue to be our best asset, and their contributions are invaluable in shaping the economic landscape of our county."

Strength in diversity

The workforce potential of Ramsey County’s population is presented in detail in the RealTime Talent study titled Top 10 Trends to Watch in Ramsey County’s Workforce Landscape. Beyond the defining numbers, the diversity within our population truly sets us apart as a populace representing various racial and ethnic backgrounds.

"Diversity is not only the present reality for Ramsey County but a blueprint for the future," states Olson. "Diversity is a competitive advantage for Ramsey County.”

Indeed, diversity extends beyond demographics; it permeates every facet of our workforce, driving innovation and creativity. The county's Diversity Index, a measure of racial and ethnic diversity, has shown a steady upward trajectory and, at 61.4%, is currently the second highest of all the state’s counties. The kaleidoscope of cultures, represented as Minnesota’s youngest and most diverse county, translates to a wealth of talent available to Ramsey County businesses.

Education to nurture talent

As we navigate the educational landscape of Ramsey County, it's evident that our commitment to nurturing talent begins at a young age. With robust initiatives, such as Youth Works!, aimed at supporting local youth and providing access to education and career opportunities, we lay the foundation for future success.

"Our schools play a pivotal role in shaping the next generation of leaders," notes Olson. “By supporting the academic persistence of underrepresented groups and fostering an environment of inclusivity, we pave the way for a more equitable and prosperous future for all.”

Ramsey County's dedication to educational attainment is evident in the rising levels of degree completions across various demographic groups. In 2021, 45,019 students were enrolled in Ramsey County postsecondary institutions, with 14,482 postsecondary awards conferred. Of the degree recipients, approximately 64% were female, 64% White, 10% Black and 9% Asian. While challenges persist, particularly in addressing occupational segregation and promoting equity and inclusion, the trajectory is undeniably upward.

Ramsey County had around 30,000 high schoolers enrolled at the secondary level as of 2020. Saint Paul Public Schools is the County’s most diverse district, with about 80% of students across the district being Black, Indigenous, Asian or Latinx. Participation in Career and Technical Education is high, with 76.2% of high schoolers enrolling in Career and Technical Education courses in 2022, empowering them to pursue their passions and unlock their full potential.

Untapped potential

Ramsey County's journey toward economic prosperity includes developing more employment opportunities for its talented residents. Despite strides in education and workforce development, there is a need to create a compelling narrative that attracts and retains residents. Ramsey County faces a net negative talent migration of -8,339 individuals despite a net positive talent commute pattern of 46,759 more inbound commuters.
"As we look to the future, it's imperative we continue to make Ramsey County a place where people want to live and thrive," said Ling Becker, Ramsey County Workforce Solutions Director. "By harnessing the collective power of our diverse talents and fostering an environment of inclusivity and opportunity, we pave the way for a brighter tomorrow."

People are the answer

In essence, Ramsey County's economic trajectory is intrinsically linked to the talents, aspirations and dreams of its people. Several action items should be embraced to develop this resource to its full potential:

  • Support local youth and connect them to education and career opportunities early
  • Support the academic persistence of Black, African American, Asian, Hispanic/Latinx, American Indian, and male students through degree completion
  • Pay attention to and address occupational segregation
  • Advance programs that promote equity and inclusion with an eye to career advancement and promotion
  • Continue to make Ramsey County a great place to live to attract more residents and reverse trends of outmigration

“As we embrace diversity, invest in education and cultivate a culture of innovation, we lay the groundwork for a prosperous future,” said Becker. “Ramsey County’s people are its greatest assets and the architects of our shared destiny.” 

Top 10 Trends to Watch in Ramsey County’s Workforce Landscape from RealTime Talent is a compass, guiding Ramsey County through the complexities of a transforming workforce. The trends identified pave the way for a resilient, innovative and inclusive future. Each trend will be explored in-depth throughout 2024, charting the course for Ramsey County's workforce in the coming years.

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