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Letter From the Editor

Closing the Racial Gap

We chose to focus on a single topic in this issue of Trends for an important reason. Racial disparities in the workforce are a critical challenge that will affect all Minnesotans and the economy.

Why is this topic especially important now? Part of the answer lies in historic forces that will reshape our labor force and economy over the next 15 years. With baby boomers retiring and not enough workers available to replace them, businesses soon will find themselves at a crossroads. They and the economy will be unable to expand without access to skilled workers.

While the problem is complicated and will require a multifaceted approach to resolve, it's clear that populations of color offer a key to the solution. According to the State Demographic Center, Minnesota's minority population will grow 37.3 percent in the next 15 years, while the white population will grow only 4.1 percent.

Breaking down barriers to education and employment for people of color will benefit the economy and make Minnesota a more inclusive and diverse place to live and work.

As Steve Hine concludes in his article that begins on Page 2, closing the racial gap is not only the right thing to do, it is the necessary thing to do if we're to provide our economy and businesses with the workforce necessary for success.

Monte Hanson

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