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Letter from the Editor

September 2017

The shortage of counselors and other mental health professionals in Minnesota has been the subject of much debate in recent years, with a report to the Legislature in 2015 calling the problem critical, especially in Greater Minnesota.

The cover story by Alessia Leibert and Teri Fritsma in this issue of Trends investigates the issue further, looking at the state’s educational pipeline for mental health workers, potential policy implications and more.

Minnesota colleges and universities produced nearly 10,000 graduates of mental health-related programs from 2006 to 2014, but low rates of licensure in some occupations, pay imbalances, difficulty attracting professionals to rural areas and other factors have combined to create a shortage of qualified workers. There’s no easy fix, but one thing is certain. As the state’s population increases, the need for more highly-trained mental health workers will grow.

Elsewhere in this issue, Sanjukta Chaudhuri explores the gender wage gap in 20 major industries in the state, while Dave Senf takes a deep dive into Minnesota per capita income. DEED intern John Stevens looks at millennials – now Minnesota’s largest workforce demographic – and the types of fields they are entering. This issue highlights what I’ve always liked about editing and reading Trends. The stories contribute to my knowledge of the state economy and help me understand how the workforce is evolving. I hope you find our coverage valuable as well.

Monte Hanson

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