Randy Johnson, Hennepin County board chairman; and Rick Kruger, CEO of "is.com", discuss results of the first annual "Regional Opportunity Forecast.” Report was put together by a group of business, education and civic leaders called The Great North Alliance. Johnson and Kruger are members of the group, and answer listener questions. Program begins with news from MPR’s Greta Cunningham.
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Able to provide LTV steel attack my pellets of competitive quality or cost the company will suspend stripping operations this Sunday mining crushing and shipping Opera been trying to build buildings. We need after we had already have students in them already already needs space for students to be and then fact of rented space in Robbinsdale 417 of the last 25 years just to provide for the Overflow folders and three other districts prior lake-savage Rockford and Sauk rapids-rice also approved mom's yesterday. There is a wind advisory in effect for Northwestern Minnesota today and it will be windy State why there's a chance of showers and thunderstorms in the north partly cloudy skies in the south high temperatures today from 68° in the north to 78 in the Southeast at this hour in Rochester report of sunny skies and68 degrees in the Twin Cities sunshine and 68 that's a news update on Greta Cunningham Ranch. Good morning, and welcome to midday on Minnesota Public Radio. I'm very active glad you could join us Twin Cities economy could hardly be much stronger businesses are generally doing well jobs are plentiful wages are even going up but we've heard more and more warnings of late that there are some clouds on the horizon that if some changes aren't made the Twin Cities area could ultimately lose its Competitive Edge as we move deeper and deeper into the information age. Just this week Forbes Magazine issued. Its rankings of the best places to do business in the United States and the News wasn't all that good last year. The Twin Cities were ranked 25th in the nation this year 44th. And there's a new survey that's being released today. That seems to confirm that problems. Like I had the great North Alliance a new group of Civic leaders concerned about Minnesota's future as releasing a survey today which underscores the fact that while the Twin Cities area is doing fine today. It may not do so. Well tomorrow while this afternoon the great North Alliance is kicking off its effort to try to reverse that Trend. Jesse Ventura will be delivering the keynote address for this afternoon's conference and joining us here in the studio to discuss the alliance's goals are two key members of the great North Alliance Hennepin County Board chair, Randy Johnson and Twin Cities business man, Rick Kruger founder and CEO of his. Com in the former president of the Minnesota high tech Council. We also invite you to join our conversation. If you've got a question or comment about this area is future in the information age. Give us a call here 651-227-6006 512 to 76,000 if you're calling from outside the Twin Cities you can Is toll-free and that number is 1 800. +242-282-865-1227. 6001. 800-242-2828 Randy Johnson recruiter. Thanks for coming by today. Appreciate it. Thank you. First of all, let me start with you Commissioner of fair amount of talk about this issue in recent months. What does the alliance hope to add to the mix so that we haven't heard yet while we hope to focus a lot more attention. I'm looking at the future looking at the role of this region in the new global economy. The new information economy people were not talking about these issues as recently as a year ago the great North Alliance grew out of some informal conversations that Vance Opperman and I had looking at our personal experiences. He is a venture capitalist Myself by having been present the National Association of counties comparing what was going on elsewhere. Caring for the new economy compared to what was going on here. We didn't see much going on around here. We'd become very complacent 2% unemployment rate around here is phenomenal. It's impossible to get out of the retail store today without being besieged with please fill out an application. We want you to work here then that's good. That's good. But looking to the future we saw young and young Engineers young technical people moving elsewhere Austin Boston Silicon Valley Indianapolis, even Cleveland and there were groups and organizations mobilizing to make their regions competitive. We didn't see that happening here now is the focus just on the Twin Cities are by Kroger or on Minnesota is a hoe. I think we're extremely interested in helping. The state is a hall. There's no question that do you got to have half the population just a little bit more than that lives in the Twin Cities. So I think that's got a part of the reality that's involved. And in terms of Civic leadership and the rest are you hoping that the people will actually do something about these issues. Are you just trying to talk about him some more at least starting today with the conference? We want to talk about them you mention the Forbes article, which is good insofar as it went. It certainly supports what we felt. We are doing benchmarking in the report that we're releasing today looks far beyond the two or three measures that the Forbes article looked at for the Milken Institute. We're looking at more than 30 measures and on a report card basis. Basically, the region gets a c minus but there's a role for a lot of people here. This is not an effort to expand the size of government dramatically, but we need to look at the University of Minnesota. There's A legislature has to re-examine the research and development role of the University. I think Mark yudof. The president is On the right track with the five areas that he's identified and Technology and Engineering. We also need to look at who goes on to higher education. We need to review this idea of K to 12 education. We should really be talking about at least K through 14. When wall in the former president. CEO of Medtronic has started a private nonprofit scholarship program for students originally from Minneapolis South High School where he and I both graduated to make it possible for every student who can maintain a a b average to go on to school. I think we need to look at that. We probably have to look at waving out of state tuition for people who want to come here. We have to import some Talent go into those technical fields and who agree to stay here is the goal here among other things are commissioner to come up with some some legislative proposals for the 2000 session very definitely. In fact, I would hope that we could Inspire the governor. To include a number proposals as part of his 2001 budget the most important single document. I think a governor delivers in a term is the mid-year budget first time the midterm budget the first time you kind of take what's already left over in the last time everybody's running for re-election the budget that the Governor Ventura proposes to the next legislature is going to be very very important to the future of this region and the future Minnesota. So what are you hoping to hear from the governor today Rick Kroger or hoping to hear that? There's going to be a strong solid commitment in terms of advancing these types of issues. I mean, this is really the the economic underpinnings. We've got to get more in terms of the information age or And really educate people and engage them in the political discussion and discourse it'll take place so that we understand that Investments made today are going to be actually pay off in the future in terms of Economic Development, and we've got to be in this game. I mean, it's a game that you absolutely cannot afford to be out of there's a lot of states that are jacking to be in it, and they're LeapFrog even one in front of one another. So, this is really the one that ultimately is going to have an impact on everybody's lives one way of life one way or another or talking this hour about the great North Alliance, which is holding a conference. They kind of kicking off the releasing of masturbate the day of a where are the Twin Cities stands are in relation to other communities around the nation what our future may hold in terms of economic prospects and a joining us here in the studio or chair Randy Johnson, put City businessman recruiter is here, and if you'd like to join our conversation, give us a call 651-227-6000 or 1-800 +24-228-286-5122. 6000 or 1 800-242-2828. Now one thing we should clarify is the focus just on the Twin Cities are Minnesota to hold of the great North Alliance focus is on the Twin Cities region, but that's a rather broadly defined region. If you do think you look live or work in the Twin Cities region you you do as far as we're concerned the state department of trade and economic development. I think does a good job of looking out for the state's interest is a whole it's obviously going to be largely agricultural ebase cuz this is an egg state that had always has been and will be for many many years into the future the the Twin Cities region. However, the Metropolitan region has a different economic base and that is the focus of the great North Alliance. We don't think it's in conflict or the opposite of Greater Minnesota, but there is a difference there are several different economies within the state of Minnesota broad topic of competitiveness, but In terms of when you looked at their and came up with the survey results. What are the two or three big problems that we currently face there that warning signs if you will, I think one of them would be investment from The Venture Capital group. So how much Venture money is going into our company is that are ultimately going to be becoming larger companies for that earlier stages. In addition. I think the number of companies that are becoming that they're they're going public as a girl in terms of initial public offerings. Those are things that frankly can change pretty dramatically from year to year and probably will continue to but there's things we have to pay attention to also the investment into long-term things like research and development, which is really the icky in terms of both public and private sectors moving ahead and sometimes joining an effort to gather typically put example University of Minnesota would do earlier stage type research and development by And companies will be maybe more in the research side. The companies would be probably more in the development side towards commercialization heard a lot about Labor shortage. The fact that companies can't find enough workers. Is that a good thing or a bad thing? It's both your wages are now going up. I believe in the law of supply and demand. I'm pretty much a free market person. I think that that that's a good situation but we're reaching a very serious shortage of knowledge workers right now businesses are not expanding here because of the shortage of workers. We used to hear about high taxes miserable winter weather. The thing we here now is shortage of knowledge workers and this this means not just warm bodies and not just people doing Simple clerical tasks where there are shortages. We need to have workers who are truly trained in technical field some technical areas security did a study recently and what they conclude is a we produce about one-eighth of what we need just in terms of Information Technology workers out of each year, and that Trend looks like it'll be here for about a decade. So what that means is that we're going to have Dramatically rethink how we're involved in retraining programs. That'll be a gigantic. It kind of a mixture of public and private sector activities, but clearly to get people equipped to be able to participate in the new economy. They are there's a lot of retraining it will go on as a matter fact. I'll probably be more the more significant effort will probably be in retraining because of the numbers. I just talked about versus new people entering Workforce. Let's get some listeners involved here were talking with the two members of the great North Alliance a new organization of Civic leaders who are getting together to having a conference today to try to call attention to what they see as the looming problems for the Twin Cities area, and specifically we're doing fine now, but as we move into the information age, we may not be as well prepared as we should be in there trying to call attention to that fact and try to get people off the dime you like to join our conversation. Give us a call or 651-227-6000 or 1 800 242 2828 Jacqueline Place, good morning. I would like your guests to discuss the atmosphere of instance graduate gratification that seems to be evident in the business entrepreneurial Community. It seems like lenders and capitalist right now. I'm looking for the next Big. Calm and that there doesn't seem to be as much support for I end of may be more your manufacturing companies and if they could kind of discuss it in the context of an instance of say Control Data which back in the 60s and 70s was thought to be you knowing grew quite remarkably and now very few people know what Control Data was it supposed to accompany like Pillsbury. Which you know is what a hundred years old and continues to make product and continues to earn, you know, a great earnings Revenue that we are focusing frankly too much on all these Hot Shot new.com come up with that question. There's no doubt about it that the last few years is seeing a real olor and recently we've seen a little less Alert in terms of some of the.com companies and yes indeed that you know, that's probably one of the reasons for the extremely rapid growth in terms of the NASDAQ index index. However, I like to go to the couple's Pacific companies that Control Data just for an example CDC is a great example. I mean, this is a company that it's really Roots. If you go back with really the first one to sell predecessor company was Era. That is sold the first commercial computer in the world out of Minnesota. Lots of other Innovations for super computer company first learning by that was managed over a computer all those types of things. But what many people don't realize is yes Control Data Corporation as it once was and comes to this real large major player make people say whatever happened to open tornado or the fact of the matter is the old Control Data is throughout the has really integrated throughout the fabric of a state economy even today you can pull whole chunks out of it Control Data Systems Ceridian the old BTC many companies like that probably bringing in billions of dollars worth of activities, but are broken apart in one form or another and then in addition to that. I know lots of lots of Executives that came out of control data and lots of Technic technicians and software people and everything else that are in a myriad of other companies. So I'm in the the influence in the contribution the economy. Control Data is more significant than most people would realize just because he company isn't in his in the form that it was back. Then I'll 20-30 years ago terms of Pillsbury my comment. I'm a Diaz again. You take a look at some of the things are going on in Pillsbury Pillsbury. In fact, as most major companies have also had to turn to technology and I are doing major things in terms of how they're keeping information how they're doing the research and development how they're managing their operations all sorts of things that are driven by technology. We are coming in before and turn to the studio even in the fairly new digital studio and that's different than it was just a few years ago. The last time I was up over here, so it's not just a question of the high-flying. Com. Not even the old Main Line companies need these kinds of well-trained information-based workers to the digital age is here. The internet is changing how everybody Does business and we have to recognize that be prepared for it? I think the colors right that I would be very careful about the investing my money in dot-coms right now. When you lose money on every transaction and do your business plan calls for you to continue to lose money on every transaction and all you say is what will make it up on volume. It doesn't work profit still count and I think we're going to see another big correction in terms of Market valuation of a lot of the the.com at the same time. The internet is very real it is changing. There's a lot of Hardware is Wella software development. It's not just selling stuff over the Internet compared to selling it some other way. The focus has moved not exclusively. I think this whole continue to be sorted out but a lot of the focus has moved from what's referred to in the industry as b2c or business-to-consumer type things. entities such as Amazon review probably the classic example of that two more episodes on B2B or business-to-business kind of the backend stuff that you really don't see the business operations order fulfillment things like that that the internet is having a very profound impact on and in fact, the there's pretty strong arguments and every institution that it probably is dramatically as a printing press did in terms of ushering in the Reformation back to the pole and Stomps on the line with a question time, concerning the preparation of a future workers for a for this new industry Anders at 10 to I don't know why I use it at the right turn but students who may want to go into a vocational technical Do after taking more College of there may be a class oriented towards College. I was wondering how your guests feel that are high schools are preparing students for and with the new grad standard data grade standards, then getting these kids prepared or directing these kids for preparation for this new field. Thank you with the grandstander documentary this this particular program by saying that I think the as I understand that and I certainly don't supposed to be an expert on it. The idea behind the grab standards are too basically take Theory and be able to also demonstrate practically how to apply that theory now having said that I'd like to switch to whether or not we're preparing students for the information age appropriate Lee as a separate issue and frankly. I don't think we we are putting as much emphasis and turns red. Haitian systems as we should be to equip people with information skills. I was ironically the CEO of Jim Housley. Who's the CEO of Control Data Systems, which is a part of the old control control data Corporation made a comment to a number of CEOs about a year or two ago and it was who would hire anybody anymore that doesn't have information technology skills and pretty much at all had the crowd nodding in agreement with them. Right? I think that it has become so pervasive that these when were talking about basic skills, these Information Technology skills are part of the basic skills, and we are not producing enough people Brandi's, right? We need a major emphasis in terms of Workforce and retooling. What is that occur though? And who should pay for that? I think it has to occur throughout our whole educational system certainly in our current k212 system. I think we need renewed emphasis on our technical schools Dunwoody. Is held up as a great example of people with technical skills five jobs offers for every graduate, excellent training. We need more dunwoody's we need for people to understand that a high school diploma is just the basic beginning of what you need to learn lifelong learning has to become a reality. You have to learn how to learn except the fact that the high school education that may have been sufficient to support a household a generation ago is not going to be sufficient to support a household in the future. Is it realistic to assume that especially I suppose this works pretty well for younger people, but for older workers who I guess we're going to be more and more dependent upon. Is it realistic to assume that these people will one day I put down their wrench and become computer experts. They're going to have to there aren't very many jobs right now that don't involve some kind of use of computers and that's only going to increase in the future. As a matter of fact the type of the nature of work to a lot of times you'll hear people making comments like you don't have to worry. They'll always be jobs in terms of the Foodservice industry or something like that flipping hamburgers or something of that nature back to the matter is we got companies in Minnesota like Grandma to Red Wing that's that's producing the French fry operations at McDonald's. We're going to see more and more changes of that nature. People are going to require more skills. I used to live up in Staples Minnesota western western Brainerd about 30 miles and there's a company up there called Morey's fish that makes a smoked fish products. If you're familiar with them in the grocery stores when I when I started in the legislature about 1982-83 Arrow, it was interesting went from where he's got a lot of people playing fish up there. They still have those people to Maurice's Bruin rowing many times that and you take a look at who they have on the lines now and most of the new operation in the big Mansion was a result of the information technology and they actually have all these devices that can calculate a fashion figure out how to slice it and play it and buy a Devon and everything else and then by the time it comes out the other and it's actually packaged and everything else and ready to go Jeff your question place. I look at around Minnesota. There aren't enough jobs in general pay what you can have in California or other states were the Friends with Benefits. I mean, how are we going to compete if Minnesota does offer things like that? Good point that it is a good point and that's why we have to encourage companies to build an and grow here that can pay those kinds of wages offer those kinds of benefits offer stock options. So that employees have the opportunity to make money as the company grows. That's one of the reasons for the great North Alliance. We don't have those opportunities here the way we'd like to see them. It's great to have a 2% unemployment rate in the metropolitan area. But those are largely retail jobs. Nothing wrong with those jobs is good honest Labour. We do not have the development of the much higher paying technical jobs that we want to see her our business leaders are political leaders for that matter focused enough on the long-term though to even think about these things. I would think for example, if you are running a business today in Minnesota a one-way to make sure that you had good skilled workers would beat up Raceway. Pay a lot and then you'll have your work force and now and long-term you'll be in good health short-term though. Your stockholders are going to I got to hammer you because you're not you're not turning quite as make a profit is so the widget company down the street. We are the factories of the future and currently at you even more so are in the heads of the people that you're hiring. There's no question about that. I'd like to go back to what the caller said might encourage you to call her to take a look at some of the comparisons not only on him, but comparisons and cost of living and you'll find that we're probably closer than what most people would imagine what you start particularly and comparisons out the California Silicon Valley area by the fact of the matter is that stated that I've seen would indicate that we're getting a lot closer than I used to be a great disparity in terms of pay in that type of thing that disparity is getting closer. And if you factor in the cost of living is probably too many cases even more favorable here. In order to compete for talent you have to pay for that talent. And the name of the game right now is that I think those people with the with the scales in broadly defined yells. But basically the higher level of skills are going to be in more more to man. We just not producing enough of them. They're going to come in very high salaries and companies are going to pay what it takes to be able to get thought that type of challenge. I think that it's not a matter of just a company here and they're raising wages and benefits in order to raid scarce resources in this case skilled knowledge workers from one company to another it's a matter of having more skilled knowledge workers so that everybody benefits and dare you ask me what about political people? What about looking at the long-term? Well, if we look at the last legislative session there was not much long-term thinking going on over there either by the Republicans or the Democrats the governor's addressing our our first annual meeting. Say afternoon in part because I ran into him on the steps of the Capitol in the asked me what I was doing and I talked to him about this and he said I've been talking about those issues but nobody's paying attention and my legislative proposals in this area seem to be dead before arrival. I'm interested to find out what what he has to say on this. I think the governor of the state has a major role to play in preparing Minnesota for the new economy Hennepin County Board. Chair. Randy Johnson has joined us this hour as has Twin Cities business man, Rick Kroger, who is the former president of Minnesota high tech, so they're both members of What's called the Great North Alliance a new organization made up of civically, they're having a conference today to a release a survey of where Twin City of the Twin Cities area stands competitively in relationship to other Metro areas around the country. Also. Do I try to Spur up some discussion and some action to get Minnesota ready for the information age the basic premise here, is that the The area is doing fine today. But as time goes on as we move deeper and deeper into the information age. We may lose that Competitive Edge. They've been good enough to come by today to talk about their idea to take your questions. If you'd like to join and give us a call 651-227-6065 1227 6000 or 1 800-242-2828 will get some more colors in just a couple of minutes. Today's programming is supported by 3M which generously matches more than 900 employee contributions to MPR. This week A Prairie Home Companion is live from the gutter 3 Theater in Minneapolis with singer Kathy Mattea and a young child was named Nicole Hansen the guys all star shoot down the news from Lake Wobegon lots more this week show listen for a Prairie Home Companion Saturday afternoon at 5 on all NPR station. And again Sunday at noon on Minnesota Public Radio k n o w FM 91.1 in the Twin Cities. By the way an invitation to join us a second hour of our midday program today over the noon hour. We'll be talking with former vice president Walter Mondale and steelworkers Union executive David Foster about the big giant red ball coming up in the US House later today right now news headlines. Thanks Carrie. Good morning supporters of permanent trade relations with China say they've got the votes to pass or trade bill later today. President Clinton has been lobbying hard for the bill what she says would give us businesses more access to Chinese market Republican sources say 150 Republicans have agreed to vote for the bill. That's the support level the GOP headset for itself. Democratic backers say they'll be able to come up with 70 to 80 votes that would leave supporters with a few folks more than the 218 needed for victory organized labor and a coalition of human rights groups have been fighting against it. I vote is expected later today. United Airlines officials announced this morning that the company is merging with US Airways. The 11.6 billion dollar deal will give United already the world's largest airline a total of more than 6,500 flights add a number to American Airlines offers 3600 flights daily. The deal will also give United a dominant presence on both coasts and making the announcement United promises to free some domestic fares for two years following the acquisition except for increases to pay for fuel cost and inflation in Regional news steel workers and union leaders say they're surprised by LTV steals announcement this morning that they're planning to permanently closed attack and I plant in Hoyt Lakes the plant employs 14 hundred people company says LTV steel mining blast furnaces are less productive and cost more to operate because of the poor quality of taconite pellets in the mines on Minnesota Iron Range LTV steel mining produced 7 million tons of taconite pellets in 1999. The president of United steelworkers Local 1408 says the local was under the impression there. Was no significant problem steel worker staff representative in Hoyt Lakes says that you and you will meet with LTV officials in Cleveland on June 6th. He says the union will do whatever is necessary to try to keep the operation open. There was a wind advisory for Northwestern Minnesota today and it will be windy State why there's a chance for showers and thunderstorms in the north today partly cloudy skies in the south high temperature today near 68th in the north to 78 in the Southeast at this hour Rochester Airport sunshine and 68° skies are sunny in St. Cloud in 65 and in the Twin Cities Sunshine a temperature of 68. That's a look at the latest news 24 minutes before noon. Midday coming to you on Minnesota Public Radio in our guests this our Rick Kroger and Randy Johnson. Both of whom are members of What's called the Great North Alliance. Oh relatively new organization of Civic leaders, and they're holding a conference today releasing a survey of where are the Twin Cities stands in relation to other Metropolitan. Maria's the question being things are fine today, but is the Twin City area in a position to compete to tomorrow as we move deeper and deeper into the information age would like to join our conversation. Just call 651-227-6000 or one 802-422-8282. Go ahead Place St. Paul. I return to school as an adult. I received a ba in itm which stands for information technology management and I am still at my same job today. I work full-time and school full time. But my question is where do I look for the job? That's right for me. Okay. Well any tips has a lot of places I get on the internet. I'd look at it. There's a lot of jobs sources of monster board. As one of them the Department of Economic Security in the state has a kind of some of the the more public ones. There's a private companies like takis.com and they're just a wide variety of them out there that will give you ideas in addition Minnesota high tech Association at upgrade to minnesota.com is a good place to go because they they have that recruitment effort that they were doing out in California and they talked about some of the jobs that are available by companies that were participating in that. So there's there's a number of them that are good sources. I know you folks are focused more on the big picture, but I'm wondering in terms of compiling the survey in terms of thinking about this this issue. Do you get the sense that we are at this point taking maximum? Bandage of of services in a light that already exists programs that are already existing so that or is there something to be done in that area in terms of getting people trained getting them into programs that already exists rather than creating a bunch of new things. I think we need an in one sense to continue to do more of what we're doing. I think it's a change in mindset about what is a sufficient education to compete in the marketplace of the future at the same time. I think we need to look at how we're spending money in our technical schools. We need to look at our community colleges and we need to make some adjustments based on the economy of the future. Not the economy We Grown used to so some tweaking would help or above the big-picture stuff. Creating a public awareness to programs like this just to make people wear many cases how little training retraining is required to get significantly improve significant improvements in jobs and wages and things like that. There's a lot of opportunities out there. But in many cases people are not aware, we're not promoting as much as we should and terms of opportunities in the high-tech Arena few people are aware for an example that on average wages in the private sector vs. Which idea Minnesota are roughly a little bit over 30,000 32,000. The average wage in the high-tech arena in Minnesota is close to sixty thousand. So there are significant differences. If you're you're getting the proper types of training and background experience Tom your question. Please change to the role of post-secondary Education institutions in the development of new business. Technology versus Minnesota relative to the kind of proactive work is done at MIT or Stanford or even the University of Texas where there's a real active role that the University's play connecting with businesses and students that creates all sorts of economic opportunities and business venture efforts that really don't like those other major successful markets that the Fortune Magazine identified. I think the caller is absolutely right and it's not just the University of Texas at Austin and Stanford out in Palo Alto or or out several in my teens are all the other universities in Boston University of Minnesota is a has a rich history as a land grant public institution of higher higher learning and we've always said when I was growing up in the State University of Minnesota was always considered to be one of the very best public universities in the country. We reached a point Years ago were people didn't feel that was true anymore and it wasn't true anymore when we compare ourselves to somebody new by neighbors land-grant universities University Wisconsin University of Michigan definitely moved ahead of us in the area that scholar describe working together to take basic research out of the laboratory commercialize it and build business around it. Is that a function of money just looking for a lot more money state money to the U. It's a combination of things money certainly a factor there's no question about that it's so I think there's also in addition to just scientific invention there is there have to be a real zero for commercializing and Mining partners that would pull that off that's difficult for universities to do generally and it's not that were devoid of successes. I mean, we certainly you can point to companies like Medtronic and stuff that I have risen up and we're looking now in terms of what do we have coming out of there at this point in time and there's companies in the digital Revolution Leica Digital River in tacna city and some of those that are look like the booty emerging companies off of R&B of the University of Minnesota. But the general feeling is that we could do it significantly better than what we're doing and I think that's kind of what Randy was talking about. We we got a pretty strong history, but we want to make sure that that particular in this digital Revolution that we're not sitting on the sidelines or actually a It's not just a matter throwing more money at the University of Minnesota. However, endowed chairs and some of the engineering and Technical and scientific areas would go a long way. That's an area where Frank that you can buy quality. We know that happens because we saw it happen at Stanford. We saw it happen at the University of Texas. We saw some of our good people go there. I think that that's an investment area we could look at I also think we need to look at our success success stories in and Rick mentioned some of them Parker Hughes Institute in Roseville, not very well known but absolutely and The Cutting Edge of research in in cancer 20 Pattinson year high high high value-added certainly a socially good kind of business to have we need to look at. What do we what can we do to help that company grow? What can we do to get more companies like that in the Twin Cities area any danger of the government get into getting involved in the business of picking winners and losers. I am definitely not an advocate of what used to be. New industrial policy government has a pretty darn good track record all around the world when it picks winners and losers of picking the losers and popping them up. But there is a role for government and the role for government is much more in the area of Education making sure that they are trained workers making sure that the people who are brilliant in these technical areas work here that they teach your that they attract other people like them hear you that this could be a pretty cold miserable place to live on it on a flat Prairie. I've lived here all my life every January I kind of wonder why but there are a lot of cultural advantages transportation system that we're rebuilding now educational system a lot of bright people who live here when when I travel people say you're from Minnesota that really is where everybody is above average, but we've come a little bit complacent about that. We are losing some of our best for losing far too many of our best and brightest. I think we're a nice talk you out to is it it's the base building activities that government has it involve me to not necessarily picking specific companies are going to win or lose you look at efforts just in terms of research and development on a national basis. So frankly feels like Jeff propulsion satellite technology the whole computer field microwave technology in the internet itself all grew out of initial government-funded R&D efforts and Randy Johnson is here both are members of the great North Alliance a new group of Civic leaders who are holding a conference today kicking off an effort to try to jump start a conversation and action to make sure that the Twin Cities area remains competitive as we move into the information age. If you'd like to join our conversation, 651-227-6000 or one 800-242-2828 Mike your Can I push I work with Career and Technical education and the high school level and he's are Juniors and seniors in what is used to be known as vocational Ed and I just like to say over the years funding to these kind of programs have the has been cut substantially. And in fact this year the Senate and the governor had it scheduled to be totally wiped out and oddly enough. It was the House Republicans are led by Alice Iger net that saved the small amount of funding that does exist. These programs are not the old same old bulkhead. There's lots of new things Cisco router and hub kind of education to computer area CNC Machining Windows NT training. All this kind of stuff is going on and my point is without Juniors and seniors in high school starting to get a taste of this stuff or even know it exists. We're sending them back a lot of years. Typically they're going to go off and try something and not really sure what it is and eventually Maybe Find your niche in these kind of programs can help if they're allowed to exist and continue. I agree entirely is my state representative Alice seagren that they say this program because it is important that young people be exposed to career opportunities in these technical areas as early as possible. It's always amazing how young people children take two computers. My wife teaches computer skills first grade through fifth grade in Eden Prairie young people have an affinity to deal with computers in this technology. We just have to encourage it we do bump up against though the fact that there's only so much money available in most people or not. I should say most people many many people have made it very clear that what they want government to do is to return money cut taxes and cut spending and how do you reconcile that desire with the need to spend money and some of these edges? Missionaries in the rest matter of balance I represent one of the most heavily Republican areas of the state and what I hear from people in my district is certainly there are some want it all back. They took too much what I hear is don't waste any of it. Yeah. I'd like to have some of it back fix the property tax system which is unfair and make investments into the future don't waste the money. This is one of the rare times in the history of any state where there's been a substantial amount of money legitimately collected that could be spent on those kinds of Investments and there's a pressing need to do so is an appropriate role for investment timing is as there is an appropriate role in other efforts to reduce taxes and things like that. But when you get into Base building activities such as education or research and development things like that that the generic pre-commercial type research and development. There's a roll my mean there's absolutely role for government. Politically, is that saleable? I think the Governor Ventura could sell that in the state if he's inspired to do. So, he is one of the most influential political figures in the world right now, if 40 years ago, somebody had said that I knew him then that he would be invited to the White House to give as counsel and advice on China trade relations along with two former presidents and Henry Kissinger. I don't think anybody would have believed that but he can influence public policy like no other person in the state and if he decides to take the leadership role he can do that. That's why I'm very interested what he's going to say it 2:30 this afternoon at our meeting at the Radisson Plaza in Downtown Minneapolis. You should know it by the way. The governor will be in our Studios tomorrow at 11. So we'll be able to follow up on this journey your question, please. Senior citizen retired up in northern Minnesota and my question although not Bratayley Jermaine to high-tech is how does a senior citizen with computer literate and skills and all that sort of thing and lots of business experience sales marketing that sort of think Market oneself to people and perhaps in my case. I don't need all those bennies and everybody else is looking for the part-time is the possibility. How do people take advantage with me and I appreciate your program and your panelist and I'll listen off the air. I think that there's a variety away is probably the easiest and hers kind of single points of contact would be through some of the economic development activities. I don't know what part of the north he's with but I know the arrowhead in the Bemidji area. I'm actually okay. Well Bemidji State University might be a good place to start in terms of their they're doing a lot in terms of Outreach to the community, but generally speaking you're finding more and more companies that have decided that what was a negative a few years ago is not any longer. I mean the workforce the skill shortages huge there's lots of opportunities out there and I think anybody that has an interest in terms of connecting. Yeah. There's a whole company that purchase caption. Thinking of the name right now, but it's out of Pequot Lakes. I'm sorry that that's not right either. It's but anyway, they did a coalition program with Northwest Airlines and they retrained and exactly try to attract. People who would be interested that work retirees things like that up in pretty clothes just a little north of body and I can't remember exactly what it was but for people who'd be willing to go in for a big 12 weeks of training they could get some Elementary computer skills and turn the programming they could identify where there were problems make some corrections and then flag ones they couldn't deal with and pass it on to the attention of some of the people who get it on to a higher level programmers, but there's there's certainly more and more opportunities rather than last at this point in time and Twin City area companies recognize. So what appears to be an opportunity here if they're short of workers. They need skilled workers. Are they are they thinking about the entire state of Minnesota or do they continue to focus primarily on whoever lives here? I think that when you talk about retail applications, obviously that's place-based. You pretty much have to be here to be the cashier in a in a retail store. I think that We are just beginning to see the breakthroughs in to telecommuting or people can work at a distance work out of their homes. I think the next census is going to show was only a flip in 1990 more and more people don't want to live in metropolitan areas. They'd rather live in northern Minnesota or they'd rather live away from congestion and take advantage on weekends from time to time of the cultural and sports and other attractions in metropolitan areas businesses are just now coming to realize that now you have your conference this afternoon. Is that open to the public? Yes. It is. It's 2:30 at the Radisson Plaza in Downtown Minneapolis Governor Ventura, it will be keynoting. We hope to hear his ideas on this area. He's very enthusiastic will be releasing the first great North Alliance opportunity index which is it an expansion beyond what was in Forbes Magazine this week as to where we are going in. The new economy and then some discuss the University of Minnesota's Summit with Mark yudof present yudof is called a summit and September to discuss these very issues and where the state should go and where the university should go because the university plays a key role in all of this and then Vance Opperman is going to discuss some of the public policy issues that ought to be facing the state legislature next year to think that the message is it it's a mixed bag. We want to make sure we're positioning for progress in the future. There are some terrific companies on the horizon the Minnesota Wham that's a good example of one out and in Eagan that just recently ended up by being a big sister for probably under 5 years. They now own the entire cray research facility that that they purchased from SGI Wham that is kind of the equivalent to the Digital Federal Express Yourself think that they will deliver large digital packages. There's a largest private internet provider in the country in the world and they are very low Clients like Time Warner companies like that kind of redefining how publishing is done. You got companies like Pam start on in Rochester Minnesota that Electronics manufacturer very cutting-edge. Again. Matter of fact about 5 years old in about four hundred million dollars in revenue is each year. There are some really bright spots around the state when you take a look at it and neck perceptions at not a good example, but that lots of around we're not saying there isn't anything going on. We just want to make sure there's more of that type of thing going on gentleman. Thanks for coming in today preciate it thank you guy Hennepin County Board chair, Randy Johnson Twin Cities business, man trick Kroger members of the great North Alliance. They're holding their conference first conference this afternoon joining us the first hour of midday to talk about the goals of that new alliance to learn one person. Can make a difference LOL. I'm NPR's Nina totenberg. Your membership pledge makes a big difference on the future of public radio. The money you contribute helps pay for tape recorders paper audio tape computers cellular phones everything. It takes to bring you the news. Thanks for making a difference become a new or renewing number at mpr.org every member matters 5 minutes now before 12 And here is Lee Writer's Almanac for Wednesday. It's the 24th of May 2000 Ipsy birthday of Puppeteer and film director Frank Oz born Frank has no risk in Hereford England 1944. His parents were puppeteers and he began puppeteering at the age of 11. Jim Henson of the Muppets are him in higher than when he was 19 years old and he did the characters of Fozzie Bear Miss Piggy in the Cookie Monster and Bert. It was on the stand 1941 1400 men died when the world's largest Battleship the HMS hood of Great. Britain was sunk by the German battleship Bismarck somewhere between Greenland and Iceland. It's the birthday of Paul Joseph Brodsky and Leningrad 1940s father was in the Russian Navy, but he was Jewish. He lost his job on the counter that and the family lived in poverty Brodsky quit school at an early age taught himself by reading the classics the KGB launched a vendetta against him. He was condemned to a mental hospital. He was sentenced to a labor camp new Arctic later forced into Exile move to Michigan in 1972 where he became poet-in-residence the University of Michigan and one numerous prizes including the Nobel Prize in 1987. It's the best day of the Irish writer William Trevor born in County Cork 1928 author of the old boys and other novels and collections of stories. It's the birthday of the Russian novelist Mikhail sholokhov born invention skill Russia 1905 won the 1965 Nobel Prize in literature. He was a staunch supporter of the Soviet government and a Critic of writers such as Boris Pasternak and Alexander solzhenitsyn who criticized in one of them translated into volumes as and quiet flows the Don and the dawn flows home to the Sea tells of the struggle between the Cossacks and the Bolsheviks and became the most widely read novel in the Soviet Union. However, solzhenitsyn and others alleged that the book was plagiarized from a Cossack Rider. It was on this day in 1883 the Brooklyn Bridge open to the public linking Manhattan and Brooklyn at the time the longest suspension bridge in the world 1595 and 1/2 feet. And it's the best day of the playwright Sir Arthur Wing Pinero born in London 1855 the most popular and prolific English dramatist of his time author of many popular farces and sentimental comedies, but also plays such as the second Mrs. Tanqueray a highly-regarded drama of 1893. Here's a poem for today by Mark Petrie entitled Concerto in D Minor for two violins Largo ma. Non tanto. She cradles her instrument in the hollow of her neck the violin her Transformer. Her body sways with the strings Largo her body moves with each note. Most of been there her back arches with a black strapless top folds into the flowing beige skirt flowering her knees Bend likely then she swings forward with her energy coming up through her hips over the bow. She applies across the seas of cat got her other arm in a V arches Bend like a willow her fingers touched the junction of Rosewood and Strang the sound transmits out the body of the violin the music flows from the energy of her so Concerto in D Minor for two violins upon by Mark Petrie from his collection. Then all goes blue published by Pacific writers, press and used by permission here on The Writer's Almanac for Wednesday, May 24th made possible by 21 North Main. Com where Book Lovers find more than 10 million used rare and antiquarian books on the web at 21 North Main. Com research by Peter Ainsley be well do good work and keep in touch Regional broadcast of The Writer's Almanac are supported by market manx your community bank offering a broad range of financial services for your business and personal needs news. Headlines are coming up next year on midday right after the new moon. Are we talking with former vice president Walter Mondale and steelworkers Union executive David Foster. Relive the notorious heydays of Saint Paul in the 1930s with the gangster musical now held over till June 25th at the Great American history theater for tickets call 651-292-4323 and ask about the MPR member discount. You're listening to Minnesota Public Radio. Sunnysky 68 degrees at Contra W FM 91.1 Minneapolis. And st. Paul partly cloudy pretty Breezy all afternoon with a high around 72 degrees tonight Cloudy with a low in the upper 40s, then tomorrow sunny skies pad warmer tomorrow with a high in the mid-70s.