The Collegeville Institute Fellows gathered for a two-day meeting beginning on Monday, January 25th to discuss “The Changing Face of Minnesota and Its Implications for the Future.” The State Demographer, Dr. Susan Brower, pointed to three big trends for Minnesota’s future: increased diversity/disparities, the “graying” of our state, and the growing numbers of immigrants coming into Minnesota. As a group we were startled to hear that disparities in education, employment, and housing are on the rise. Over 600,000 people will turn 65 between now and 2030. By 2020, the number of people over 65 will be greater than the number of school aged children for the first time in our state’s history.
Later in the day State Economist, Dr. Laura Kalambokidis spun out the financial implications of these three trends, which include a shortage of workers, and a mismatch of the skilled jobs needed in Minnesota’s economy going forward with the skills of those in the labor force. The next morning, Cónsul De México Alberto Fierro helped the group understand more about Mexico, Mexicans in the United States and Minnesota, trade between the United States/Minnesota and Mexico, the difference in status between various immigrant groups coming to Minnesota, and much more.
The fellows also spent time reflecting on what they were hearing, asking questions such as, “What is God doing in the midst of these dramatic changes?”, “What are the implications of these future directions of our state for my congregation and community?”, and “What does God call me to be and to do with these issues and people?”
Two comments from fellows along the way:
Excited to be in conversation with the Minnesota State Demographer, the State Economist, & the Head Consul at the Mexican Consulate over these two days discussing the changing face of Minnesota. The 2015-2017 cohort of the Collegeville Institute Fellows Program has already been incredibly transformative!
After two gatherings I feel that a key component of your program is hospitality—personally, physically, and intellectually. Thank you. I feel valued and welcomed at every turn.