Value of Working For A Mission

There are downsides and upsides to every job. I’ve worked in a few different industries in my not-quite-expansive career including a large insurance provider, small business owner, a software start-up, and now higher ed at a public institution.

I’m often asked why I stay in public higher ed. The money isn’t nearly as good as in private sector (especially when it comes to technology roles). The politics can get insane. And change literally happens at a glacial pace (to borrow @amandaesque’s phrasing, think of it as higher ed dog years).

But I realized something about myself a long, long time ago. I  need to be invested and firmly believe in the value that I provide to an organization. I think this is true of everyone, but it’s easier for some to push that feeling down, deep down, and resign themselves to making it through 8 hours a day to bear the other 16. I want value to shine in everything I produce, and I rarely embark on hobbies or passions without immersing myself in it.

Higher ed is *just about* as feel-good as it gets, particularly as a community college serving under-served populations.  Getting to work with first-generation college students, hearing their stories, learning how to help them succeed within my capacity more than makes up for the weird politics. But we don’t always get to see the hard numbers on the value we provide, not only in enriching lives, but from a economic perspective.

Minnesota State just released an interesting document of “extraordinary facts” as well that provides even more background on the value of the Minnesota State college and university system, particularly as it relates to the workforce in Minnesota.  It’s related to their #mnleg #fundminnesotastate initiative (although why they didn’t choose #fundmnstate is beyond me).

Providing a Skilled Minnesota Workforce

So what does Minnesota State provide to the workforce?

  • 9 out of 10 mechanics
  • 8 out of 10 law enforcement officers
  • 3 out of 4 nurses
  • 1 out of 2 IT professionals

–are graduates of a Minnesota State college or university. Impressive, no?  As a system, we generate nearly $8.3 billion economic impact in Minnesota. With 16,000 employees spread over 54 campuses, it might sound or feel like just a number. But it’s not, especially when I interact with students and know that that the impact I–and my coworkers–have now will pay dividends down the road.

Isn’t that heart of every positive interaction?

What do you think?

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