Center News /
December 18, 2020

Looking Ahead to 2021

2020 was an interesting year. That was an understatement. Of course 2020 had lots of events that affected us all in ways that absolutely shaped the ways we look at and act on, related to transportation programs and career pathways. All of us here at the Minnesota State Transportation Center of Excellence worked extra hard and put in lots of effort to ensure that you had the tools and resources you need, we created new ones when needed, we connected people to each other (in education or industry), and lead efforts across the state to keep our transportation programs front and center in legislation and other leaders that affect programs, recruitment, and hiring.  

I want to take this opportunity to place a special emphasis on thanking the staff at the TCOE for their diligent work during 2020. They have worked extra hard this year to enhance education, engage employers, and inspire students – in a distanced and challenging environment. This was no easy task and yet they accomplished the goals and work plan of the TCOE in this environment, and went even farther by engaging others in ways to create excellence in transportation career pathways during these challenging times.  

January is just around the corner, and I want everyone to know that the TCOE has a lot of activities, presentations, work, engagement, and other plans that begin in January 2021. A new year always gives us the opportunity to reengage with our partners, our work, and ourselves. Somehow, the turning of the calendar does this to people. In education, many of us traditional feel and have been taught that January is really just “half-time” because our students are coming back. I challenge each one of you to think differently this time.  

January truly is about new beginnings and a new year. Even if we just continue onto a new semester with our students and our work. Let’s use this as an opportunity to reinvest in ourselves. At the TCOE, we have a lot planned for 2021 and you will want to tune in and engage with us and industry partners in the process.  

We will start on January 8th with a special presentation for administrators with our newly created Technician Supply and Demand report. This report was completed as a partnership project with Real Time Talent. We are really excited for this because it is the first really deep dive into the labor and workforce data and will be used with decision makers and influencers.  

In the later winter and spring time, the TCOE will be partnering with lots of organizations and schools to do career exploration and career fairs. This time around things will be different because almost all of them are virtual. The TCOE has developed lots of resources for virtual career exploration and we are excited to share them.  

In spring and summer, many programs start to work on their curriculum and program accreditation. The TCOE has been working extremely close with the associations that cover program accreditation and industry certifications. We are excited to be partnering with many schools to either obtain or enhance their programs and encourage you to contact us if you are in that process or would like to consult.  

As fall rolls around and programs start back up, and hopefully schools will be back in session in person, we are anticipating that the TCOE’s curriculum resources and connections to others via our “educator resources” webpage, will be put front and center and into action. The COVID-19 pandemic taught many of us about how to excel in a digital world with hands-on education programs. We are looking forward to many educators utilizing the resources we have curated and developed. Please contact us if you would like more information.  

About the time of year when the temps start to drop, the forests of Minnesota perform their color shows, and sun starts to set earlier we will be submitting or hearing back from a lot of the grant submissions that we either did directly or partnered with others on. This time of year is really exciting because it means lots of engagement and innovative thinking about ways to engage our partners to create excellence in our programs.  

I personally am looking forward to 2021 because we have so much needed work to do. It is now clear what needs to get done and I am especially grateful for the amazing staff at the TCOE and our amazing industry and education partners that we get to work with. I am looking forward to meeting and working with new partners as well.  

I would like to wish you and yours a happy holidays and a happy new year. See you in 2021!