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Summer Events Tackle Workforce Development in Greater Mankato

Connect the Grey

The Mankato region is feeling the pressure as workforce trends shift around the country: the growth of new industries, the increasing role of technology and automation, and the ongoing retirement of baby boomers as new generations come of age. Though the local economy is thriving, Greater Mankato is currently facing a shortage of 3,000 workers to fill the region's jobs. 


This summer, Connect the Grey’s multi-disciplinary team will tackle the challenges faced by Mankato's employers and workforce with events targeted at business leaders and professionals. These workshops aim to bring together people invested in Mankato's future to consider the issues and collaborate on creative solutions. 


On July 12, Connect the Grey will host "The Future of Work: Creativity & Business." This participatory workshop will invite attendees to discuss how to equip today's workers and students with the skills necessary for an evolving economic landscape, and how to involve creativitand art in strategizing about workforce development.  


The conversation will be facilitated by Katie Boone, who joined the Connect the Grey team as Learning & Innovation Lead after previously leading the collaborative and entrepreneurial space Envision Lab.  Boone shares a quote from the Japanese industrialist Konosuke Matsushita, saying, “Continued existence depends upon the day-to-day mobilization of every ounce of intelligence.”


"Businesses and organizations and communities are facing tremendously complex challenges and issues,shexplains"Those require us to engage all of our voices and our intelligence to find solutions, including bringing in the voices of creators and the creative mind."Boone will also lead a similar session on July 21 at the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits headquarters in St. Paul. Connect the Grey will share the findings from both group sessions as conversations about the future of the workforce continue throughout the state.


For business leaders eager to dive into how they can adapt to new trends within the workplace, Connect the Grey's Mary Kay Delvo will lead a workshop called "Communicating Across Generationson August 9. This introductory session is the first in a series of workshops she will do addressing this topic. Delvo is an experienced strategist, speaker, and coach who previously worked as Director of Strategic Engagement & Operations for AgriGrowth, an organization representing the agriculture and food systems industry throughout Minnesota. She has spoken to groups including the National Postsecondary Agricultural Student Organization and Minnesota’s State FFA Convention on how to successfully navigate intergenerational transitions and communicate effectively with people of all ages. In conjunction with generational topics, she trains on how to move polarizing conversations to meaningful ones.   


"The central frustration I hear from business owners and managers is that they don’t know what to do with the divide between people who come from generations that don’t understand each other," Delvo shares. "But troubling to me is that there is a lot of finger-pointing and very little talk of understanding and solutions.Delvo continues, “This is the first time in the history of the U.S. that four to five generations have had to work alongside each other in the workforce, and people just don’t know what to do. I introduce an approach that can help managers and leaders create a culture that can work.”   


The workshops on July 12 and August 9 will all be held at the Profinium meeting space at 100 Warren Street, Suite 100 in Mankato. Lunch will be provided at each event. Those interested can register at the following links: 

For more information on Connect the Grey's summer events, please contact Colleen Powers at 612-518-4269 or colleen@connectthegrey.com.

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