Rochester, Minn. – Winona State University – Rochester (WSU-R) and the Rochester Area Chamber of Commerce is hosting a Business, Leadership, and Education Open House Jan. 18, 2018 in response to local requests for relevant higher education offerings for the Rochester community. WSU-R studied organizational, business, and education connections with high-level engagement from CEDA, the Rochester Downtown Alliance, the Rochester Area Chamber of Commerce, and the Destination Medical Center. The study engaged a broad population and provided data pertinent to community–centered programming.

Matt Bissonette, Vice President of Workforce & Education for the Rochester Area Chamber of Commerce is looking forward to discussing the research findings at the open house. “We are very excited about the potential of this research,” Bissonette said.

Southeastern Minnesota, with the city of Rochester at its core, currently has more available jobs than workers. Shortage of both skilled and educated labor is expected to grow as unemployment remains at 3.3 percent, well below the national average of 4.1 percent. As DMC and other business sectors in the region are spurring economic growth, this effort is a great opportunity to identify the jobs needed for the next 20 years and define tools and systems to feed the pipeline.

This research allowed WSU-R to gather real-time data, then cross-reference historical information and other successful initiatives nationwide to help formulate strong, relevant educational offerings. Chris Hahn, a researcher for this study, believes the Rochester community needs to know the exciting opportunities revealed from this research. “It’s important that we share and discuss the findings of this research with our community. Employment opportunities, both available now and forecasted, have the chance to grow the Rochester community in many exciting ways,” Hahn said.

Dr. Jeanine Gangeness, Associate Vice President and Dean for Graduate Studies at WSU-R, believes the data reflects workforce education needs as well as outlines best approaches for higher education to remain closely connected and relevant in a rapidly – changing workforce. “This workforce–applicable research is what WSU-R has focused on for the past year to better serve the Rochester community,” said Gangeness.

WSU-R invites the public to an open house to review the results of this study and seek further community feedback for next steps. This event will take place Thursday, Jan. 18, 2018 at 3 p.m. at 400 S. Broadway, Suite 300 (WSU – Rochester above Cambria), followed by the Rochester Area Chamber of Commerce, Business After Hours starting at 5:00 p.m. being hosted by Cambria.

For more information about the Business and Education Open House, please contact: Chris Hahn at 612-327-9729 or