On September 14, 2021, the GREATER MSP Partnership launched ConnextMSP, a talent network designed to advance racial equity and power economic growth in the region by ensuring young adults of color get their careers off to a good start.
A growing coalition of more than 40 partners and organizations helped shape the initiative, which is committed to ensuring employers are recruiting, hiring, and supporting thousands more young professionals of color in the Minneapolis-Saint Paul region. This cross-sector effort brings together college students and early career professionals of color, career readiness programs, colleges and universities, and top employers to work collaboratively on solutions.
“Every year in our region, thousands of students of color graduate with degrees and certificates but face barriers to landing career-track jobs,” said GREATER MSP President and CEO Peter Frosch.“ConnextMSP will help break down systemic barriers, advance racial equity and build a 21st century workforce for our region,” he added.
Two years after completing college, young graduates of color are more likely to be stuck in part-time or seasonal employment than their peers, according to recent data from the Minnesota Department of Employment andEconomic Development.
“We've invested so much into ensuring the success of our region's young people as they pursue educational opportunities. The ConnextMSP network will open doors for them as they launch careers,” said Minneapolis FoundationCEO R.T. Rybak, who is also a member of the ConnextMSP Leadership Council. “I believe the GREATER MSP Partnership will steward this next phase of ConnextMSP well as they work alongside leaders in the business community to build more inclusive workplaces where young adults of color can thrive," Rybak added.
A wide racial employment gap persists in MSP, even as the demand for a skilled workforce continues to grow in the region. According to Forbes, up to 80 percent of jobs are secured through personal connections. The ConnextMSP network will help strengthen professional connections and close the so-called “network gap” by linking college students and young professionals of color with companies committed to recruiting, hiring, and supporting them as they launch their careers.
“After several years of behind-the-scenes work, we are ready to bring ConnextMSP to the forefront and make our region a national leader in launching careers for young adults of color,” said Frosch.
Many careers begin with landing the right internship, apprenticeship, and project-based work, and ConnextMSP is working with top employers to ensure young professionals of color have access to these door-opening career experiences.
“Our network will help create a bridge for these talented young adults and support them as they grow their careers in theMinneapolis-Saint Paul region,” said ConnextMSP ManagingDirector Ieesha McKinzie Collins. “We’ve realized this challenge is far too big for any single organization to solve on its own and we’re working on this together. If we want to drive lasting change, this is how it starts.”
To date, ConnextMSP has engaged with more than 2,500 young adults of color in MSP. With its official launch today, ConnextMSP is unveiling an online portal through which early-career professionals of color can find career guidance, and connect with employers committed to hiring and advancing a diverse workforce and leading the way in inclusive economic growth. “Investing in our rising generation is the best idea we have for safeguarding the prosperity of our entire region in the new economy. It’s an idea whose time has come,” said Frosch.
To learn more about ConnextMSP, WATCH below.
ConnextMSP is an inclusive talent network, united by an ambition to ensure that young professionals of color in Minneapolis-Saint Paul are recruited, hired, and supported by local employers as they launch their careers. This is a critical effort to ensure we are advancing inclusive economic growth and building a 21st century workforce in our region.
About GREATER MSP
GREATER MSP is the economic development partnership for the 15-county Minneapolis Saint Paul region. Over 300 leading businesses, universities, cities, counties, philanthropies, and others are working together to accelerate the competitiveness of the regional economy and drive inclusive economic growth through job creation, capital investment and the execution of strategic initiatives. For more information, visit https://www.greatermsp.org.