Written by Alyssa Walker

As Minnesota's population grows and diversifies and baby boomers retire from medical sector jobs, Minnesota faces a crisis.

To meet the growing demand for care, the US will have to increase its healthcare workers by at least 30 percent by 2020 -- about four million jobs. 

Minnesota is trying to get a head start by creating high-quality programs that attract a variety of students. These programs move quickly, happen online, serve rural and urban communities, work with older students, and attract ethnically and racially diverse populations.

According to Twin Cities Business, St. Paul-based University of St. Thomas has offered a healthcare MBA for the past 20 years and John McVea, director of health care strategy at St. Thomas’ Opus College of Business, said, "We bring in mid- to senior-level students who are already working in healthcare, and they come to us for two days every month for two years to get the degree." 

He added, "We’re aiming at people who are a little younger and less experienced than those in our two-year master’s programs." 

The school is trying to attract more women, too. McVea explained, "They used to be all men in their 40s who were moving to be medical group CEOs. Now we’re getting a pharmacist in her 30s or a nurse who would have done a master’s in nursing in the past, and they see business training as the best way to move into management."

Minnesota schools are taking a similar approach with nursing degrees.  At St. Catherine University in St. Paul, Kim Dinsey-Read, interim dean of nursing and assistant professor of nursing at the Henrietta Schmoll School of Health, said, "We’ve added a bachelor’s program in nursing to our College for Adults. [...] Often students already have a degree or a lot of transfer work, and they’re often older than traditional college students, with families and adult lives." This program gives students some flexibility -- and a faster track to a nursing degree. 

Alyssa Walker is a freelance writer, educator, and nonprofit consultant. She lives in the White Mountains of New Hampshire with her family.
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