Minnesota’s ability to attract and retain quality jobs depends on a workforce skilled in science and technology. For citizens, the capacity to solve important challenges and pursue meaningful work also depends on increased levels of science literacy.

As a new era of technology innovation and human exploration rapidly unfolds, Minnesota faces an urgent dilemma. According to Wilder Research, among 2012 high school graduates, only 5.0 percent of higher-income students and just 3.4 percent of lower-income students were gauged to be both interested in and equipped to pursue higher education in STEM (science, technology, engineering & mathematics).

This is particularly surprising given the historical leadership of Minnesota people and institutions in boldly designing new solutions. With worker shortages already occurring in some job categories, how can this alarming trend be reversed?

Building a Community - Growing our Future STEM Workforce

AirSpace Minnesota is a collaborative of organizations linked by a connection to the world of flight and the broad spectrum of competencies encompassed by aerospace and aviation. We believe we must be stewards of this legacy who illuminate the exciting opportunities of today so that a new generation of learners can see the value of STEM skills to their futures.

Since chartering as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization in 2012, AirSpace Minnesota has established key partnerships and researched how best to address this critical need.

AirSpace Minnesota was initially formed by the Minnesota Air National Guard Historical Foundation to carry forward plans for an air and space learning center adjacent to MSP International Airport. Cited as a signature project in the Fort Snelling Light Rail Transit and Upper Post Master Plan, this initiative will provide a major catalyst in the critically needed revitalization of one of the state’s most historically significant sites and create a new economic asset for the region.

Space is needed to accommodate significant artifacts including aircraft and the sail from the USS Minneapolis-St. Paul submarine. Stories from the region’s most iconic institutions including 3M, General Mills, Honeywell, Mayo Clinic, UTC Aerospace and the University of Minnesota will provide the perfect setting to showcase Minnesota as a state of innovation.

Proximity to Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport – the gateway to the region – provides amazing access for out-of-state visitors and special fly-in assets. This innovation showcase will significantly strengthen the area’s unique hub of visitor attractions and economic activity, which includes Historic Fort Snelling, the Mall of America and the Fort Snelling State Park, where the mighty Mississippi and Minnesota Rivers come together.

Proposed Future Campus by MSP International Airport

Image Courtesy of Collaborative Design Group