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National studies repeatedly point to workforce abilities, training, and education as major determinants of regional economic development potential. A survey in northeast Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin found that only 25 percent of the respondent firms experience trouble in this regard. Further, the skills required in this region are not particularly high-tech. In contrast to the results and recommendations in the national literature, very few firms reported using public or private education providers in their skill training activities. In fact, a 1998 survey of households in the same region showed a labor force that is overtrained relative to the existing firms' needs. These findings suggest that labor analyses should concentrate on regional delineations and needs.


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