Minnesota’s Economy Benefits from Engineering
Engineering has played an important role in the economy of Minnesota for over 150 years. Engineers helped create and developing the soft-ore iron mines for which Minnesota was famous for more than 100 years. Engineers have also been instrumental in helping transform Minnesota’s economy from being agriculture, animal husbandry, forestry and fur trading based to a major processor, manufacturer and producer of value-added food products through companies like General Mills, Hormel Foods Corporation, the McDonald Food Company and Cargill.
Computer Manufacturing and Mall Creation
After WWII, engineers made Minnesota a leading computer manufacturing center by forming Engineering Research Associates in 1946. The company developed computers for the U.S. intelligence agencies and the Navy. Minnesota was the top-secret digital computing epicenter for decades. Engineers and entrepreneurs in Minnesota also built Southdale Center, the United States’ first climate-controlled, fully-enclosed, shopping mall in 1956.
The Value of Engineering to Minnesota’s Economy
Engineering’s value to the economy of Minnesota is so important, it’s near impossible to quantify. Mining, manufacturing, digital computing and the infrastructure that has enabled Target, UnitedHealth Group and 29 other top publicly traded companies to build their headquarters in Minnesota and give Minnesotans the nation’s 16 ranked per capita income, all owe a debt of thanks to engineering. When Minnesota’s per capita personal income was an impressive $51,990 in 2016, engineering had a lot to do with it. Engineering adds hundreds of billions of dollars to the Minnesota economy each year.
Engineering Impacts Minnesota’s Success
Engineering has helped make Minnesota the country’s largest producer of green peas, sweet corn, sugar beets and farm-raised turkeys by creating more efficient, cost-effective production and processing methods and systems. Engineering has helped make agribusiness in Minnesota more profitable. And it has done the same thing for the manufacturing industry. Engineers have improved logging and pulpwood processing, paper production and forest products manufacturing, created effective taconite mining methods, enhanced textile production and make significant contributions to the biomedical industry. They designed and built the Port of Duluth, still an important Midwest shipping port. Engineering is indeed very valuable to Minnesota’s economy.
This video highlights Peerless Industrial Group’s manufacturing facility in Minnesota. This plant depends on the technical innovation that only engineers can provide.
Annual State Revenue/GDP
Minnesota’s real GDP in 2019 was approximately $381.38 billion. The diversity of the state’s economy is a wonderful success story. It reflects strength in sectors like technology, agriculture and manufacturing and show impressive growth in health care, as well as professional and business services. The health and social services sectors are now Minnesota’s number two employer. Many economists anticipate increased investment in technology, engineers and other highly skilled workers statewide. Minnesota’s per capita GDP has grown steadily over the past decade from $48,884 in 2009 to $53,704 in 2019. The median household income in Minnesota in 2019 was $70,655.
Job Growth and Quality of Life
Minnesota enjoyed an increase in annual revenue in 2019 in part because of job growth of 0.3%. Forbes voted Minnesota the number 3 state nationwide when it comes to quality of life and the 15th best state for business. Minnesota is also 16th in regulatory environment and economic climate, according to Forbes. The state has a strong labor supply and is home to large, successful, companies like Target, 3M, General Mills, Medtronic and U.S. Bancorp. These companies add billions of dollars to Minnesota’s economy every year and create a large number of excellent engineering jobs.
The Number of Engineering Jobs in Minnesota
There are tens of thousands of engineers in Minnesota doing meaningful work for companies like Target, 3M, Wells Fargo, UnitedHealth Group, General Dynamics Mission Systems and Medtronic. Organizations like the U.S. Army/ Army Reserves, the US Department of Agriculture, the State of Minnesota and global defense and aerospace technology company Northrop Grumman also hire thousands of engineers in Minnesota. They hire agricultural, architectural, biomedical, chemical, civil, computer and construction engineers. Companies, government organizations and industrial giants in Minnesota have lucrative positions for thousands of electrical, environmental, geotechnical, industrial and manufacturing engineers with all levels of experience.
Engineer Salaries in Minnesota
The median income for engineers working in Minnesota is $82,590. That includes entry level product engineers and mechanical engineers and junior facility engineers with salaries starting at just over $40,000 to as much as $100,000. Minerals processing engineers, chemistry and materials engineer, project engineers and energy engineers in Minnesota can easily earn $65,000 to $95,000 a year. It’s not unusual for a research agricultural engineer to command $79,968 to $123,617 a year and a senior manufacturing engineer to get paid between $85,000 and $100,000 a year.
Type of Engineering Work in Minnesota
The diverse industries and companies and defense, naval and government contractors in Minnesota have work for engineers with all types of expertise and specializations. There are thousands of civil, marine, software, materials and mechanical engineers gainfully employed in Minnesota. Metallurgical, mining, network, nuclear, petroleum, process and packaging engineers are also in great demand. There is also work for quality, sales, safety, solar, structural, systems and telecommunications engineers in Minnesota’s large, diverse and constantly growing economy. Companies in Minnesota are always looking for well-trained, talented, visionary engineers.
Minnesota Engineering Colleges and Universities
In Minnesota, there are more than 65 engineering schools offering certificates, associate’s, bachelor’s and PhD degrees in a vast array of engineering specialties. Studies done in 2019 determined Minnesota’s 10 best engineering colleges are:
- University of Minnesota-Twin Cities
- Carleton College
- Macalester College
- University of Minnesota-Duluth
- University of St Thomas
- Minnesota State University-Mankato
- St Olaf College
- Saint Cloud State University
- Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota
- Concordia College at Moorhead
Engineering in Minnesota
Engineering has a long history in Minnesota and plays a very important role in the state’s diverse economy. From agriculture, to mining, computers, textiles and manufacturing, engineers make crucial contributions to Minnesota’s annual GDP. Companies like Polaris Industries, Artic Cat, Lund Boats, Honeywell, IBM and other national companies have benefited from Minnesota’s thousands of locally trained engineers. And engineers continue to make valuable contributions to the state’s burgeoning high-technology sector and vibrant, diverse, economy.
Are You a Minnesota Professional Engineer
PDH-Pro prepared a concise summary of the professional engineering license renewal requirements for Minnesota. If you are a Minnesota PE, you’ll want to review this list of forms to use, renewal dates, license fees, and a lot more.
We created continuing education packages for Minnesota engineers that include all required courses and credits.