5 Minutes with Bryan Lindsley – Minnesota Philanthropy Partners5 Minutes with Bryan Lindsley

5 Minutes with Bryan Lindsley
You previously served as executive director of the Governor’s Workforce Development Council. How does that experience help inform your work today as executive director of the Minneapolis Saint Paul Regional Workforce Innovation Network (MSPWin)?
“In that job, I spent a lot of time figuring out the ins and outs of federal workforce policies, and how the state policy worked in Minnesota. I also looked at a lot of workforce programs, and which programs receive funding. Just knowing how that works has been essential to figuring out how Minnesota can best allocate new resources in workforce development.”
What can Twin Cities residents do to help MSPWin in its mission?
“Spread the word that closing racial employment disparities will benefit everyone. Oftentimes, people think there’s a tradeoff between competitiveness and equity. But that is a false dichotomy. According to the Itasca Project, if we closed the racial unemployment disparities over time, that would mean 122,000 more adults in the paid workforce by 2040. The personal income from those workers would add $5 billion to our local economy, and an additional $500 million to our state and local taxes.”
Over the years, what have you learned about the most effective ways to create change?
“First, clearly define the problem. Then, bring partners together to figure out how to effectively manage that problem over time. People often think that if you simply had enough money you could solve a problem and it would be gone. But in reality, most problems are pretty complex, so effectively managing them over time requires a mix of different interventions and strategies.”
What’s your favorite everyday way to give back to your community?
“I give blood every eight weeks.”
What is the best advice you’ve received?
“Play big chess. Addressing our region’s need for talent and closing racial employment disparities is going to take more than small changes, which is like moving the pawns around the chess board. Our actions need to be proportionate to what we want to achieve. That means a big vision and collective action.”
A condensed version of this article was published in the June 2015 e-newsletter of MNSights, the every-other-month e-newsletter that provides news, information and resources to help readers be more effective philanthropists. The contents of this article are current as of the publication date. Find more news, information and resources to help you be an effective philanthropist on our MNSights page.
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