This blog features information provided by RealTime Talent to Ramsey County for their Untapped Talent Series. Please be sure to register for this event! This blog post highlights population and education data for Black talent in Ramsey County and is the first in a series of four posts.


There are currently about 65,848 Black residents in Ramsey County, comprising 12.1% of the population (2016-2020 ACS 5-Year Estimates, US Census Bureau). However, Black talent represents a smaller overall share of Ramsey County’s workforce and 2020 postsecondary graduates, and a  larger share of the overall unemployed workforce. According to the most recent 5-Year ACS Estimates from the US Census Bureau, Ramsey County’s Black workforce has an unemployment rate of 8.5%, or 2,670 Black Ramsey County residents who are unemployed.

Limited service or device access can negatively affect access to remote work or learning. The following map shows the percentage of Black residents by zip code in Ramsey County. The purple lines and the green dashed lines show communities with the top 5% of limited device or service access. Many of the communities with limited service access on the south side of the county as well as downtown and midway communities in Saint Paul also have high concentrations of Black residents.

Share of Population with Access to Broadband-Connected Devices in Ramsey County[1]


Black Ramsey County residents 25 years or older have lower college completion rates than peer groups. Below, we provide an overview of postsecondary education attainment in Ramsey County by race and ethnicity.

Just over one in four (26.3%) of Black Ramsey County adults 25 years or older hold a high school diploma or GED as their highest level of educational attainment.

In Ramsey County, 33.7% of Black adults 25 years or older have some college or an Associate’s degree as their highest level of educational attainment.

The following graph shows educational attainment of adults (25+ years old) by race in Ramsey County.

Educational Attainment of Adult Residents by Race, 25+ Ramsey County [2]

Gaps in educational attainment have implications for access to high-wage, high-demand careers that typically require postsecondary credentials. Next, we look at completion rates and opportunities to build stronger bridges between secondary and postsecondary education.

The following highlights educational completion rates for Black Minnesotans:

  • 8% of Black students graduate from 2-year colleges within 3 years.
  • 1% of Black students graduate from 4-year colleges within 6 years.
  • 32% of Black Minnesotans between 25-44 years hold an Associate’s degree or higher.

Research demonstrates that those with college degrees or certificates earn more than those without in the long-term. Unfortunately, financial, academic, and social barriers can prevent access to institutions, especially for many Black, Indigenous, Hispanic, and Asian students.

The graph below was built with the Center for Economic Inclusion Diversity Indicator Tool and shows disaggregated post-secondary completion by race and ethnicity in Minnesota.[3]

Postsecondary Completion by Race and Ethnicity, Minnesota

While 61% of White and Asian-American Minnesota adults aged 25 to 44 possess a post-secondary degree, the same is true for far lower shares of other racial and ethnic groups–32% of Black adults. Shares are even lower among groups that include many recent immigrants and refugees, such as Somalis (21%).

The Minnesota Legislature set a goal to help at least 70 percent of Black, Indigenous, Hispanic, Asian, and White adults between the ages of 24 and 44 earn an associate’s degree or higher, or receive a professional certificate, by 2025.[4] Approximately 8% of Indigenous adults, 8% of White adults, and 7% of Black adults have earned these certificates, as of 2020.

Career and Technical Education programming in public high schools are an opportunity to build a clear connection for students to postsecondary education and a future career path. Between the Saint Paul Consortium and the Northeast Metro Consortium, both located in Ramsey County, 83.6% of Black high schoolers (5,739) participated in a Career and Technical Education course in 2020. Local Career and Technical Education leaders track and seek to grow the success rate of these students entering into high-skill, high-wage, high-demand career pathways. For more information, contact your local Career and Technical Education coordinator.

Efforts are being made to increase access to certifications and education opportunities, as demonstrated above, however, there are gaps in access for Black students. In the next blog post in our series, we will cover talent and workforce opportunities for Black residents in Ramsey County.

[1] Ramsey County. Broadband Equity Map. Accessed 6.20.2022 at,44.7848,-92.4318,45.2357

[2] US Census Bureau, 2020 ACS 5-Year Estimates. Illustrates highest level of educational attainment by race of residents 25 years or older residing in Ramsey County.

[3]  American Public Media, visualized by Center for Economic Inclusion. Accessed 6.20.2022 at

[4] Minnesota Office of Higher Education. Accessed 6.20.2022 at