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Need for workforce development and labor shortage

August 03, 2017 Public Report On Workforce Development Inc


Per KTTC (August, 2017)


A group of people from eleven counties put their heads together to prioritize labor shortages.

The South East Minnesota Workforce Development board held their annual strategic planning Thursday morning. The focus of the meeting was labor shortage and skills deficiencies, and how to position their energies and resources.

One way is to make sure young people prepared for technical skills. Another way is to get people to where the jobs are.

"There's a genuine lack of people. If you count the number of people who are not employed, and look at the number of jobs available, you actually are getting to a point where jobs are going to start outnumbering the people," said Randy Johnson, Executive Director of Workforce Inc. "Now we do have a serious issue of under-employment where people may have training but it doesn't align with the skills needed for jobs that are open." 

Johnson said the labor supply has not been completely exhausted, there are some people who find it difficult to find jobs like minorities and those who were previously incarcerated.

They looked at creative solutions, and hope the talks would create strategies and plans for career pathway advancement.

They also hope to repeat the best practices for the upcoming year.





Per PB (December, 2015)

Local business leaders warned state lawmakers on Thursday that southeast Minnesota is facing a severe labor shortage.

"I believe we have a crisis in this area, and I know it's across the state as well. We do not have the workforce to fill not only the opportunities we have today, but the opportunities we have going forward," said John Wade, Clements Chevrolet Cadillac's general manager/partner.

Members of the House Greater Minnesota Economic & Workforce Development Policy traveled to Rochester on Thursday to learn more about the region's economic challenges. They started the day at the Rochester WorkForce Center at Rochester Community and Technical College.

Among the challenges is that workforce participation rates have failed to rise — even as the economy has improved. Because of that, Johnson said it's important to encourage people to stay in the labor market. He said it's important to incentivize older workers to stay in the workforce instead of retiring. It's also critical to get young people into the labor force.

"We have kids that have never taken a job because of the recession," Johnson said.

In addition, it's important to make sure individuals with disabilities, returning veterans and people with criminal histories are also able to find work. Another critical piece is to promote immigration to the community, Johnson said.

During the discussion, lawmakers learned about several local programs aimed at addressing the labor shortage. They include Rochester's Pathways to College and Careers — a collaboration of RCTC, Hawthorne Education Center, Mayo Clinic, Workforce Development Inc. and United Way of Olmsted County. The program supports students in transitioning to college. In some cases, these students are the first in their families to go to college or they are newcomers to the region who are still developing their English skills.

Mayo Clinic has chipped in $85,000 toward the pathways program and has hired more than 100 graduates so far, according to Guy Finne, human resources manager at Mayo Clinic. It has also helped diversify the clinic's workforce — something Finne said is a priority for the clinic.

"The beauty of it is it allows us an opportunity to truly tap into this community that we would not be able to do so without this program partnership, and it prepares folks for our jobs and to be successful in those jobs," Finne said.

Julie Nigon, program manager for Hawthorne's Adult & Family Literacy Program, said the biggest challenges for the pathways program is a lack of reliable, sustainable funding.

"This is not cheap. I am not going to lie to you," Nigon said.

The program is funded through a mix of temporary grants and donations from local organizations. She said it does require intensive staff time to help make sure these students succeed, including having career navigators on hand to help them adjust to college. But she said the outcomes have been phenomenal and the short-term costs are much cheaper than the long-term costs of these individuals being unable to find work and being enrolled in public assistance.

Rep. Kim Norton, DFL-Rochester, said Rochester's pathway program could be used a model for other parts of the state and replicated.

"As a legislator, I think it's important that we fund things that are working. And this is a model that's clearly working and has a long history behind it," Norton said.

Wade also told lawmakers about the Journey To Growth initiative, a five-year economic plan aimed at diversifying southeast Minnesota's economy. Wade, who is leading the initiative, said Mayo Clinic accounts for 40 percent of the local economy and it's critical the region also support other industries. A key part of that plan centers on creating apprenticeships, internships and mentorships.

The committee's vice chairman, Rep. Steve Green, R-Fosston, said he supports encouraging businesses to offer those sorts of opportunities to students.

He added, "I would like to go with tax incentives for businesses because grants will come and go depending on who's in office and the program will end when the grant ends."






August 03, 2017 Public Report On Workforce Development Inc



Admin Info

DMC Impact(s):

PlanScape(s): Economic Development ; Income ; Workforce Development

Community Health Impact(s):

Date: 2017/08/03

Last Modification Date: 2016-10-10T21:14:49-05:00

Last Modified by: allnode

Source: KTTC

Type: Status

Sort Order: 1

State: Public

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  • For the commercial sector, we tend to register startup activities (new companies and new commercial projects) that bring diversification and high-impact opportunities to the area.
  • For the non-profit sector, we wish to shine light on all the organizations and services that otherwise labor under relative obscurity.
  • Our hope is that will encourage cross-sector collaborations and creative solutions.

While there are a number of registries in the community,'s  distinct value is to pilot a database with a data structure and categorizations that answer the questions such as: What organizations or projects/programs in our community that have purported relevance with some of the over-arching focuses put forward by initiatives such as DMC, J2G and Health Improvements?

This database could be used as one of the ways to explore the capacities of the community. If you are someone on an exploratory journey to learn about the greater Rochester community. could be an interesting first step.

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