Jinny Rietmann: September is Workforce Development Month!

Published 9:32 pm Friday, September 16, 2022

This month we are celebrating Workforce Development Month and providing tidbits of information on workforce development services and the critical work we are doing to develop and advance the workforce of Southeast Minnesota.

In July, Minnesota’s unemployment rate was 1.8%, which is the lowest on record out of any state, ever. While this number likely isn’t surprising to you if you’ve been hiring, it does help us shed some light on the challenges we are all facing when it comes to hiring, finding talent, and keeping talent.

Workforce development services are more important than ever to ensure that all individuals have the skills necessary to fill the critical jobs that ensure our region’s healthy economy. Still, there is often a mismatch of opportunity and skill level, something we’ve been calling an “opportunity mismatch.” Workforce Development, Inc. provides training programs and support services for individuals seeking a career or employment opportunity.

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We also serve as a connecting piece for area employers who are looking for talent. We have numerous Career Pathways programs that guide individuals into in-demand careers, and we have a small but mighty staff of over 85 professionals throughout southeast Minnesota, all looking to assist you in making this connection. In addition, we have training and support funding to assist individuals in attaining their career goals.

Did you know?

• There are over 500 workforce development boards across the United States, overseeing a network of over 2,500 American Job Centers. In Minnesota, there are sixteen workforce development boards overseeing Workforce Development, Inc. and CareerForce locations;

• In Southeast Minnesota, the Workforce Development Board represents private businesses, local government, non-profit partners, and CareerForce partners. All 10 counties are represented, and local businesses represent various targeted industry sectors. Our work is also overseen by our Joint Powers Board, which represents each of the 10 county commissioners’ boards;

• 81% of job seekers who receive intensive/full services from their local workforce development board are employed within 6 months (National Association of Workforce Boards);

• 1 out of 12 Americans “touches” the workforce system every year;

• The U.S. gained 372,000 jobs, up 0.2% from May to June 2022;

• Minnesota lost 417,600 jobs from February through April 2020 and has since gained 335,900 jobs as of May 2022, or 81% of the jobs lost on a seasonally adjusted basis;

• In southeast Minnesota, we have a WDI office in each of the 10 counties we serve: Albert Lea, Austin, Caledonia, Faribault, Kasson, Owatonna, Preston, Red Wing, Rochester, and Wabasha; and

• We served over 5,500 career seekers in Southeast Minnesota last year, and hundreds of employers.

Check out our video that describes some of our programming. Please connect with us today!