My name is Kelsey Doom, and I am your new director of economic development. I have been asked to write a column to update my community on the plans an...
Meet the New Director of Economic Development!
June 9, 2014
South Dakota Workforce Shortage
June 30, 2014
South Dakota has a major workforce shortage. After attending the last of the Governor’s Workforce Summit meetings on June 17th in Sioux Falls, I learned that if we were to match up every unemployed worker in South Dakota with a job, there would still be open positions and a need for many workers—what this means is that there is no room to expand businesses in South Dakota within the current workforce inventory. The concern we are facing is that the skill sets simply are not matching the job openings. Governor Daugaard mentioned he thought there was not enough emphasis on the availability of higher compensated positions available, especially for those with specialty degrees, like HVAC and electricians. I agree with the governor—it seems that associates and technical degrees are almost frowned upon by parents and students when reviewing and selecting a career path, even though these skills are the most desired set of skills for the majority of South Dakota employers and as well as the base skills training for most of our entrepreneurs. How do we change this mentality? And how do we entice people with those precious skill sets to move back to our area?
Another concern of the workforce summit was that young adults are entering the workforce with little to no work experience. Society was blamed for putting more emphasis on sports and extracurricular activities than building a solid resume. In our own community, only a few local businesses are willing to hire on high school students. Between the emphasis on athletic success and lack of jobs available, there is definitely a challenge for the young adults in our community to get ahead early in life.
After speaking with multiple members of our community about the needs in their business, I am evaluating and pursuing is a partnership with Mr. Dana Sanderson, Career Counselor at Wagner Community School, to create our own workforce of our community’s young adults who are attending high school and are interested in working but unable to find a position that is able to accommodate the busy and inconsistent schedules of sporting events and academics. My goal is to meet the needs of our area citizens (such as the lack of cleaning companies, window washers, and handymen/women) while assisting and making connections with the young people in our community. Who knows, a few might find their passion and make a living out of it!