Category: Success Stories
The nature of work has shifted dramatically in recent years. Much of the changes can be attributed to advances in technology, which help workers become more mobile and less constrained by geographic boundaries. Technology has also resulted in more automation, which can influence job availability.
Rural Minnesota Concentrated Employment Program strives to keep up with the latest workplace trends. As part of this effort, Executive Director Dan Wenner attended a National Association of Workforce Boards conference in Washington, D.C. this spring with board members Carol Anderson and Janet Green.
While in D.C., the CEP group visited with Representatives Collin Peterson and Rick Nolan as well as Senators Al Franken and Amy Klobuchar to ensure legislators are aware of the workforce needs of rural Minnesotans. “Our representatives and senators are keenly aware of the skills gap issues employers are facing in Minnesota,” says Anderson.
Some key trends discussed at the conference were: the challenges brought on by automation, labor shortages and helping youth establish a career path.
As more jobs become automated, the U.S. is experiencing the most profound shift in the economy in a century. With these changes comes tremendous opportunity for mid-level skill jobs, but employers are demanding an increasing level of education for such positions, which makes RMCEP’s services all the more relevant. “RMCEP has the knowledge and expertise to assist people in obtaining the skills they need to qualify for occupations in demand,” says Green.
Blue-collar jobs in industries such as manufacturing, construction and energy are facing labor shortages as many in the workforce head for retirement. But a skills gap also plays a significant role in the problem. A Monster.com survey showed that such industries are hurt more by lack of skills than automation. Real-time job skills training is being touted as a solution. RMCEP intends to continue to forge connections with employers to stay on top of this trend.
To solve the problem of underemployment among young people, the suggestion was to look at employer needs and “reverse engineer” a career pathway forward to those jobs. This means emphasizing job and career training in high school or earlier, putting more emphasis on channels like social media and directing marketing appeals to parents and grandparents.
According to Wenner, “RMCEP will continue its efforts to reach out to young adults to help them identify careers that not only match their interests but that offer career possibilities. This will benefit young adults, business and the economy.”
Overall, it was a productive trip, with lessons learned that will ensure RMCEP services continue to evolve with the changing workplace into the future.
Category: Success Stories
Finding a job isn’t an easy task. Thankfully, there’s assistance out there. Rural MN CEP has been helping match employees with jobs for nearly 50 years. Our locations throughout North Central and West Central Minnesota serve as an excellent resource for job seekers that want to improve their resumes and interview skills. We also organize job fairs to bring businesses and potential employees together.
Job Fairs are advantageous for both employers and job seekers because they streamline the hiring process. The face-to-face networking that occurs is valuable for everyone involved. Workers don’t have to apply to countless jobs without any direct contact, waiting weeks for responses. Businesses can meet potential employees and even conduct interviews onsite.
The events entail a fair amount of work for organizers, but the results make it worthwhile. We recently had two wildly successful job fairs in April, in Little Falls and Detroit Lakes.
Little Falls Career and Job Fair
The second annual Little Falls Career and Job Fair at the Little Falls Community High was a productive event. Forty-eight employers participated — and five additional employers are on a waiting list for next time.
A variety of industries were represented, including manufacturing, health care, human services, business administration and more. This gave more than 100 job seekers a chance to find out about a wide range of employment options in Little Falls and the surrounding areas. Several job seekers made direct connections with employers and even interviewed at the fair.
RMCEP’s partnership with the Little Falls Community High School provides a unique opportunity. Giving students the chance to communicate with potential employers and learn about local job prospects could influence their decision to stay in the area rather than move away. This year, 265 high school students attended the fair and were able to research potential career prospects, ask questions and learn about the best ways to develop the skills needed to work in their field of choice.
Detroit Lakes Job Fair
The Detroit Lakes Job Fair at the local workforce center was also well attended. Eighty-two job seekers had a record number of 42 employers to interact with and a total of 225 job openings to learn about.
Employers from a number of industries were represented, including healthcare, retail, service and manufacturing. Informational interviews were conducted with job seekers on-site and 72 follow up interviews have already been scheduled.
Job seekers expressed they appreciated having the chance to speak to multiple employers at one time. Several job seekers have reported they have additional interviews and pending job offers.
Businesses attending the event had positive feedback, such as “Keep up the great work” and “Better and better each year.” Employers say they are already looking forward to next year’s event.