Create More Jobs for the Working Poor
December 13, 2007 - Sioux Falls Argus Leader, by Marty Gallanter
The topic of the moment is work-force development. Jargon aside, that means “where are we going to get the workers.” One cannot drive
I attended a meeting of Forward Sioux Falls II recently where “workforce development” was a hot topic. FSF2 is not an organization, but a community-wide think tank that discusses, suggests and debates serious societal issues. FSF2 is not designed to solve problems, but to help identify them and propose multi-faceted solutions. As the name implies, there was a Forward Sioux Falls one that greatly contributed to the long range planning of our city. It was so good that folks wanted to do it again and they did. I have been involved for over three years.
Many issues were covered, but workforce development was the one that got the most attention. The discussion centered largely on attracting new people to the city, raising Sioux Falls’ profile so young workers would know there were opportunities and promoting the excitement right here in South Dakota. There was lots of good talk, many good ideas and proposals that were “sexy,” innovative and fun. But I think something basic was overlooked.
There’s no question that there is and will continue to be a need for highly skilled people to feed the machinery of our rapidly growing research and medical communities. However, right now, there are hundreds; maybe thousands of jobs open in entry level customer service, in retail and manufacturing. The CEO of one company told me that without the hard-working immigrant community he would be in trouble. Even so his turnover rate exceeds 40%. There are few who would move to
That discussion directed a thought. There are hundreds, maybe several thousand, families in greater
The challenge is found in the Federal Government cutbacks in funding for language training (the Even Start program), job training and skill development. All the money is going into
Here’s a radical suggestion. Maybe the companies who hope to hire these people will be willing to risk some dollars to get them ready to fill jobs. The
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