Sioux Falls summit addresses worker shortage

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SIOUX FALLS, SD (KELO) — Finding workers to fill job openings can be a challenge for companies in South Dakota. The state has an unemployment rate that’s well below the national average. The Sioux Falls Development Foundation hosted a summit Thursday to explore ways of addressing a shortage of workers. One of the keys is creating the right work culture that fits the kind of employee you’re looking to hire.

Many of the companies inside this meeting hall compete against one another in the everyday business world. But they also find common cause in placing the best and brightest in their workforce pool.

“We’re putting aside who we play for on a day-to-day basis to try to grow Sioux Falls to help with the workforce and talent retention here in the Sioux Empire,” Ryan Boschee of Great Western Bank said.

Experts say how you brand your company can attract younger workers, from the so-called Generation Z, who are just starting their careers.

“And so there’s going to be this big shift between the Millennials and Generation Z where they’re coming in and they want that complete career, commitment to cause and culture, that’s a driver,” Denise Guzzetta of the Sioux Falls Development Foundation said.

But filling job openings isn’t just a challenge for Sioux Falls. Businesses in smaller communities also struggle to find workers.

“We’re not going to have some of the amenities of some of the larger communities have, but that’s something that we can work on as a goal because we know that liveability is a big piece of that workforce attraction,” Michelle Kakacek of Watertown Development Company said.

A robust local economy must also create job opportunities for marginalized people: those who are just out of jail or treatment and immigrants who are new to the community.

“And one of the things I have to coach them through is to expect rejection to know that’s part of the process,” Terry Liggins of Lutheran Social Services said.

Liggins hopes a summit like this can show businesses that employees from all backgrounds can make big contributions to their companies.

Critics often point to low pay as one of the reasons South Dakota loses workers to other higher-wage states. But organizers of the summit say higher pay may get workers into the door, yet it’s the company’s culture that keeps them from leaving.

If you’re looking for a job you can go to KELOLAND Employment, where jobs are not only listed by category, you can also select which city or town where you’re looking.

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