Workforce roundtable with DEED Commissioner in Duluth

As we continue to emerge out of this pandemic, the nation as a whole is working to bounce back on an economic level. Minnesota included.

Friday, the state’s Department of Employment and Economic Development made a visit to Duluth, hosting a roundtable for open discussion about how the state can help local businesses jumpstart economic recovery.

"We’re just coming out of a legislative session where we passed a bunch of new programs that help jumpstart this economic recovery," said Commissioner Steve Grove. "And we want to make sure organizations in Duluth know about those programs and can apply for them so we can really move this process of recovery forward a lot faster than we otherwise would."

Grove said Duluth is out-pacing the rest of the state in the growth of the labor force. He said wages have gone up in the region, and employers are trying new ways to entice workers to join their companies.

"We’re just looking forward to hear how things are going in the market. What are the challengers employers are facing? What are the concerns job-seekers have in this new market? We all knew things would be different, kind of on the other side of the pandemic. And what that actually looks like is different across the state," said Grove. "So we in government need to get out on the road and be here in places like Duluth, learn from leaders in the community, make sure our programs, dollars, and incentives are actually going to work to get this economy moving faster."

He said navigating this new job market takes collaboration from both government officials and local leaders.

"We’re hearing one of the big concerns employers have across the state is labor shortages. And that’s true here in Duluth as it is everywhere, people are looking for workers. This was a problem even before the pandemic, so it’s been a big issue we’ve been grappling with in Minnesota for some time. Employers are rethinking some of their benefit packages and their wages. Childcare providers are trying to find ways to increase more slots so people can actually go to work.

It’s a strange time in the economy, it’s one in which your government should be partnering with you along the way to make growth happen faster. And we’re hearing some good feedback from employers that’s gonna help us do that better."