Finding creative ways to recruit and retain employees

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There are a lot of “hiring now” signs around town, but it’s been tough to get workers in the doors of those businesses.

“I think employers in our state, we got really low unemployment, and they are finding the need to get creative with how to meet their workforce needs. How are they going to recruit people? Because as we heard today, they are not getting the number of applicants they used to be getting five or ten years ago. They are getting fewer applicants,” said Dan Solomon, Manager for Minnesota Dual-Training Pipeline.

Some recruiting leaders in Duluth share some of the things they found challenging when hiring employees. Those challenges include some having a record and having access to internet services to apply and search for a job when you do not have easy access to services. Other factors include having the infrastructure to recruit people to Duluth and keep them around for more than a few years.

The Minnesota Workforce Pipeline program will continue to help employers connect with job seekers. The pipeline was started as a pilot program in 2014 and became fully sustained in 2015.

Solomon explains in depth what the program focuses mainly on, “Minnesota Dual Training Pipeline works with employers in manufacturing, agriculture, health care, and I.T. to meet their workforce needs through creating a strategy where you combine on-the-job training with some formal education to really scale up workers so that they can see their potential, achieve their career pathway and be able to move forward and advance in the organization.”

There are currently 75 current pipeline occupations. The pipeline is excited to offer its Youth Skills Training (YST) program available for high school students ages 16 and 17.

Members of the workforce discuss how this provides support, helps retain existing employers, and shows new employers the education, training, and support they can obtain.

“One of the strategies that are really important is for employers to invest in their existing workforce, to take a look at who they have in mind and look for opportunities to train them and help them build the skills that the employer needs,” Elena Foshay, Director of Workforce Development for the City of Duluth.

Along with investing in your employees, providing incentives has also helped with recruiting and retaining people, like flexibility and tuition reimbursements, to name a few.

On the other side, Foshay shares how there are a lot of businesses that are not taking full advantage of this pipeline.

“It is something different. It is a different approach than what they are used to. A lot of employers are short-staffed and stretched thin, so they do not kind of have that extra capacity to think outside the box pursuing something new and different. That is where someone like workforce development can come in and help. We can sit down and understand what the employer’s needs are and wrap our heads around what a proposed program might be.”