Good morning, Secretary Roberts. Are you here?
Good. We'll start in about a minute.
Good morning. Welcome to our Live Chat with Secretary of Labor and Regulation Pamela Roberts.
What prompted Gov. Dennis Daugaard to put forward his South Dakota Workforce Initiatives (WINS)?
The Governor and the team from the Governor's Office of Economic Development (GOED) met with numerous businesses around South Dakota over the past several months.
Does your department have some input into the program?
The result of those meetings was a message from employers that they would expand in South Dakota if they could find enough skilled workers to hire.
Does your department have some input into the program?
Yes, the Department of Labor & Regulation is very involved in the state's workforce issues. We also shared with the Governor, that our local offices located throughout South Dakota were also hearing the same hiring issues from employers we work with on a daily basis.
Thank you. Have there been companies that couldn’t be brought to South Dakota or who changed their plans to move here because of a lack of skilled workers in the state?
Last summer, Governor Daugaard established a workgroup composed of several cabinet members and members of his executive team. We have been meeting on a weekly basis to develop the 20 points established in the Governor's South Dakota WINS program.
The Governor's Office of Economic Development could better answer your question on companies plans to move to South Dakota. DLR has a different mission.
Our mission is to help employees find jobs and employers find workers once they are established in our borders.
OK. Are there many businesses and companies in the state that have complained to the governor and your department that they can't find qualified workers in South Dakota?
Yes, especially in the James River Valley area. Specifically in Aberdeen, Huron, Mitchell, Yankton and Watertown.
We have also had hard to fill, high demand jobs that cannot be filled in almost every community in South Dakota.
One of the areas in the WINS initiative is to prepare children for future jobs. Will there be new curriculum introduced into the high schools to reflect the WINS goals?
The Department of Education is very involved in the South Dakota WINS project. There was much discussion about their "MyLife" project which helps connect K-12 students with occupations early in their schooling. We all agreed that the children of South Dakota need to better understand the types of jobs that are available at the end of their education so they can better prepare while they are in school.
Why are there so many unfilled skilled labor positions in the state? Is it a lack of foresight by state officials? Are high school students not adequately planning for their future?
Governor Daugaard's proposal also expands the MyLife project.
To save money, many school districts have cut counselor positions. Do we need more career guidance counselors at the high school level?
I think it is more a reflection of our demographics. We have fewer children being born and fewer in the K-12 system, so fewer workers going into jobs. In order to grow the South Dakota economy, we need to look to bring in more workers.
We have a comment from a viewer who wonders if lower wages paid in South Dakota is a factor. Are trained, skilled workers going out of state for better pay?
When you look at the statistics from graduates of the technical schools in South Dakota, they have a very high retention rate. In other words, when you get skills training in South Dakota you typically end up with a good job in South Dakota.
Cathy Anderson has a question.
The Governor is focusing in the areas where he heard from businesses there was a need, and specifically if they are higher than average wage jobs. The broad areas include engineering, accounting, healthcare, etc.
Also the trades areas - like electricians.
And science and math teachers.
Part of the WINS initiative is bringing 1,000 skilled workers from out of state to South Dakota for existing, unfilled jobs. How is the state going to reach these workers? Will there be an advertising campaign?
The details on the 1,000 jobs program are being worked out by the Governor's Office.
We have another viewer question.
There are many welding jobs available in South Dakota.
What will be the cost of the WINS initiative?
For the three programs currently being administered through the South Dakota Department of Labor & Regulation (DLR) the Governor is proposing:
1. No additional funding for our internship program, just new focus and activity.
2. $50,000 to fund the National Career Readiness Certificate testing program in South Dakota High Schools.
3. $100,000 one time and $100,000 ongoing to promote our
Dakota Roots program.
Dakota Roots has done a great job matching South Dakota jobs to those wanting to return to South Dakota to work. We have moved about a family every day back to South Dakota into an available job since the program began back in 2006.
With further promotion, we feel we can increase those numbers.
Cathy Anderson has another question.
DLR staff in our 15+ locations throughout South Dakota are visiting with employers about the value of this program and we are getting very good response. We are also testing every worker that touches our system, so they have those certificates in hand when they apply for jobs.
We are also piloting a program where we assist a business or two in most of our communities in profiling one of their jobs.
If you have any suggestions, or if you know of anyone wanting information we would be happy to provide.
The governor announced a "Red Tape Review" to remove out-of-date or unnecessary regulations and statutes and a "Better Government" initiative. Will these make South Dakota a more business-friendly state?
Absolutely. We have done a lot of work throughout state government eliminating old, hard to read rules and statutes and making them clearer, more concise and easier to understand.
We have actually partnered with the tech schools and provided funding for graduates in some, specified programs (where we had specific federal funding). As stated earlier, DLR is also providing those certificates to individuals who touch our system. So, send workers/graduates our way if they are interested in being tested.
Thank you, Secretary Roberts. Is there anything that you would like to add before we conclude our live chat?
Thank you for joining us this morning.