PRESS RELEASE: 2024 Best Places to Work WINNERS!

Workforce Development, Inc. (WDI) is thrilled to announce the unveiling of the “Best Places to Work” in Southeast Minnesota for the year 2024, and our 14th year bringing the survey to the area. As the region’s leading advocate for workforce development and engagement, WDI takes pride in spotlighting organizations that prioritize employee satisfaction, well-being, and professional growth.

After a rigorous evaluation process, seventeen outstanding companies have emerged as the cream-of-the-crop, representing the counties of Winona, Freeborn, Mower, Rice, Steele, Goodhue, Olmsted, Houston, Dodge, Fillmore, and Wabasha. These companies have demonstrated an unwavering commitment to fostering positive work environments, nurturing talent, and driving innovation. The 2024 Best Places to Work Winners include:

Small Employer
(Under 50 Employees)
Southeast Service Cooperative
Peterson, Kolker, Haedt & Benda, Ltd.
IBI Data
Southern MN Municipal Power Agency
Arcadian Bank
Mid-Size Employer
(50-150 employees)
Albert Lea Seed House
People’s Energy Cooperative
Custom Alarm
K&G Manufacturing
Cooperative Response Center, Inc.
Large Employer
(Over 150 employees)
Gemini, Inc.
Knutson Construction
Olmsted County
Riverland Community College
Benike Construction

To celebrate their achievements and the collective dedication to workforce development in Southeast Minnesota, Workforce Development Inc. invites the community to join us at the 2024 Workforce Development Forum celebration scheduled for Thursday, April 25th at the Rochester International Event Center. This event promises to be an inspiring gathering of industry leaders, stakeholders, and professionals committed to shaping the future of the region’s workforce and sharing their best practices.

Don’t miss this opportunity to celebrate excellence and be part of the conversation that drives innovation, growth, and prosperity in Southeast Minnesota. For questions about the 2024 Workforce Development Forum, contact Samantha Draisey at sdraisey@wdimn.org or register through this link!

A SPECIAL THANK YOU TO OUR 2024 FORUM SPONSORS:

Workforce Development, Inc. (WDI) is an independent, non-profit agency with a long history of serving the needs of career seekers and employers in Southeast Minnesota. Reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities provided, upon request, by calling 507.292.5152 or by using your preferred relay service. Workforce Development, Inc. is an Equal Opportunity Employer/Program Provider and a proud partner of the American Job Center Network.

FOR PUBLIC COMMENT: 2024 WIOA PLAN DRAFT

April 2, 2024

CLICK HERE: WIOA Plan DRAFT for Public Comment Region 6 LWDA 8 — 4.2.2024

At this time, Workforce Development, Inc. and the Workforce Development Board of Southeast Minnesota would like to welcome the public in providing feedback for the proposed WIOA (Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act) Regional and Local Workforce Development Area 8 plans spanning 2024-2027.

This federally-required planning document aims to address the diverse needs of our community, and is revisited every 3 years. As a nonprofit organization committed to enhancing workforce development, we value your input in shaping effective strategies that will empower individuals and strengthen our local economy. Your comments are invaluable in ensuring that our plan reflects the aspirations and concerns of the community we serve.

Please take this opportunity to share your thoughts, suggestions, and insights via email to Jinny Rietmann, Executive Director, at jrietmann@wdimn.org or in writing to the mailing address below.

Together, we can create a plan that fosters innovation and inclusivity for all. Thank you for your participation in this important process. 

FOR MAILING:
Workforce Development, Inc.
Attn: Public Comment
2070 College View Road SE
Rochester, MN 55904

PRESS RELEASE: 2024 Workforce Development Forum

Workforce Development, Inc., The SE Minnesota Workforce Development Board, Winona Workforce Development Board, CareerForce and the Rochester Area of Chamber of Commerce Present the 2024 Workforce Development Forum

Rochester, MN – Workforce Development, Inc., the Southeast Minnesota Workforce Development Board, along with CareerForce, Winona Workforce Development Board, and the Rochester Area Chamber of Commerce, are hosting the 2024 Workforce Development Forum, taking place on Thursday, April 25, 2024, at the Rochester International Event Center. This exciting event will feature keynote speaker Gerry Hoeffner, President of Personnel Dynamics Consulting Group and the Best Places to Work program.

The Workforce Development Forum of Southeast Minnesota will be a combined event with the SE Minnesota Best Places to Work celebration; join us as we explore ways to build, invigorate, and invest in workforce development and the Southeast Minnesota regional economy. An employer panel will also be hosted during the event, where we will hear from local employers and discuss their best practices.

Date: Thursday, April 25, 2024

Time: 11:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Location: Rochester Event Center, 7333 Airport View Dr. SW, Rochester, MN 55902

Registration: $25 per person or $175 for a table of eight (8), open to all employers and public.

Register via Eventbrite.

Sponsorship opportunities available! Click the registration link or contact Samantha Draisey at sdraisey@wdimn.org or 507.292.6524 to inquire.

PRESS RELEASE: 2024 Best Places to Work Applications now available!

For the FOURTEENTH year in a row, Workforce Development, Inc. is connecting with Personnel Dynamics Consulting, Inc. to bring the nationally-recognized “Best Places To Work” program back to Southeast Minnesota!

The FREE “Best Places To Work” program is an exciting way to help employers identify what is required to attract and retain their best employees. This program is designed to:

  • Identify the “Best Places To Work” within our region
  • Educate employers on the best ways to recruit and retain employees
  • Collect important employment data from our region
  • Promote workforce issues
  • Market professional workforce associations
  • Energize business and community leaders

Any organization who completes the online survey will receive a free customized report detailing exactly how you compete with other employers in the community. The report reviews 37 different employment measurements and highlights Best Practices being utilized by employers in our region.

The application deadline is March 1, 2024.

Recognitions for this year’s Best Places to Work Award Recipients will be given during the 2024 Workforce Forum on April 25, 2024 at the Rochester International Event Center. Mark your calendars!

For more information on this year’s survey or the Best Places to Work program, contact Kortney Wobbe at Workforce Development, Inc. – 507.292.5189 or kwobbe@wdimn.org.

SURVEY LINK: http://bestplacestoworksurvey.com/survey.asp?posted=1&flag=1

Please share this information far and wide with your networks – other employers/partners, community organizations, local chambers, etc.

We appreciate your collaboration!

PRESS RELEASE: Bridges to Healthcare receives Employment and Training Funds for the Southeast Region

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Workforce Development, Inc., an independent, non-profit agency serving the needs of job seekers and employers in Southeast Minnesota, was recently awarded a direct appropriation for the Bridges to Healthcare program in the total amount of $1.5 million for state fiscal years 2024-2025.

This appropriation will continue to support our existing programming in Olmsted, Freeborn, Mower, and Steele counties. This will also support expansion efforts into Rice County and potential expansion plans to Goodhue and Winona Counties, following the same successful model that has been in place in Rochester since 2013.

The Bridges to Careers model has changed policies, curricula, support systems and institutional relationships. The Bridges model has been identified as a promising practice focused on career pathway programming with employer engagement by the US Department of Education and has been honored by both the Humphrey Institute and Harvard University.

The strong public/private partnerships between Workforce Development, Inc. (WDI), Adult Basic Education Centers (Rochester, Austin, Albert Lea, Owatonna, Faribault, and Red Wing), South Central College, Minnesota State College Southeast, Northfield Hospital and Mayo Clinic have built the foundation for another Bridges to Healthcare program in Southeast Minnesota to include other area long-term care employers. These partners have collaborated on program design, implementation, expansion, and financial/navigational support. They have teamed to recruit, prepare, and support diverse, well-trained, certified, and compassionate students and transition them to employment for Southeast Minnesota healthcare providers through the below process.

On an annual basis, Workforce Development, Inc. serves thousands of people through career planning and pre-vocational skill training. One area of focus of Workforce Development, Inc. is working with populations dealing with multiple barriers to achieving meaningful employment. Our mission is to develop and advance the workforce of Southeast Minnesota. Our vision is to develop and advance the workforce of Southeast Minnesota by acting as a champion for workers, a convening agent bringing partners together to solve workforce problems, a change agent to promote and facilitate innovation and creative solutions, and the agency accountable to the individuals, businesses and communities we serve, providing measurable change. We are a customer-focused, action-oriented team of professionals, dedicated to the principles of Respect, Integrity, Innovation, Education and Community.

Workforce Development, Inc. is an Equal Opportunity Employer/Service Provider Program and a proud partner of the American Job Center network. Reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities can be provided, upon request, by calling 507.292.5152 (voice) or by using your preferred relay service.

PRESS RELEASE: People of Color and Women are Encouraged to Enroll in New Trades Readiness Training program

Media Contacts
Emily Wessing                                                                Julie Brock
Executive Assistant/Marketing Coordinator                   Project Manager
507-252-6524 | ewessing@wdimn.org                           507-421-6487 | jbrock@wdimn.org .  

TAGS: @BloombergDotOrg and #MayorsChallenge, #rochmn

People of Color and Women are Encouraged to Enroll in
New Trades Readiness Training Program

August 10, 2023 – ROCHESTER, MINN. – A new Trades Readiness Certificate program through Workforce Development, Inc. begins on Tuesday, August 29, 2023. The Trades Readiness Training Program provides high quality, apprentice-level training to people interested in construction industry careers. People of color and women are encouraged to apply. Applicants must be 18 years or older, have a valid Minnesota driver’s license and meet minimum math and English assessments. Training will be offered for free to eligible applicants. To apply for the Trades Readiness Training Program contact Stacy Brumfield with Workforce Development, Inc. at 507-252-5159 or sbrumfield@wdimn.org.

In January 2022, Bloomberg Philanthropies selected the City of Rochester as a 2021-2022 Global Mayors Challenge winner of a $1 million grant and technical assistance to create career pathways for BIPOC women in the built environment. The new Trades Readiness Training Program is part of the implementation of the Equity in the Built Environment (EBE) program.

“This training is now the basis for the Equity in the Built Environment program. It can be entered at the top of fall, spring, or summer semester. Classes are on Tuesday and Thursday evenings, so participants can work during the day,” shares Julie Brock, Project Manager with Workforce Development, Inc. and City of Rochester for the EBE program. “We finally have a stable training that is offered consistently that will get people started on their (construction trades) career journey no matter the time of year.”

The City of Rochester and Destination Medical Center (DMC) funded construction projects have workforce participation goals for people of color (15%) and women (7%). Workforce participation performance for women on tracked City of Rochester and DMC projects from April 2017 through June 2023 has been 3.6%, about half of the goal. The number of BIPOC women participating in construction workforce on City and DMC projects has been less than 1%.

Workforce Development, Inc. in partnership with City of Rochester, Minnesota Department of Transportation, Minnesota Clean Cities and Rochester Community and Technical College announce the new Trades Readiness Training Program. All Workforce Development, Inc. services are free. They services include assessment, career planning, skills training, job search guidance and resources and preparation for further training and education. They also offer scholarships and connections to many programs in Southeast Minnesota.

###

Career-Focused Moving: A Guide for a Smooth Transition

Guest Contributor: Sarah Velasquez

Moving for work can be an exhilarating yet intimidating experience. However, you can manage the stress, costs, and time involved with careful planning and organization. This guide offers a strategic blueprint to help streamline your impending career-inspired relocation.

Looking to change careers or jobs in Southeast Minnesota? Contact Workforce Development for support.

Analyze Real Estate Prices

Begin your relocation journey by analyzing local real estate prices in your prospective new area. This will offer a realistic view of what you can afford and where. Online listings provide detailed property market information to aid your decision-making process. Consider factors like distance to your workplace, public transportation links, and nearby amenities when choosing your new home. Being well-informed about your new area can make the transition smoother and quicker.

Reach Out to Friends in the Area

If you’re lucky enough to have acquaintances near your future work location, contact them. They can offer invaluable insights into local lifestyle, living costs, secure neighborhoods, and more. You may even be able to stay with them while house hunting, saving you from expensive hotel stays. Personal recommendations can often lead to finding hidden gems in your new area.

Set Up a Financial Plan for Moving

Setting up a financial plan for your move is essential. This should cover hiring movers, packing materials, travel expenses, temporary accommodations, and any unexpected expenses. A well-planned budget can help you avoid overspending and organize your finances during the transition. A clear financial plan can also help you feel more confident and in control throughout the moving process.

Collaborate with Moving Specialists

Working with a professional moving company can drastically reduce the stress and time involved. These experts have the knowledge and tools to handle your belongings safely. Ensure you get estimates from a variety of companies to make sure you’re getting the best price. Also, check their online reviews and ratings to confirm their reliability. Professional help can transform a daunting move into a manageable task.

Create a Packing Strategy

Creating a packing strategy can help keep things orderly and prevent last-minute chaos. Start with packing non-essential items several weeks before the move, and gradually pack the rest as moving day approaches. Clearly label each box to facilitate easy unpacking later on. A well-thought-out packing strategy can save precious time and prevent misplaced items.

Digitally Archive Critical Work Documents

Before you move, it’s advisable to archive all-important work documents and store them securely online digitally. Here’s an option: Convert your documents into PDFs that are easy to share and store. This ensures you have access to crucial information even if the physical copies get lost during the move. Having digital copies can provide peace of mind and ensure business continuity.

Keep Your Employer Informed

Keeping your employer informed throughout the relocation is essential. Share your moving schedule, anticipate potential disruptions, and discuss your availability during the transition. If your company provides relocation benefits, ensure you fully understand the terms and make the most out of it. Regular updates can help maintain a positive working relationship during your transition.

Relocating for work may seem monumental, but it can be a manageable and enjoyable process with the right strategies and resources. From researching real estate prices, reaching out to local contacts, setting up a financial plan, and collaborating with moving specialists, every step plays a crucial role in ensuring a smooth transition. Remember, a well-thought-out packing strategy and digitally archiving important documents can save you from unnecessary stress. Moreover, keeping your employer informed is critical to maintaining a solid professional relationship during this period. As you embark on this new journey, remember to carefully plan and organize.

Disabled-Owned Start-Ups Are on the Rise

People with disabilities are discovering a bright future for themselves with entrepreneurship. When self-employment means working from their home, a controlled environment already in place, it’s easy to see why the trend in business ownership among those with disabilities is expanding. Or creating an accessible brick-and-mortar business designed for their needs is becoming popular as the growing number of disabled veterans in the workplace has grown.

The Workforce Development Board of Southeast Minnesota is a nonprofit organization that connects people with the resources they need to find and gain meaningful employment. They are dedicated professionals who bring you the following ideas for how to start your own home-based business.

Getting Started

Like any business start-up, it all begins with a business plan. This is a document that lays out, in detail, expectations for how the business will be organized, funded, and staffed. What kind of inventory and production is involved as well as the kind of funding needed to launch, produce, and market the business. Marketing plans, goals, and expectations should also be included. Not only is a business plan essential as a blueprint for entrepreneurs to follow, but is required if you expect funding, grants, or loans.

How the business is structured, sole proprietorship or LLC will help you decide what kind of rules and laws will govern your business. An LLC is preferred by many entrepreneurs since personal assets are protected that way, as well as giving business owners a reduced tax burden. Rules vary from state to state, so checking with Minnesota for your local requirements is advisable. However it can all be done yourself, so you won’t need to hire an attorney.

Funding for business owners with a disability come from a variety of sources like the Federal Government, The Small Business Administration, and The Department of Health and Human Services. If you’re an artist, contact The National Arts and Disability Center. For general information, you can always contact the U.S. Dept. of Labor.

Getting Going

What kind of business a person with a disability might undertake is almost as limitless as for those who are 100% able-bodied. The limits of your disability don’t have to limit your dreams. If you want a business that stems from a hobby, like playing the violin, that could become a violin repair and restoration service. If you’re multilingual, a home business as an interpreter is one that pays well. A catering business could stem from the love of baking or web design as a business rather than something you do for friends and family. In fact, going back to school online for an IT degree can be the perfect first step. Having a degree will allow you to expand your business into areas that you may be limited to otherwise. It can also be an asset when seeking funding or grants. The advantage of getting your degree online means you’re not limited by the accessibility, or lack thereof, of the local college or university, plus you can take classes to fit your schedule and your business hours.

Keeping Going

Whether it’s a wedding and event planner, an art teacher, or an electronics repairer, make sure it’s something you love doing because you’ll be investing a lot of time and money into it. Also, make sure you’re not pushing your limits, (we all have them in one way or another) or burnout will result, especially if your plan is to grow your business outside the confines of your home where your environment is already suited to your needs.

You may even begin a business that serves others who have the same or similar limitations or special needs. No one understands their needs better than a person whose experience is the same.

Going Strong

Keep costs down by using as many online resources as you can to help your business thrive. Templates for making your own business cards, invoices, and other marketing materials can save you a lot of money for professional designers and printers. Use low-cost marketing strategies like in-person networking through chamber of commerce and business-to-business events. Social media marketing usually gives you your data analytic results for free in any of your promotional campaigns.

Having a disability does not have to keep anyone from having their dream of business ownership. With the rise of technological advances in aids for those with physical limitations, more awareness of the need for accessibility, and an understanding of the value of shopping with disabled-owned businesses means the sky can be the limit.

Submitted by Sarah Velasquez

WDI Success Story: May

Please tell us your story; what brought you to the Bridges to Careers program?

I came to the United States wanting to improve my English and start a new career. I started to take classes at Hawthorne to improve my English. Then I started my HCOP certificate and completed it. Then, I started my AOP diploma at RCTC and completed it. Bridges to Careers helped me transition from Hawthorne to RCTC to continue my education.

How would your life be different without the Bridges to Careers program?  Please share how the college prep courses, Career Navigators, job search assistance, support and/or training made a difference for you. 

The Bridges to Career program helped me pay for the Customer Service Skills certificate. They also gave me a scholarship for my AOP classes at RCTC, and they provided me with a mock interview when I wanted to apply for a job, which helped me be prepared for my job interview. They also helped me find a job position within my career and skills. This included helping me prepare my resume and cover letter. Without their help, I might not have been able to complete my diploma or be prepared to apply for a job. I want to let them know that I got hired at Mayo Clinic recently, I’m so happy that I achieved my goal and found the position I was looking for. I want to say thank you to the Bridges to Career program and Jennifer Dang who made a huge effort to help me. Jennifer is a hardworking employee, she helped me to prepare my resume and cover letter, she also helped me find the position that I was looking for, and we did many mock interviews to be ready for the actual one. Thank you so much Jennifer!

 

Contact Us Today!

Fill out the form to connect with your personal Career Planner. We’re ready to help you reach your goals!

Error: Contact form not found.