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Workforce Development Committee Talks Solutions
Pierre, SD – Pierre needs unique educational opportunities, needs to talk about the opportunities that already exist, and needs to provide training to both employees and its employers.
That was the message Mary Gates, Education Committee Chair for Pierre’s Workforce Development Council, delivered at the Pierre City Commission meeting Tuesday night. Gates is Chair of the education committee and has been working with other committee members since last summer to confirm barriers and develop ways to overcome those barriers.
“We’re in solution mode,” said Gates. “There is some low-hanging fruit out there, but to positively impact the local workforce concern in a meaningful way will take some long-term commitment from our entire community.”
The low-hanging fruit Gates referenced includes building an online clearinghouse of local educational opportunities that already exist. The more challenging recommendations included establishing a soft skill training program for job seekers, establishing a management training program for employers, and instituting a local post-secondary education program that is so unique in nature it could serve as a magnet for students.
The committee will spend the next several months working on implementation plans and finding partners to help champion those plans.
“I commend the education committee for the work they have done so far,” said Pierre Mayor Laurie Gill. “Some of the ideas could truly transform Pierre, and I certainly hope that as a community we can see these ideas through to fruition.”
Mayor Gill established the local workforce development council last year. It includes a cross-sector of about 30 government, quasi-government, and private industry stakeholders tasked with recommending solutions to our local workforce shortage. The council consists of three committees –education, housing and recruitment.
The Workforce Development Council will hold its next meeting on August 3 from 3:30 p.m. – 5 p.m. at the Pierre Area Chamber of Commerce.