Spearfish Economic Development Outlines Workforce Development Strategy

Workforce Development PhotoAs part of its ongoing mission to grow the Spearfish community through business development and job creation, the Spearfish Economic Development Corporation (SEDC) recently implemented a new strategy to help address local workforce recruitment challenges.

“For the Spearfish area to maintain a pattern of continued economic success, it will be crucial that we both grow and train our local labor force,” said SEDC Executive Director Kory Menken.  “SEDC is committed to working with our private and public partners in strengthening local workforce development and attraction efforts.”

An abundant and trained workforce is not only important to the retention and expansion of existing Spearfish businesses, but also to the recruitment of new industry to the community.  According to a recent survey of 150 of the nation’s fastest-growing companies, access to talent was the most frequently cited factor in their site selection decisions.*

“SEDC has already implemented a variety of workforce development initiatives,” explained Menken. “The creation of a strategy with concrete action steps will help to provide a blueprint for long-term success.”

Menken stressed that while it is not the intent nor the mission of SEDC to function as a substitute for the workforce recruitment activities and responsibilities of individual companies, the organization can serve an important role in complementing and supplementing these efforts.

To that end, SEDC aims to:

  • Provide local businesses with strategic tools to help enhance their current workforce recruitment and retention efforts;
  • Educate and update the Spearfish business community on regional, state and national workforce development initiatives;
  • Share private sector tactics and strategies that are proving effective for other private sector companies;
  • Help attract new workers to the Spearfish area through a variety of marketing initiatives utilizing social media, digital marketing and traditional media sources;
  • Support efforts to create a culturally-vibrant community that will help to retain young professionals and prove attractive to employment prospects new to the Spearfish area;
  • Promote available opportunities for the reskilling and upskilling of today’s workers;
  • Champion ongoing initiatives by regional education institutions to customize their curriculums and establish new programs to meet the workforce needs of the business community;
  • Serve as a proponent for the establishment and expansion of technical training and career readiness programs in local schools, as well as efforts to encourage young people to pursue in-demand professions;
  • Identify opportunities to connect high school and college students with the local business community via internships and job shadow programs, as well as support ongoing efforts to better introduce college students to the Spearfish business community; and
  • Support initiatives to increase workforce housing.

Spearfish’s overall attractiveness and livability is a significant asset to talent recruitment.  Among 25 to 34 year-olds with college degrees, two-thirds look for a job after they choose the community where they want to live.**

“Solving the Spearfish area’s workforce challenges will not happen overnight,” noted Menken.  “However, SEDC is prepared to play our part in helping to ensure our local employers have access to a sustainable pipeline of trained talent now and into the future.”

For more information, please contact Kory Menken at (605) 642-3832.

*Endeavor Insight, “What do the Best Entrepreneurs want in a City? Lessons from the Founders of America’s

Fastest-Growing Companies.”

**Ania Wieckowski, “Back to the City,” Harvard Business Review.