SEDA focuses on future employment needs in Staples
The Staples Economic Development Authority (SEDA) board met July 26 and talked about how to overcome a looming need for more workers in the area. With expansions at Stern Rubber and Lakewood Health System to start this fall, the recent expansion at NJPA and a new hotel to break ground soon, there is a possibility of 200 new jobs available in Staples by next year. The SEDA board spent a lot of time on the subject of employment.
The conversation started with board member Mary Klamm saying she has heard some feedback about the board’s previous conversation about bringing workers from diverse populations or immigrants from other countries.
“Some people took that to mean it is a preference to bring them in,” said Klamm. “The EDA is working to be economically strong and vital for our citizens. If we are so lucky that our workforce can’t fill those jobs, we would have to look elsewhere.”
Board member Tim Rice agreed, citing national trends and the number of jobs projected to be available in the area. “These are actual numbers, as people retire we won’t have enough people to work.”
Klamm said the community has to be ready for the likelihood of bringing in more workers. “Communities who haven’t prepared have not done well economically,” she said.
Board member Chris Etzler suggested working with all the employers to find out what their needs will be.
City Administrator Jerel Nelsen said they also need to look at the long term job market, starting with the K-12 school system, and work with Central Lakes College on customized training.
“Maybe people who are underemployed right now could get training. The challenge is to predict what those needs will be then get people into those skill sets,” said Nelsen.
Klamm said it could be something as simple as preparing a resume.
Melissa Radermacher, SEDA director, told the board about recent statistics showing that around 2,000 people currently commute out of Staples to work, while a similar number commute into Staples to work here.
In other news, the SEDA
o Approved gold sponsorship of $1,000 for the Todd County Development Corporation (TCDC).
o Heard from Radermacher that she is making an application to DEED for market rate housing and apartments.
o Heard from Radermacher about plans for the Batcher Building to open the lower level for retail stores. She said she visited Perham merchants for ideas on how to get specialty businesses into the downtown area.