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In It Together
By: Chellee Nemec, Southeast Tech - 03/17/2017

Everywhere you turn, you see news reports about jobs like the workforce shortage, the labor crisis, and the skills gap. It's a top priority on a national level and at the local level. Many companies, legislators and post-secondary institutions are coming together to find workable solutions to workforce shortages. Nothing makes me more proud than to be part of a team that is leading that discussion in Sioux Falls. Southeast Tech is committed to working with local and regional partners to find innovative solutions to workforce challenges. We are taking a "in it together approach" by hosting a series of sector breakfast events that invites industry leaders to engage in high level discussions about the current workforce issues and discover together how Southeast Tech can be a resource for local industry partners. The first sector breakfast focused on healthcare. Healthcare experts including Bob Sutton, Avera Heath; Lyn Serbus, Good Samaritan Society; Jon Crow, Sioux Falls Specialty Hospital and Karla Haugan, Sanford Health opened the discussion while Representative Mark Mickelson facilitated questions from over 51 employers in attendance.

Sitting in the room listening to health care leaders discuss work force issues that are very real to their daily operations motivated me to want to do more and draw our partners in to find solutions that benefit everyone. It was rewarding listening to the praise and recommendations these leaders had for Southeast Tech. Above all, that hour long discussion left me with a sense of community. In the old days, when things needed to be done, the community would come together to do it. Neighbor next to neighbor they labored together for the greater good. This is how barns were built, farms expanded and cities grew. We invested in each other's progress. Now is the time for us to come together and invest in each other's progress. By companies investing in Southeast Tech we can in turn supply companies with a valuable resource, highly skilled trained technical workers.

The investment of time that the healthcare leaders gave to us in providing feedback was a great start! Plans are already in the works for the next two sector breakfasts that will focus on Transportation and Construction. Southeast Tech will hold several more that focus on Information Technology, Business and Diversity. The follow up for each event is for Southeast Tech to take what we learn from these sector breakfasts and provide actionable solutions. This to me is the most exciting part. Being able to come back to these leaders with actionable solutions that are responsive to the needs of our industry partners. Southeast Tech is working on a lot of exciting initiatives internally that will impact workforce in our region.

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