How to retain workers in Greater MN? Online training is one tool

MinnPost recently looked at how and why businesses in rural Minnesota are working hard to retain employees…

For the past several years, manufacturers and other large employers throughout Greater Minnesota have been dealing with a shortage of workers – a scenario that has only found staying power in a strong economy with low unemployment….

For some employers, though, labor concerns have less to do with the challenges of attracting employees and more to do with the difficulty of attracting employees who can stick with the job. In response, some businesses are turning to policies that they believe will help them keep their employees once they are hired.

The problems that vex workers are myriad: a dearth of adequate skills; expensive or sparse child care; drug and alcohol abuse; physical disabilities; the lack of reliable transportation; and cultural alienation, especially for immigrants.

They mentioned several approaches to keeping folks around, including remote education…

In the administrative wing of the company, the Tapanis have outfitted a room with a large screen television and computer technology that workers can use to take online classes from nearby Pine Technical and Community College or other schools. (A federal grant to the college helped pay for the equipment.) Among the classes: personal budgeting, technical math, CNC machining basics.

The arrangement allows workers to avoid trips to the college, which might affect their shifts or require them to find more day care for their children. Wyoming Machine pays the workers while they are taking the classes, too.

Wyoming Machine employs a deaf man who has largely overcome that disability with technology, communicating with his supervisors through text messages. For some employee meetings, Tapani hires a translator for him.

This entry was posted in economic development, MN by Ann Treacy. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ann Treacy

Librarian who follows rural broadband in MN and good uses of new technology (, hosts a radio show on MN music (, supports people experiencing homelessness in Minnesota ( and helps with social justice issues through Women’s March MN.

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