December 2018
Our mission is to develop and advance the workforce of Southeast Minnesota.
As 2018 comes to a close, I am very pleased to share a few thoughts.

It was a truly remarkable year for Workforce Development, Inc.—We blazed new career pathways as we redefined and expanded our workforce development services in the areas of Health Care, Manufacturing, the Public Sector, and Construction Trades. And we made significant progress in connecting with people of color, the previously incarcerated, out-of-school youth, people with disabilities, veterans, and women. But our work is far from over—in 2019, we will seek to expand our sector efforts into the fields of Information Technology and Business Services, while continuing to deliberately reach out to the under-represented populations. A special effort will be made to ensure that more people get their driver's license and are on a path to attain safe and affordable housing along the way. 
 
Our wonderful staff and the deep partnerships we have made are all geared toward creating opportunity for all residents in our region. Know that your support has made a very positive difference in the lives and careers of thousands of our neighbors.
 
Thank you for your partnership. Together, we look forward to a phenomenal 2019!
Randy R. Johnson
Executive Director
Workforce Development, Inc.
Meet Joy Watson
Executive Director
Rice County Housing and Redevelopment Authority (RCHRA)
SE MN Workforce Development Board (WDB) Member since 2017



Why did you decide on a career in the Human Services sector and who/what influenced you to decide on this career choice?
I actually have a teaching degree, but didn’t get a teaching job right out of college. I applied for a job as a developmental disabilities case manager and ended up really liking the work, so I stayed in the field.

Tell me about your role at Rice County Housing and Redevelopment Authority (RCHRA). What is the primary purpose of RCHRA?
To provide an adequate supply of decent, safe, and affordable housing.

Social Services Sector
Regional Workforce Development Liaison Position Announced
A Cooperative Venture Between Three Organizations
Workforce Development, Inc. (WDI), Southeast Service Cooperative, and the Rochester Chamber of Commerce are excited to announce a new level of partnership between the three organizations. A leadership team from the three organizations is in the process of hiring for a shared position titled, “Regional Workforce Development Liaison."
 
This individual will be connecting with employers to solicit their engagement in and promote work-based learning opportunities across the area, helping to identify gaps and trends in work-based learning and furthering collaboration with a wide variety of partnering organizations. The liaison will be housed both at WDI and at the Rochester Chamber and will be working closely with current work-based learning coordinators around the region. 

"Workforce Development is a hollow exercise without direct connections to employers to validate our work. Over the years, there have been periods with little or no business outreach, and others where there have been multiple, disconnected efforts from various entities. The establishment of a shared position between WDI, the Chamber, and the K-12 schools is just the kind of cooperative venture necessary to really make a difference. In fact, it makes so much sense that here is already talk of expanding the number of partners and positions. This is something we've been wanting for some time." -Randy Johnson, Executive Director, WDI
Spotlight on the Wabasha County Office
Workforce Development, Inc. (WDI)
Wabasha, Minnesota

Cradled between the Mississippi River and the majestic bluffs of scenic Southeast Minnesota is the WDI Wabasha County Office. Open Monday through Thursday, the WDI office is located in historic downtown Wabasha. The office is staffed by experienced professionals who care deeply about the people and communities in which they live and serve.

Shelly Meyer, MIS Intake Specialist, has been with WDI for 20 years. Recently completing the WDI Data Specialist Apprenticeship, she now adds the Data Specialist Journey Worker title to her list of accomplishments. Career Planner, Ramona Redig, has been with WDI since January of 1994. David LeGarde, Youth Career Planner and the newest member of the team, joined the Wabasha County staff three months ago. He has been with WDI for one year. David currently spends Wednesdays at the Wabasha office, working with youth. He spends a good portion of his time at River Valley Academy in Kellogg, where he works with a group of students on a wide variety of employment-related skills. Jinny Rietmann serves as the Area Manager for the Wabasha County office. She has been with WDI since 2001.

Ramona Redig, Career Planner
David LeGarde, Youth Career Planner
A Dislocated Worker Success Story: David
Changing Lives with Support and Encouragement

Myself and several other employees were let go one day after the Christmas party in 2017, as the company had sent their main product line to China. After finding out that I qualified for Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) Program, I began working with Workforce Development, Inc. (WDI) in Red Wing and was assigned to Pam Erickson as my Career Planner. Together, we navigated the testing and paperwork necessary to comply and receive benefits under the program. Without Pam and WDI's help, I most certainly would have given up on the whole thing. Even though it got quite complicated, we persisted and were successful in securing a substantial benefit for my family.

The financial help the TAA Program has provided has allowed me to transition to a lower paying job and given me time to adjust my finances accordingly. Without it, I would have had to take an immediate half-cut to my pay, a substantial sum that could have put me behind for a very long time.
~David Padrta
Goodhue County WDI Customer

Submitted by: Pam Erickson
WDI Career Planner
Goodhue County Office, Red Wing
December Feature:
Four-Week Training Program in Heavy Equipment Operation Announced

Workforce Development, Inc. (WDI), in partnership with the International Union of Operating Engineers (Local 49), is offering a short-term training that leads to a career in Heavy Equipment Operation . This four-week training is possible because of a Pathways to Prosperity grant received from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED).

The hands-on training program will begin on Tuesday, January 22, 2019, and end on February 15.

One goal of this program is to give persons from barriered populations access to a short-term training for a high demand career that pays a family sustaining wage. A second goal is to provide skilled employees to local contractors, who are looking for employees to work in the fields of asphalt paving, crane operation, highway heavy, and/or mechanic. Read more

If you or someone you know is interested in learning more about this training, please, contact Susan Boehm


This training is an excellent opportunity for people to learn more about careers in construction. It gives participants a chance to get hands on experience with the work they will be doing which helps them make an educated decision on if this career pathway is the right fit for them.” 
Michael Postma
Placement Specialist & Career Planner
WDI Mower County Office
Recent Events

November 8: WDI Youth Career Planner, David LeGarde , recently took part in an open house at Minnesota State College Southeast (MSCSE). While on campus, attendees of the event had the opportunity to talk with David about WDI services, meet college instructors in various business, trades, technology, and liberal arts programs, and learn about financial aid and MSCSE Foundation Scholarships.
November 13: WDI Career Planners, Mary Eberlein , Pam Erickson , and David LeGarde , participated in Project Community Connect in Red Wing on November 13th. The event was sponsored by Goodhue County’s Homeless Response Team, which WDI staff are a part of. The goal of the event was to share the many available community resources with the public in one location. This was the twelfth year the event was held in Red Wing. Attendees received winter apparel, haircuts, flu shots, and a hot meal--all free of charge. They also were provided with information about local resources including WDI's services, housing services, legal services, Veterans services, domestic violence and victim services, health and mental health providers, transportation, and county programs. WDI-Red Wing staff enjoy participating in Project Community Connect every year.
Save the Date

December 24 & 25: Workforce Development, Inc. Offices Closed

January 1, 2019: Workforce Development, Inc. Offices Closed

January 11: Southeast Minnesota State of the Workforce Forum 11:45am-3:00pm, RCTC Heintz Center Commons, Rochester

January 15: Equity Logic Series - Essential Intercultural Dynamics; Formerly Incarcerated Workforce 8am-10am, Wood Lake Meeting Center, Rochester

January 22: Construction: Heavy Equipment Operators Training Program Begins, Workforce Development, Inc. - Rochester office

February 27: MaxAbility Series - Disability Friendly Culture and Etiquette, Wood Lake Meeting Center, Rochester
Southeast Minnesota
State of the Workforce Forum
Save the Date...
Come Join the Forum!
Join business and community leaders, along with our elected officials in a Forum to help understand and develop our regional workforce. 
 
We are in the midst of a very dynamic and transformational economy. New processes and skill demands are being created everyday—this at a time when we are experiencing full employment. What are some of the ways we can meet the workforce challenges in our region? 
 
Come join the Forum, and let’s learn together!
SE Minnesota Employment Trends

It's a New Year!!
Learn more about Healthcare in a small facility setting in the upcoming January 2019 issue!
Workforce Development, Inc. is an Equal Opportunity Employer/Program Provider and a proud partner of the American Job Center Network.
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