Elk River: Equipping the Outstanding Minnesota Workforce

Elk River: Equipping the Outstanding Minnesota Workforce Main Photo

19 Mar 2020

Elk River is known for its highly educated population and the fine variety of workforce development programs it offers to employees in the area. The City of Elk River and key partners like the Central Minnesota Jobs and Training Services, Inc. (CMJTS) work hard to ensure that Minnesota is never lacking for a ready and well-prepared workforce. Tim Zipoy, Business Service Coordinator of Central Minnesota Jobs and Training Services, elaborated on the outstanding opportunities that exist for Minnesota’s workforce. 

A Ready Workforce Already Exists in Elk River 

“Elk River is set apart by virtue of its skilled local workforce talent, close availability to  post-secondary education, a thriving manufacturing base which is a job creation engine, a broad spectrum of healthcare and social service career pathways and more,” says Zipoy.

This statement rings true. Over 30% of Elk River residents hold a Bachelor’s Degree or higher, partially due to the city’s proximity to post-secondary education options. The city is home to over 60 manufacturing facilities and has many available lots already zoned light industrial and manufacturing for future businesses. The excellent accessibility of Elk River is perfect for commuters traveling to and from their workplaces, and a variety of promising career pathways are available here. 

“Elk River has many great jobs close to home that pay well and offer an excellent quality of life for families and individuals,” Zipoy continues. 

A successful business climate comes naturally to Elk River. It has now become one of the fastest growing business communities in Central Minnesota. Much of this success is due to the support Elk River and the State of Minnesota as a whole offers the local workforce. 

Programs in Place to Further Enhance the Elk River Workforce

While it is clear that an outstanding workforce already exists in Elk River, this workforce is continually maintained and optimized through workforce development. The City of Elk River Economic Development and Central Minnesota Jobs and Training Services are two forces that strive to connect businesses with the qualified workers they need. Some examples of the beneficial training programs these organizations provide access to are as follows: 

Incumbent Worker Training Program 

The Incumbent Worker Training Program (IWTP) offered by Minnesota is a form of fund assistance provided to employers that allows them to build or maintain a high quality, skilled workforce. 

The financial assistance provided improves the workforce of employers by bringing in new or upgraded work skills. It also increases the workers’ potential for higher wages and helps to maintain a competitive environment in a global economy. Finally, the program provides job security for workers in the form of layoff aversion. 

Employees that have established employment history with the same employer for six months or more can be considered an incumbent worker and benefit from this program. These employees receive fully funded necessary training within the state, and are never asked to travel out of state. 

The program prioritizes sector-based industries like manufacturing, healthcare, transportation, 

IT, natural resources and professional business services among others. 

CMJTS’ On-the-Job-Training 

The On-the-Job Training program by CMJTS provides employers with training assistance through employment counselors who offer consulting services, reimbursement of up to 50% of the new employee’s wages for the length of the contract and new hire training specifically catered to the skills the employer’s business industry requires. 

CMJTS refers professionally evaluated candidates to employers. The OTJ Training program allows the employer to provide training and supervision to new employees, and it gives the employer the authority to make the hiring decisions. 

Trainees that enter the program will meet eligibility requirements and earn industry-recognized credentials to benefit the Minnesota workforce.  

Additional Workforce Support 

In addition to these invaluable training programs, CMJTS also hosts a variety of job fairs and business consultations. Both the City of Elk River Economic Development and CMJTS provide college career and placement services and encourage the local workforce to take advantage of partnership programs with local colleges. Employers can also benefit from valuable local, state, and federal resources that are accessible by visiting the City of Elk River website as well as the Central Minnesota Jobs and Training Services, Inc. website. 

These support options are only a few of the assets available to employers to help in recruiting and training fine employees in Minnesota. To learn more about Elk River’s thriving workforce and to capitalize on these valuable resources, click here.