January 13, 2012
A reflection - Word that former Governor and Congressman Bill Janklow had passed away quieted the Legislative process on Thursday. South Dakota is a more excellent state thanks to the dedicated service, piercing intellect and limitless leadership abilities of Bill Janklow.
Discussing ideas and proposals with Governor Janklow could be arduous, tough, often exhausting, and that was when he liked what you were saying. If he opposed your proposals, it was a moment of pride to leave his office under your own power. Tactics and strategies could vary, the standard was constant - was the idea good for the people of South Dakota.
Bill Janklow was good for the people of South Dakota.
NEW YEAR - NEW SESSION - NEW IDEAS
If you are one of the very few people who knows that Article 3; Section 7 of the South Dakota Constitution says "The Legislature shall meet at the seat of government on the second Tuesday of January at 12 o'clock," don't tell anyone. Admitting you are that much of a geek can result in being abandoned by your friends, family members (to the fourth degree of kinship) and having your dog run away.
On the other hand, if you read that section of law and feel a growing anticipation, then you are not just a geek, you are most likely a lobbyist for the South Dakota Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The core mission of the South Dakota Chamber is working with lawmakers to stop laws that stifle economic growth and to pass laws that facilitate the creation of careers and attraction of investment that strengthens the economy. The 2012 Session has begun.
Governor Seeks "WINS" with Career Awareness, Job Training, Healthcare, and New Workers
A good portion of Governor Daugaard's State of the State address focused on introducing his "WINS" program - acronyms are often more fun if you know what they stand for, which in this case is "Workforce Initiatives." While this seems to violate the common practice of using "one letter per word" to create a good acronym, applying the rule would render this program
"WI," which has two problems; it sounds like a three-year-old running down the hall and it has already been taken by a large computer company.
The WINS Programs
Governor Daugaard has built WINS in four segments:
- Preparing Kids
- Training Skilled Workers
- Access to Healthcare in Rural Areas
- New South Dakotans
Below is a review of the program's basic elements. The Chamber Board of Directors will need to review details of implementing these programs as part of the work to decide which ones to support. The initial review suggests the program is innovative and well-targeted. Chamber members are encouraged to explore this effort and sign up for the segments that meet your needs. There is a special website for this effort http://www.southdakotawins.com/
Preparing Kids - The Governor is revitalizing the SD MyLife website (http://sdmylife.com/) that helps young people know about a wide variety of careers and highlights those that are available right here in South Dakota. There are countless parents watching medical shows with their children and others watching cool robots make things on "How It's Made." (A sure sign that no one can find the remote, but a great attention getter all the same.) This site is just one way of linking things that seem cool (yep, the author is clearly over 50) to an understanding that a student could make a career in that business. They can explore other careers as well.
In another link between education and career teaching, this part of the WINS program includes pay incentives for science and math teachers and expanded Advance Placement classes.
Training Skilled Workers - This part of the plan starts with one of the most chronic unmet labor needs . . . welders. WINS will reestablish a welding program at Mitchell Technical Institute and establish a new one at Springfield. To address the need for welding training throughout the state, the WINS program will explore innovative ways to offer training in remote areas and use some newly developed long distance basic skills courses using an internet link and class structure.
South Dakota will explore using a national test that will confirm a student's career readiness in technical positions and issue the student a certificate that confirms to employers that they are work ready. These are known as "Career Readiness Certificates." http://dlr.sd.gov/workforce_training/ncrc.aspx
Access to Rural Healthcare - Businesses continue to rely on humans for a workforce. Being human, these workers often get sick, or worse, have hobbies where they can get hurt . . . like beekeeping. The WINS program understands that communities that cannot offer basic healthcare will simply not attract workers, period. The WINS strategy is to provide stronger incentives for healthcare workers to establish their practices in small communities and is a strong step in helping these communities develop and retain a workforce.
New South Dakotans - People who work out by swimming report getting thirsty while working hard, in spite of being emerged in water. In a similar manner, South Dakota has certain jobs that remain hard to fill, even in the depths of a recession. To help meet these needs, the Governor will continue, and strengthen, the Dakota Roots program that has already brought more than 2,000 South Dakota expatriates back home.
Dakota Roots allows businesses to post career opportunities on the website where former South Dakotans can explore them in full confidentiality. Regular citizens of other states are encouraged to look at these jobs as well, but the Chamber understands they may not feel the tug of heartstrings or respond to other migratory/nesting instincts.
If your business has positions that have been difficult to fill, the Dakota Roots site may be a solution. http://dakotaroots.com/
1,000 New South Dakotans - The most innovative part of the entire WINS program is the use of consultants to recruit people with needed skills and professional abilities that are in short supply, as evidenced by the unfilled positions at many employers. The Governor is using the power of the state government to secure a reduced fee from the consultants of Man Power, Inc.
Businesses using this program will pay 50% of the reduced fees, which are only due if and when someone fills a position. Jobs will not be assigned to Man Power until they have been open and unfilled for 30 days so that South Dakota residents have the first opportunity to fill them. Capitol-ism will review the details of this program as it works its way through the Legislature.
The Chamber salutes Governor Daugaard and his administration for an innovative targeted solution. Programs such as SD My Life and Dakota Roots have been effective and have helped address a most pressing problem. However, they have not proven to have the reach to be the only approach to solving the need for filling long-term unmet demands for skills.
Open jobs represent a market. Well-designed incentives will use the power of the marketplace to achieve solutions. This targeted, consultant assisted approach will use the power of the marketplace to help solve a most dire need.
Thank you for your support of the South Dakota Chamber.
Business Day at the Legislature - February 23, 2012
Click here for the day's agenda and registration information.