As part of his South Dakota WINS workforce development program, Governor Dennis Daugaard hired ManpowerGroup Inc. last year to recruit 1,000 new workers over three years for high-pay, high-need jobs in South Dakota. One year in, "the world leader in innovative workforce solutions" has placed 83 new workers in South Dakota. That puts Manpower on pace to meet 25% of the Governor's stated goal.
South Dakota Democrats would like to know why we're getting such low return on a five-million-dollar exclusive deal with one Wisconsin company:
“Governor Daugaard dedicated $5 million to employee recruiter Manpower to fill 1000 open jobs within three years. One year later, they’ve filled 83 jobs that we know of,” says Sen. Billie Sutton (D-Burke), a member of the senate appropriations committee. “I hope Governor Daugaard’s administration will help us answer our questions about the program, so we can protect taxpayers and fill open jobs across South Dakota” [South Dakota Democratic Party, press release, 2013.05.29].
Governor Daugaard is responding to Manpower's poor performance by allowing employers to participate in SD WINS while using their own recruiters. In other words, instead of an exclusive deal with one recruiter, we're now subsidizing many recruiters. Whether we should be subsidizing this basic cost of doing business is an open question (isn't the free market supposed to allocate resources most efficiently without government interference?), but removing the favoritism to Manpower is promising:
To qualify for the program, employers must list the job in the state for 30 days. If no suitable candidates emerge, the business can use Manpower at a subsidized rate or hire another recruiter. If someone moves to South Dakota and accepts a job, the state will reimburse the employer $1,500 to $6,000, depending on the salary of the new employee.
Broadening the program is smart, said Ryan Good, co-owner of gpac, a recruiting firm that matched 60 hires in hard-to-fill jobs last month, including many in Sioux Falls [Jodi Schwan, "State Tweaks Recruiting Program," that Sioux Falls paper, 2013.05.22].
Did I read that right: Wisconsin-based Manpower places 83 recruits in one year, and Sioux Falls-based gpac matches 60 hires in one month? Yeah, if I were the guys who gave Manpower an exclusive state contract, I'd try to change the subject, too:
South Dakota Wins has meant increased and even new programs at state institutions like Mitchell Tech, where a welding program was started to deal with a shortage of welders in the state. In an email Thursday, Tony Venhuizen, Director of Policy and Communications for Daugaard’s Office said the plan has also opened up rural areas to medical professionals by creating more training opportunities, and is bringing back former South Dakotans as the administration focuses on the state's existing Dakota Roots program to woo workers back to the state they grew up in.
Governor Daugaard’s Chief of Staff, Dusty Johnson said the successes of the program are undisputed when it comes to South Dakota worker training.
“We have workers but we don't necessarily have them trained in the right things,” he said. “And that has been a big success of the Governor's Workforce Initiative is that it's focused on putting resources into places where we have and need workers trained with that set of skills and that type of education” [Kelly Bartnick, "Daugaard's Office: South Dakota WINS Is Successful," KELOLand.com, 2013.05.30].
The Governor's office is right to focus on the workforce training side of their program. Fostering local talent is the surest route to creating jobs and boosting the local economy. Mary Medema, director of workforce development for the Sioux Falls Development Foundation, affirms a principle I've discussed previously: recruiting from out of state is a crap shoot in which we gamble on the folks least likely to remain committed to our community:
Deciding to hire from out of state should be an individual decision, she said, adding that it brings some risk.
“If it’s a high-demand job, people are going to keep coming after them,” Medema said. “Headhunters are going to keep calling them. And if someone is mobile enough to move to South Dakota and didn’t have any other ties to South Dakota, they’re probably willing to move again” [Schwan, 2013.05.22].
Keep "tweaking" South Dakota WINS, Governor Daugaard. Invest in local recruiters, local talent, and local training, and we Dems won't have to ride your case so hard.