Workforce Development Lost In The Last Legislative Session Shuffle

(WNAX)–Unlike past sessions, South Dakota legislators did not debate any major workforce development proposals this year.  Dave Owen, President of the state Chamber of Commerce and Industry, says the problem has not been solved…

“I think we’ve run around the track a couple times and the easy answers have been pursued.  It’s a really complex issue.  It’s not that we lack people its that we have a whole bunch of people that don’t have the skills we need in the marketplace.”

Owen says there are some big questions to answer…

“So how do we re-educate adults?  How do we direct students to wear their passion and interest might be where social norms suggest they might go to college.  This is a more sophisticated, nuanced, detailed discussion and so I don’t think it lends itself to the sound-byte world of politics.”

Owen says businesses need people with more than technical skills…

“Finding a workforce that has the right skills; has what they call the soft skills, is ready to show up to work everyday, on-time and maybe stay all day with a proper attitude about being productive.  These are all things that are difficult when employment is very low and they are all things that almost defy simple solutions.”

Owen is meeting with local chambers of commerce on his post legislative swing around the state.