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Community and Social Services in Northeast Minnesota

by Cameron Macht
January 2017

A Healthy Dose of Jobs

Now accounting for almost one in every four jobs, Health Care and Social Assistance has grown rapidly as the largest employing industry in Northeast Minnesota. With just over 33,600 jobs midway through 2016, Health Care and Social Assistance now provides 23.5 percent of total covered employment in the Arrowhead, which was nearly 7 percent more concentrated than in the state as a whole.

Health Care and Social Assistance has been the driving force for the regional economy. From the second quarter of 2000 to the second quarter of 2016, Health Care and Social Assistance added exactly 10,000 net new jobs in Northeast Minnesota, a hearty 42.3 percent increase. That included just over 4,200 new jobs over the past decade since the second quarter of 2006 and 471 net new jobs in the past year.

The two largest Health Care and Social Assistance sectors in the region are Hospitals, which had just over 13,100 jobs, and Nursing and Residential Care Facilities, which provided 10,600 jobs in 2016. Both of those sectors have been huge job contributors over the past decade, and both are much more strongly concentrated in Northeast Minnesota than the rest of the state, highlighting their importance to the region (see Table 1).

 

Table 1. Northeast Minnesota Health Care and Social Assistance Employment Trends

Qtr. 2 2016 Data

Change in Jobs

Number of Firms

Number of Jobs

Average Annual Wages

Qtr. 2 2006 -
Qtr. 2 2016

Qtr. 2 2015 -
Qtr. 2 2016

Numeric

Percent

Numeric

Percent

Total, All Industries

8,408

142,808

$39,780

252

0.2%

-1,687

-1.2%

Health Care and Social Assistance

891

33,613

$43,368

4,217

14.3%

471

1.4%

Ambulatory Health Care Services

370

5,415

$63,128

-1,214

-18.3%

173

3.3%

Hospitals

26

13,114

$55,952

2,983

29.4%

411

3.2%

General Medical and Surgical Hospitals

22

12,570

$55,952

NA

NA

403

3.3%

Psychiatric and Substance Abuse Hospitals

1

533

$56,264

229

75.3%

-231

-30.2%

Specialty Hospitals

3

11

$68,120

NA

NA

+2

22.2%

Nursing and Residential Care Facilities

284

10,600

$25,324

NA

NA

-102

-1.0%

Nursing Care Facilities (Skilled Nursing)

29

2,857

$29,068

NA

NA

NA

NA

Residential Intellectual and Developmental Disability, Mental Health and Substance Abuse Facilities

94

3,575

$23,868

399

12.6%

-154

-4.1%

Continuing Care Retirement Communities and Assisted Living Facilities for the Elderly

77

2,384

$23,036

741

45.1%

-162

-6.4%

Other Residential Care Facilities

84

1,784

$25,220

1,197

203.9%

170

10.5%

Social Assistance

211

4,482

$25,168

691

18.2%

-12

-0.3%

Individual and Family Services

120

2,993

$24,700

651

27.8%

-21

-0.7%

Community Food and Housing, and Emergency and Other Relief Services

15

185

$32,760

-20

-9.8%

3

+1.6%

Vocational Rehabilitation Services

32

829

$25,792

-45

-5.1%

22

2.7%

Child Day Care Services

44

473

$24,336

NA

NA

-17

-3.5%

Source: DEED Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW) program

 

More Than Medical Care

Because of the outsized influence of health care on the Arrowhead economy, workforce efforts in the region have focused on training people in health care support and practitioner occupations like certified nursing assistants (CNAs), home health aides (HHAs), personal care aides (PCAs), registered nurses (RNs), and licensed practical nurses (LPNs), among others. Most of these new workers have been absorbed into the labor force as quickly as they can be trained and are projected to remain in high demand in the next decade as well.

But medical care represents just one part of the exploding need for health care and social assistance services in the region. Northeast Minnesota is also experiencing tremendous growth in services for the disabled, elderly, low income, or other underrepresented populations, helping find and obtain employment, housing, financial assistance, or other social services.

After hospitals, the largest employing sub-sector in Northeast Minnesota is Residential Intellectual and Developmental Disability, Mental Health, and Substance Abuse Facilities, which provided 3,575 jobs at 94 establishments through the second quarter of 2016. Despite eliminating just over 150 jobs in the past year, these facilities still added nearly 400 jobs over the past decade, a 12.6 percent increase.

Likewise, the region had just under 3,000 jobs at 120 providers of Individual and Family Services, such as child welfare services and guidance agencies, activity centers for people with disabilities, senior citizen and adult day care centers, and non-medical home care for elderly or disabled persons. These organizations added over 650 jobs from 2006 to 2016, a 27.8 percent increase.

Community and Social Services

Over 10 percent of the jobs at Nursing and Residential Care Facilities and Social Assistance are classified in the Community and Social Services occupational group. In the Residential Intellectual and Developmental Disability, Mental Health, and Substance Abuse Facilities sub-sector, these occupations account for more than 20 percent of employment.

When compared to the U.S. economy, Community and Social Services occupations have a location quotient of 2.1 in Northeast Minnesota, meaning that the share of jobs is more than twice as high in the region as the rest of the nation. Overall, 10 of the 15 occupations in the group have location quotients above 2.0 while just two occupations – healthcare social workers and social workers, all other – were less concentrated in the region than the nation (see Table 2).

 

Table 2

Northeast Minnesota Community and Social Services Occupations

SOC Code

SOC Title

Northeast Minnesota

United States

Estimated Regional Employment

Median Hourly Wage

Location Quotient

Estimated National Employment

Median Hourly Wage

00-0000

Total, All Occupations

142,870

$16.61

1.0

137,896,660

$17.58

21-0000

Community and Social Service Occupations

4,290

$18.55

2.1

1,972,140

$20.36

21-1093

Social and Human Service Assistants

1,610

$14.28

4.3

359,350

$14.94

21-1021

Child, Family, and School Social Workers

600

$29.02

2.0

294,080

$20.52

21-1014

Mental Health Counselors

330

$18.05

2.5

128,200

$20.29

21-1012

Educational, Guidance, School, and Vocational Counselors

320

$22.25

1.2

253,460

$26.01

21-1023

Mental Health and Substance Abuse Social Workers

250

$22.33

2.2

110,070

$20.44

21-1015

Rehabilitation Counselors

240

$13.95

2.3

101,630

$16.67

21-1099

Community and Social Service Specialists, All Other

240

$18.64

2.4

94,670

$20.30

21-1011

Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselors

180

$19.80

2.0

87,090

$19.37

21-1091

Health Educators

120

$22.47

2.0

57,570

$25.18

21-1022

Healthcare Social Workers

110

$25.23

0.7

155,590

$25.38

21-1094

Community Health Workers

100

$17.46

2.0

48,130

$17.59

21-1019

Counselors, All Other

70

$17.75

2.6

26,370

$22.07

21-2011

Clergy

50

$18.41

1.0

48,250

$21.44

21-1013

Marriage and Family Therapists

40

$19.64

1.2

32,070

$23.56

21-1029

Social Workers, All Other

10

$21.24

0.2

59,570

$28.38

Source: DEED Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) program, Qtr. 1 2016

 

Social and Human Service Assistants

With estimated regional employment of 1,610 workers, Social and Human Service Assistants have the highest location quotient of the Community and Social Services occupations in the region, being four times more concentrated in the Arrowhead than the country. In fact, it is the 18th largest occupation in Northeast Minnesota, but barely cracks the top 100 occupations nationwide, ranking 89th overall.

According to DEED’s Career Profile tool, Social and Human Service Assistants “assist in providing client services in a wide variety of fields, such as psychology, rehabilitation, or social work, including support for families,” and “may assist clients in identifying and obtaining available benefits and social and community services, “ or “assist social workers with developing, organizing, and conducting programs to prevent and resolve problems relevant to substance abuse, human relationships, rehabilitation, or dependent care.”1

Other job titles include case worker, case aide, case manager, advocate, daily living specialist, clinical assistant, or addictions counselor assistant. Whatever the setting, people in this job need active listening, social perceptiveness, time management, and decision making skills. Workers are in constant contact with other people, and should have a service orientation that leads them to look actively for ways to help people and ensure the safety and security of their clients.

The typical entry-level educational requirement is a high school diploma and short-term on-the-job training, but nearly three-fourths of people who are working as Social and Human Service Assistants in Minnesota have at least some college experience, including 31 percent who have a bachelor’s degree or higher. According to data from the most recent Job Vacancy Survey, just 20 percent of the current openings for Social and Human Service Assistants in Northeast Minnesota require postsecondary education, and the median wage offer was $11.52, showing there may be a misalignment between jobseeker expectations and employer needs. 

Wise Counsel

In contrast, the rest of the occupations in the Community and Social Services group require at least a Bachelor’s Degree, with many preferring a Master’s Degree. Social workers, whether in mental health and substance abuse, healthcare, or child, family, and school settings, all require a Bachelor’s Degree, while most positions for counselors call for a Master’s Degree (see Table 3).

 

Table 3

Educational Requirements for Community and Social Service Occupations

Occupational Title

Typical Education Needed for Entry

Educational, Guidance, School, and
Vocational Counselors

Master’s Degree

Marriage and Family Therapists

Master’s Degree

Mental Health Counselors

Master’s Degree

Rehabilitation counselors

Master’s Degree

Counselors, All Other

Master’s Degree

Healthcare Social Workers

Master’s degree

Community and Social Service Specialists, All Other

Master’s Degree

Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselors

Bachelor’s Degree

Child, Family, and School Social Workers

Bachelor’s Degree

Mental Health and Substance Abuse Social Workers

Bachelor’s Degree

Social Workers, All Other

Bachelor’s Degree

Health Educators

Bachelor’s Degree

Probation Officers and Correctional Treatment Specialists

Bachelor’s Degree

Clergy

Bachelor’s Degree

Directors, Religious Activities and Education

Bachelor’s Degree

Social and Human Service Assistants

High school diploma

Community Health Workers

High school diploma

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

 

This requirement is very clearly reflected in Job Vacancy Survey results in Northeast Minnesota, where 100 percent of the openings for Mental Health Counselors, Child, Family, and School Social Workers, Healthcare Social Workers, and Mental Health and Substance Abuse Social Workers require postsecondary education. This has led to higher median wage offers, ranging from about $15.00 to nearly $19.00 per hour in the region.

Wage offers and educational requirements were lower for Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselors in the region. Just 45 percent of postings required postsecondary education, and the median wage offer was just $11.90 per hour, despite having one of the highest job vacancy rates in the region.

The current demand for community and social services workers remains strong in Northeast Minnesota, with employers reporting the highest number of job vacancies in the second quarter of 2016. While demand increased 30 percent across all occupations in the region over the past year, the number of openings for community and social services workers jumped 72 percent since 2015 and was 10 times higher than in 2009 and 2012 (see Figure 1).

 

 Figure 1. Northeast Minnesota Job Vacancy Survey Results, Q2 2006 to Q2 2016

 

A Future So Bright

Northeast Minnesota is expected to see continued growth in demand for Community and Social Service occupations and will also need to fill existing jobs that become open when current workers retire or leave the labor force for other reasons. According to DEED’s 2014 to 2024 Employment Outlook, the region is projected to add over 400 net new jobs in community and social service and may have 1,000 replacement openings available to fill (see Table 4).

 

Table 4

Community and Social Service Employment Projections in Northeast Minnesota, 2014 to 2024

Occupation

Estimated Employment 2014

Projected Employment
2024

Percent Change
2014-2024

Numeric Change 2014-2024

Replacement Openings
2014-2024

Total Openings
2014-2024

Total, All Occupations

159,860

163,078

2.0%

3,218

38,200

+44,660

Community and Social Service Occupations

4,754

5,170

8.7%

416

1,000

1,420

Social and Human Service Assistants

1,666

1,852

11.1%

186

320

510

Mental Health and Substance Abuse Social Workers

391

448

14.5%

57

90

150

Mental Health Counselors

299

360

20.4%

61

60

120

Child, Family, and School Social Workers

377

380

0.7%

3

90

90

Community and Social Service Specialists

315

328

4.1%

13

60

70

Educational, Guidance, School and Vocational Counselors

251

265

5.5%

14

50

60

Clergy

278

284

2.1%

6

60

60

Rehabilitation Counselors

308

302

-1.9%

-6

60

60

Substance Abuse and Behavior Disorder Counselors

136

160

17.6%

24

20

50

Health Educators

93

111

19.3%

18

10

30

Healthcare Social Workers

118

122

3.3%

4

20

30

Community Health Workers

80

96

20.0%

16

10

30

Marriage and Family Therapists

39

47

20.5%

8

-----

10

Counselors, All Other

22

25

13.6%

3

-----

-----

Source: DEED 2014-2024 Employment Outlook

 


1 DEED Career Profile. Social and Human Service Assistants. Retrieved from: https://apps.deed.state.mn.us/lmi/cpt/Search

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