Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota expands workforce of Iron Range;

IRRRB thankful for company's growing presence in region.

March 20, 2012

Blue Cross and Blue Shield (Blue Cross) has been hiring at its Iron Range facilities in Virginia and Aurora, which is great economic development news to Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board (IRRRB) Commissioner Tony Sertich. 

Last year, Sertich and IRRRB development staff reached out to Blue Cross officials in Eagan to see if there was anything the agency could do to assist them in expanding on the Iron Range. Blue Cross officials were appreciative of the offer and decided to expand on the Iron Range without any financial assistance. 

Sertich commented, “Even though Blue Cross did not need our assistance, it is important for the IRRRB to knock on doors and ask companies to do business in northeastern Minnesota. Blue Cross is a great Minnesota company that employs thousands of Minnesotans, many in northeastern Minnesota. We are thankful they saw this region—and its dedicated workforce—as a place for growth.” 

Blue Cross has continued to increase staffing levels in the region since opening its Virginia and Aurora facilities in 2002. Today, more than 400 Minnesotans work in these two locations. With a recent need to add approximately 30 new positions, Blue Cross chose Virginia and Aurora. Blue Cross is increasing its technology investment at these offices as well, with a multi-year training effort for all staff to learn the new systems. 

"Blue Cross worked with the IRRRB and municipal authorities to establish our Virginia and Aurora service facilities a little over 10 years ago," said Jackie Jennifer, senior vice president of operations for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota. "We felt the region was an ideal site to complement our presence in the state, as well as to tap into an available pool of resources. We have experienced great success in hiring many individuals with insurance and operations backgrounds." 

"We've also invested in training and development programs which have yielded solid results," Jennifer said. "In increasing the number of employees in Virginia and Aurora, we will expand on our investment by training all our personnel on new processing systems. We are very satisfied with the caliber of employee we employ in these locations, and with the quality of work being produced." 

Sertich said, “This may be the least expensive deal we’ve ever done.  For the cost of a tank of gas, there are more new jobs in the region.” 

IRRRB is a state economic development agency headquartered in northeastern Minnesota whose mission is to invest in business, community and workforce development for the betterment of northeastern Minnesota.