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Central Region

central-minnesota-mapCentral Minnesota is a manufacturing stronghold, with several global manufacturing firms operating there.

The region is especially well known for its expertise in food processing, printing, furniture manufacturing, appliances, machinery and heavy equipment manufacturing.

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Thank You for Your Service

11/8/2021 9:00:00 AM

Luke Greiner

As more and more veterans of World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War and other conflicts have reached retirement age over the past several decades, the share of the Central Minnesota labor force made up of current or former members of the U.S. military has generally declined. But veterans remain an excellent source of highly-skilled, highly-committed workers for employers who need to fill open jobs.

Military veterans have long been held in high esteem for their sacrifice of self for country, an honor so revered that President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed November 11th as Armistice Day. It was dedicated as a day to reflect on the pride and heroism of those who died in the country's service and gratitude for the victory of World War I. In 1954, after the greatest mobilization of armed forces in our nation's history, the word "Armistice" was replaced with the word "Veterans" and November 11th became a day to honor all American veterans.

Once their military service is completed, many veterans start or resume their civilian careers. According to estimates from the Census Bureau, more than 42,000 veterans call Central Minnesota home, representing 8.7% of the region's population 18 years and older.

Over time, many employers have emphasized the recruitment of veterans for obvious reasons such as their self-discipline, honed skillset and determination. Veterans have long filled employer pipelines for highly skilled technicians and managers, but the number of veterans in the workforce is declining.

Age Profile of Central MinnesotaSimilar but much more dramatic than the overall population, our veterans are aging out of the labor force. In just the last ten years, Central Minnesota has seen its population of veterans drop by almost 11,000 people, to 42,587. As shown in Figure 1, 54% of veterans in Central Minnesota are 65 years or older, compared to just 17% of the overall population. At the other end of the age dynamic, less than one-in-ten veterans are under 35 years of age.

This doesn't mean that actively recruiting military veterans is a lost cause for employers, but it does mean that the majority of veterans in the region are likely eligible for Social Security retirement benefits and might be looking for a different type of employment, perhaps part-time or seasonal work. Meanwhile the population of our youngest veterans has remained relatively stable and now makes up a slightly larger share of veterans (9% in 2019 compared to 6.5% in 2010). There were just over 16,000 veterans from 18 to 64 years of age in Central Minnesota.

While you pause on November 11th to reflect on the sacrifices of our military veterans, employers should also pause to consider how their organization is recruiting and promoting their employment opportunities to veterans.

For More Information

Contact Luke Greiner at 320-308-5378.

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