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Jump Starting Your Career in a Tight Labor Market

2/11/2019 3:00:00 PM

Tim O'Neill

The Twin Cities Metro Area is experiencing very tight labor market conditions. In the second quarter of 2018, Metro Area employers reported more than 82,000 job vacancies, the highest number ever posted. Meanwhile, unemployment has hit record lows across the region, dropping to 2.6 percent in the Metro Area, a rate not seen since late 2000.

Due to these tight labor market conditions, employers across all industry sectors are finding it difficult to fill their open positions. At the same time, many unemployed and underemployed persons are finding it challenging to find the right job in light of numerous barriers, which might include:

  • work experience requirements
  • educational attainment
  • wages and the cost-of-living
  • transportation
  • child care and
  • housing

Andi Egbert, Senior Research Associate, APM Research Lab, recently highlighted the challenges for both employers and job seekers in healthcare support occupations across Minnesota. In “A Caring Crisis,” Egbert highlighted Personal Care Aide (PCA) job vacancies and staffing challenges, and explored how PCAs still grapple with lower wages in a job that is physically and emotionally demanding. With ever-increasing health care demands across the Metro area and state, the number of open PCA positions are skyrocketing. Challenges with experience, wages, transportation, career pathways, and more all revolve around this one occupation.

The PCA occupation is just one out of more than 800 defined occupations, each with their unique challenges and opportunities. To help address these and to bring together both employers and job seekers, the Dakota-Scott Workforce Development Board hosted its 16th January Jump Start. In light of the tight labor market, this year’s Jump Start event included an employer panel where job seekers asked employers important questions to help with their career searches:

  • What level of experience are you looking for?
  • How should I organize my resume?
  • What if I have a gap in my work history?
  • What if I was let go from a previous position?
  • How should I use social media in my career search?
  • What skill sets are most important to you?
  • How should I prepare for an interview?
  • How should I follow up after an interview?

Some panelists happened to be looking for PCAs and home health aides. Others were looking to hire electricians. Cooks were needed, as well as tellers and customer service representatives. One other employer was looking to hire uniformed security officers. The need for workers across a wide array of industries was apparent.

After the employer panel, job seekers could take advantage of a hiring event and network with employers and other job seekers. January Jump Start and similar events remain popular across the Metro Area, as job seekers and employers seek new ways to connect and push forward through the challenges of a tight labor market. To learn about future employer panels, hiring events, career fairs, networking clubs, and creative job search classes, visit

For More Information

Contact Tim O’Neill at 651-259-7401.

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