News

DEED Launches Tool to Measure, Report Broadband Access

Friday, December 28, 2018

Check Speed Minnesota will give insight into consumer experience, inform policymakers ST PAUL - The Minnesota Office of Broadband Development, located within the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED), today launched a new tool that will allow Minnesotans to test, map and report various broadband internet speeds across the state. CheckSpeedMinnesota.com is a benchmarking tool designed to gather information about the high-speed internet consumer experience in Minnesota. By answering a few questions and running a speed test, the input captured will help create a better overall picture of broadband in the state. Continue to full article
Martin County has Manufacturing Jobs

Thursday, December 27, 2018

The manufacturing sector has been steadily recovering from the Great Recession. In the next decade, the Manufacturing Institute and Deloitte estimate that 3.5 million manufacturing jobs will need to be filled, due to a combination of industry growth and Baby Boomers retiring. Some of the higher demand and higher paying jobs in Martin County, Minnesota are in manufacturing, according to Connie Hines of the Department of Employment and Economic Development and CareerForce. If someone is new to the area, the local CareerForce Center serves as a resource, matching employees with job leads from its network of growing companies, according to Hines. It...
Campbell County Economic Development: Growth Challenges in Northeast SD

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

  A solid infrastructure with capacity for growth is a prerequisite for economic development. In order to attract businesses and residents, towns need roads and utility services as well as commercial and residential properties — or land to build on. Campbell County, South Dakota has some fine attributes for businesses, including an independent telecommunications company. It was one of the first counties in the country to attain access to broadband internet. But the county has some basic infrastructure needs that are hindering its growth. This concerns Campbell County Economic Development Coordinator Andrew Van Kuren. “What we’re focused on right now is two driving...
Support Small Businesses on Nov. 24 and Beyond

Monday, November 19, 2018

November 24 is Small Business Saturday, a shopping holiday that urges consumers to patronize small and independent businesses rather than online retailers or big box stores. American Express was behind the first Small Business Saturday, which started in 2010. The initial goal was to counter the negative effects of the recession on small businesses and local economies. The holiday quickly caught on. In 2011, the Senate passed a resolution in support of Small Business Saturday. Consumers have now spent an estimated $85 billion at independent retailers and restaurants over the eight Small Business Saturdays since its inception. Small Businesses Make a Significant Economic...
Fairmont Foods ready to grow

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Last year, food manufacturing was nearly four times more concentrated in southwest Minnesota than the state as a whole, according to the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED). It was one of the few industries that added regional jobs during the recession, increasing employees by 4.7 percent, and continuing that growth over the recovery years. Fairmont Foods Inc. is a bona fide example of that proliferation. In January 2015, then-owners of Fairmont Foods announced the plant was closing, putting about 150 full-time and part-time employees out of work. Within 30 days, Downs Food Group of Mankato signed a letter of...
Manufacturing is Big Business in Minnesota

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Manufacturing is big business in Minnesota.  Shane Delaney with the state Department of Employment and Economic Development says manufacturing supports 319-thousand jobs. Continue to full article
State Unemployment Rate Drops to 2.9 Percent

Monday, November 12, 2018

Jobless rate below 3 percent for first time in nearly 19 years ST. PAUL – Minnesota’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell to 2.9 percent in August, according to figures released today by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED). The last time Minnesota’s unemployment rate was below 3 percent was December 1999. The state’s record-low unemployment rate was a seasonally adjusted 2.5 percent in both January and February 1999. The U.S. unemployment rate last month was 3.9 percent.  Minnesota employers eliminated 200 jobs in August after three consecutive months of strong job growth. Over the past year, the state has added 50,904...
A Collaborative Approach to Addressing Child Care Issues

Friday, October 19, 2018

Child care is a critical prerequisite to building a robust workforce. Lack of quality child care options can force parents to reduce their hours or even leave jobs. It also contributes to absenteeism. Businesses lose an estimated $3 billion annually due to issues related to child care. In rural regions such as Martin County, finding child care can be particularly challenging. Rural residents often rely on in-home child care options, which have been dwindling lately. Minnesota lost over six percent of its in-home child care providers in the last year. Fairmont has a potential need of 81 additional full-time, licensed child care...
School adds to focus on career training

Friday, September 28, 2018

FAIRMONT — As part of Fairmont High School’s goal to grow its vocational program, an additional family and consumer science teacher has been added for the upcoming school year. Jeanne Garbers Walden will teach culinary classes, which include Food Prep 1 and Food Prep 2, and will be involved with the new work-based learning program. Garbers is a 2004 Fairmont High School graduate. She has a bachelor’s degree in family and consumer science education and a master’s degree in education. Garbers husband, Andrew Walden, is also a teacher. He will teach sixth-grade Minnesota history at Fairmont Elementary School. Continue to full article
Bowlmor wins funding

Thursday, September 27, 2018

The Fairmont Economic Development Authority has unanimously approved a $15,000 loan for Bowlmor Lanes to update its 25-year-old scoring system. The system will include new television screens above the lanes. Cost of the project is almost $89,000. Linsey Preuss, Fairmont economic development coordinator, said Dave Pedersen, owner of the Bowlmor, has utilized FEDA’s revolving loan fund on two occasions in the past for improvements to the business and has never missed or been late with a payment. She noted that the project will not create any new jobs but will update equipment at one of the few remaining bowling alleys in the...
City leader offers update

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Club members offered comments and questions, with the proposed community center and cleanup from the recent storm creating the most dialogue. Humpal, who has started his 24th year working with the city, told the group that the latest endeavor to build a community center is the fifth attempt at such an undertaking since he came to Fairmont. Earlier this year, the City Council voted to give $125,000 to help the community center committee develop a business plan that would determine whether to continue with the project or stop the effort. Click here for the complete article.
Jake’s marking 50 years

Monday, September 24, 2018

Fairmont’s iconic pizza place — Jake’s Pizza — will celebrate 50 years of business this fall. In a Sentinel article dated Oct. 3, 1968, the announcement was made that Jake’s would open, operated by 23-year-old Larry Jacobson whose parents, Ernie and Rosie Jacobson, were running a similar place in Albert Lea. Original operating hours were 5 p.m. until as late as business required. The article stated that while principal attention would be paid to pizza, the restaurant would also offer ham-and-cheese sandwiches and “jiffy-burgers.” Delivery service was offered, with a specially equipped vehicle taking food out within a radius of two miles for 25 cents. Continue...
3 Percent

Friday, September 21, 2018

MN's unemployment rate has been at or below 4 percent for four years straight Minnesota’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell to its lowest level since June 2000 – 3 percent. Our unemployment rate has been at or below 4 percent for four consecutive years. (The US unemployment rate in July was 3.9 percent.) Employers added 11,200 jobs in July and 31,800 jobs over the past three months, the third-highest number of new jobs over a three-month span dating back to 1990. Continue to full article
Fairmont Encouraging Homegrown Businesses

Friday, September 07, 2018

Business recruitment is a common, traditional approach used to spur economic growth. Cities offer companies tax breaks and other financial incentives to attract them to an area. While it’s true that the right company can bring a significant number of jobs and have a dramatic impact on a region, residents of small towns have learned hard lessons about depending on one company or even one industry to lift their economies. In more recent years, economic development leaders have been using a wider array of tactics to encourage growth and build a diverse business base. Business recruitment is still an objective. But it’s...
Artist crafts the old into new

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Michael Kutch is an artistic individual who stays busy at his business, Barn Bridge Hill Salvage Art. Originally from Michigan, Kutch moved to the area when he took the call to serve at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church and School in Fairmont, where he is the music director. He plays the organ at church, directs the choir, and teaches music and art at the school. He also serves on the board of directors at Red Rock Center for the Arts in Fairmont. FAIRMONT — Fairmont officials are keeping a close eye on events taking place at the city-owned Southern Minnesota Educational Campus, where Presentation...
3M-Fairmont puts focus on health, safety

Friday, August 17, 2018

FAIRMONT — Safety is important in any business, but the 3M plant in Fairmont took the well-being of its employees to a new level on Tuesday when it closed down production to hold a Safety Day. The event split the plant’s 150 employees into small groups that could then cycle through stations dealing with health and safety issues at the worksite and when they are not at work. “This is the first time in anybody’s memory that our plant has done this, spent an entire day on health and safety,” said Wendy Voss, human resources manager at 3M-Fairmont. She estimated at least six...
Working to Improve Fairmont’s Visibility

Monday, August 13, 2018

Marketing is key to economic development. It can help to expand a region’s visibility and ultimately attract new visitors, residents and businesses. Fairmont is engaged in a broad range of marketing efforts to promote itself. But not all are readily apparent. “We’re marketing Fairmont and Martin County locally but also nationally and even internationally in an effort to attract both workforce and businesses to our area” says Linsey Preuss, Fairmont’s economic development coordinator. “It’s something people wouldn’t really know unless they asked. Our efforts are focused within but also outside of the community. These external efforts have a huge impact.” Preuss notes that...
Minnesota Business Firms Expect Unchanged Conditions for 2019

Friday, August 10, 2018

Firms point to stability in the state’s overall economy ST. PAUL – Minnesota business services firms feel positive about the economy, with nearly 90 percent expecting sales revenue to increase or remain stable next year, according to a joint survey released today by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) and the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Business services firms are less optimistic, however, that productivity and employment levels will grow or remain stable in 2019. Sixty-eight percent expect their supply of workers to remain stable. That’s down from 77 percent last year. Only 7 percent of respondents anticipate labor availability...
Fairmont’s Welding Academy Addresses Worker Shortage

Wednesday, August 01, 2018

By 2020, the demand for welders is expected to grow by 26 percent, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. One of the main reasons is that baby boomers are retiring — and there aren’t enough trained workers to take their places. Fairmont Area Schools Superintendent Joe Brown is one of the leaders behind a local push to reinvigorate trades programming at Fairmont High School to help address this imminent workforce shortage. Brown notes that vocational classes were abandoned in the 1980s and 90s when students were instead pushed to attend four-year colleges. Minnesota companies are beginning to feel the impact...
In a tight labor market, Minnesota employers look to an under-utilized labor pool: workers with disabilities

Monday, July 30, 2018

On the main floor of the Minneapolis-based Minnesota Diversified Industries (MDI), Karen Howson is busy arranging piles of flat plastic sheets and transferring them to a nearby production line. From there, her co-workers fold the sheets and then carefully place them under sonic welding machines to form corrugated plastic mail trays that will eventually go to the United States Postal Service. In July, Howson will celebrate her second anniversary as a full-time production line worker at MDI, which designs and manufactures plastic totes, trays, boxes and other products for big and small companies, including Amazon, Caribou Coffee, Best Buy and 3M. Continue to full article
Ag tour reveals surprises

Thursday, July 26, 2018

The modern ag tour of Martin County on Wednesday drew about 30 people from diverse backgrounds. Farmers, pork producers, media, economic development and several members of the Minnesota House of Representatives, urged to attend by their fellow representative, Bob Gunther of Fairmont, hopped on a chartered bus for a six-stop journey culminating at the “Ground Up” dinner at the Tumbleson farm north of Sherburn. This is the second year for the ag tour, which was organized by Stephanie Busiahn, executive director of Visit Fairmont; Wanda Patsche, representing the pork industry; Joanne Schmidt, representing the crop industry; and Linsey Preuss, Fairmont economic development director. Click here...
Community center gets spotlight

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

FAIRMONT — Is a community center in Fairmont a feasible project? If so, what components should be included so the facility is sustainable and successful? Gathering information to answer those questions encompassed most of the day for Jeff King of Ballard*King and Associates, a Colorado-based firm hired by the Project 1590 community center committee. The company specializes in recreational facility planning. Throughout the day, King held hour-long sessions at Southern Minnesota Education Campus for a cross section of residents: senior and retired citizens; city, county and school officials; business leaders; athletic associations; Chamber of Commerce and Visit Fairmont representatives; non-profits and volunteers;...
Deal paying dividends for city, school

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

A collaborative effort between the city of Fairmont and Fairmont Area Schools has resulted in the creation of Whitetail Ridge, a housing development with 20 residential lots south of the soccer fields in Fairmont. For each lot sold, the school district gets $10,000, which it will put toward vocational programs at the high school. Fairmont Area has been looking at expanding its vocational programs the past few years due to the great need for skilled workers in the area and across the country. Click here for the complete article.