Minnesota Chamber Releases Minnesota Business Benchmarks
Annual report reaffirms innovative, skilled talent; workforce shortage a growing concern
A talented workforce remains a backbone of a growing Minnesota economy, according to the Minnesota Business Benchmarks. But the second annual report produced by the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce and its local Chamber Federation partners cautions that Minnesota could be losing its advantage.
“Our members regularly cite shortage of workers and high taxes as the two biggest impediments to growing and investing in Minnesota. The difficulty of finding workers at all skill levels across all industries is a huge issue for Minnesota businesses,” Chamber President Doug Loon said. “The problem already is exacerbated by a slowing growth in the working-age population coupled with the retiring baby boomers. Plus, we struggle with the persistent achievement gap among students of color.”
The report highlights an additional strain on the workforce. Minnesota is losing more people to other states than it is gaining. This trend is hindering growth opportunities for many companies, Loon said.
Business Benchmarks is a collection of key economic indicators that measure Minnesota’s competitiveness and the health of the state’s economy compared with the rest of the country. Comprehensive, objective data was compiled from sources such as state and federal agencies.
Minnesota continues to lead in many categories, the report shows. But it is slipping in key areas, too.
On the positive front, innovation remains a trademark with Minnesota ranking fourth highest among states in patents per capita. The state ranks second in the nation for residents with at least a two-year degree. It is 10th best in concentration of STEM jobs – science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
The good news/bad news dynamics, however, are reflected in economic growth, Loon said. Minnesota ranked 13th among states for GDP growth in 2015, up from 27th the previous year and tied at the national average of 2.4-percent growth. That improvement, however, was largely on the strength of the first quarter. Minnesota ranked 41st when viewing GDP growth for the final three quarters of 2015 and the first quarter of 2016.
Minnesota improved in job growth and personal income growth but still lags the national averages – ranking 29th and 30th, respectively, Loon noted. And its standing in key tax categories was largely unchanged from 2014. The state is still third highest in the nation for its corporate and income tax rates, and second highest for some business property taxes.
The Business Benchmarks provides an excellent springboard for priorities to focus on at the 2017 Legislature, Loon said. Policymakers and business leaders must work collectively to build on the state’s strengths and minimize its weaknesses.
“We cannot rest on our past successes. We must continue to adapt to changing competitive pressures,” Loon said. “Our work at the Minnesota Chamber is to make Minnesota ready for the future – ready for change and ready to grow.”
For the full report, click here.
Employers of Excellence
Winners of the inaugural Employers of Excellence program will be announced May 25
In recognition of the inaugural Employers of Excellence pilot program, Dakota and Scott counties will name award winners at an event on Wednesday, May 25 from 7:30–9 a.m. at the Eagan Community Center.
The keynote speaker for the award presentation will be Gerry Hoeffner, President of Personnel Dynamics Consulting Group. With two decades of employee development experience, Hoeffner has an energizing approach to training employees and management teams. His experience in manufacturing, retail sales, financial services, and the medical field provides a broad spectrum of insight and knowledge to his work, and his experience working with hundreds of companies provides him with practical and useful insights for organizations of all sizes.
Small businesses that participated in the program completed a 40-question survey, covering employee training and development, hiring and retention of employees, benefit plans and more. Employers of Excellence Award recipients will have top rankings in these categories.
A report featuring the results of the survey and includes area employee recruitment and retention trends is provided to each organization allowing them to see how they compare to other employers, so they might develop a baseline of workforce best practices for their own organization.
For more information on the Employers of Excellence program, contact Workforce Development Board Director Mark Jacobs at 651-554-5622 or go to http://mn.gov/deed/excellence, which includes a link to the survey. Click on the “Employers of Excellence” tab.
If you’d like to attend, please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org by May 13. For more information, call 651-554-5633.
All costs are being covered by the Workforce Development Board and area sponsors including Dakota County Technical College, Inver Hills Community College, Dakota County Community Development Agency and Scott County Community Development Agency.
Annual River Heights Chamber Golf Classic Open to Business Community
New Times, New Auctions, Same Great Fundraiser
Inver Grove Heights/South Saint Paul – The River Heights Chamber of Commerce invites the community to golf in the Chamber’s Annual Golf Classic fundraiser presented by AirTech Heating & Cooling, on Monday, June 20, 2016 at Southview Country Club at 239 E. Mendota Road in West St. Paul.
Southview Country Club is a premier 18-hole course whose sheer aesthetic beauty lies in stark contrast to the challenge it provides to golfers of every skill level. It is the kind of course you never grow tired of playing, and are always proud to bring your guests to. Today, Southview is noted for its immaculate rolling fairways, mature trees, numerous water hazards featuring fountains and magnificent landscaping. And of course, the finest greens in this part of the country.
June 20th is promised to be filled with fun including a Bloody Mary/Mimosa bar while you get checked-in and practice your swings, contests on the course, and a ball drop contest and awards BBQ following the day’s play. Registration begins at 10 a.m., with a shot gun start for teams at 11:00 a.m. For more event times of the day, visit our event page here. An online auction will be sure to please with great items starting June 1st running through the tournament on June 20th (watch for the link coming soon).
One lucky winner of the Chamber’s May online auction (May 16 – May 27 ) will get to add a celebrity to their foursome at this year’s tournament. Adam Thielen, wide receiver for the Minnesota Vikings will be joining a team to play in the River Heights Chamber’s Golf Classic. Adam was a local college standout at Mankato State University and signed with the Vikings in 2013 as an undrafted free agent. “We’re excited to have Adam with us on June 20th and see his talents on the golf course vs. the football field,” says Travis Jensen of Home Federal Savings Bank and Golf Task Force Chair.
Special thanks to these businesses for being major sponsors of the tournament: AirTech Heating & Cooling, Antonsen Construction, Home Federal Savings Bank, Quality Auto Care Center and Sanimax.
Golf is $175/golfer (after May 16th) or a discounted rate of $600 per foursome. Guests may attend the BBQ dinner only for $35/person to network and socialize. For more information on the golf tournament or to register to attend, visit us online at www.riverheights.com/golf or call the River Heights Chamber of Commerce at 651.451.2266.
Microtel Inn & Suites by Wyndham Receives 2016 Small Business of the Year Award from River Heights Chamber of Commerce
27th Anniversary of Small Business Award in Local Business Community
Inver Grove Heights/South Saint Paul – The River Heights Chamber of Commerce is proud to announce that Microtel Inn & Suites by Wyndham received the River Heights Chamber of Commerce’s 2016 Small Business of the Year Award! Don Heikkila, General Manager, humbly accepted the award at the River Heights Chamber of Commerce’s Annual Small Business Award Luncheon & Trade Show on Thursday, April 14, 2016 at Southview Country Club in West St. Paul.
This year marked the 27th Anniversary of the River Heights Chamber celebrating this award with the business community and was sponsored in-part by Town Square Television, Waterous Company, Hometown Meats (2015 Small Business of the Year) and Antonsen Construction. Community businesses exhibited in the trade show sponsored by Wakota Federal Credit Union and FASTSIGNS of Inver Grove Heights. Chamber member businesses nominated local small businesses and the Chamber’s Recognition Committee selected the award recipient from many deserving applicants.
Click below to watch Microtel’s Award Video
The Small Business of the Year Award acknowledges an organization that has been in business for five years or more, has 20 or fewer employees, has at least two years of membership in the River Heights Chamber, and encompasses a business that has a commitment to the community through its involvement and assistance to community organizations, to its employees, suppliers and customer relationships, in addition to a commitment to excellence in service, business ethics, friendliness and business operations.
The Microtel recently celebrated their fifteenth year anniversary. They began with several local people as partners in the business, and still have two local partners. The ownership group and management is still basically the same as when they opened. The Microtel recently underwent a complete remodel of the lobby area. They are fortunate to have owners who realize that investment in the business pays dividends in the long run.
The Microtel’s customer relationships continue to thrive on repeat business. Don Heikkila, general manager stated, “we are very fortunate to have the support of many local businesses as clients.” “We have been a Top Twenty Microtel for the last four consecutive years, as well as a Circle of Excellence winner from TripAdvisor. Our Quality Assurance inspections have been excellent as have our AAA inspections. Our guests expect to find a clean comfortable place to sleep at night, and that is what we provide. We are proud to be the extra bedroom for many people who visit their families in the area, attend a graduation or wedding, or a number of other reasons,” Heikkila added.
Don shared, “Our front desk staff is the heart of the hotel and the housekeepers are the backbone of the hotel. Our employees are second to none. We have several employees who have been with us for years. Four employees have been here for ten years or more. This is pretty much unheard of in our business. At a recent event, we counted about 14 children who have all been born during the time their mothers have worked here and I consider them all my grandchildren.”
The Microtel is unique and has filled a niche as the local economy hotel. Economy does not mean that we are any less than any hotel. Many of their guests are searching for a clean, comfortable bed, and they provide that. Many companies in the area are small businesses and they realize that the Microtel Inn & Suites provides a great value for them as their clients and business associates visit them, and they are happy to have their support.
For more information on the award recipient, Microtel Inn & Suites by Wyndham, please contact the River Heights Chamber of Commerce at 651.451.2266 or visit us online at www.riverheights.com.
About River Heights Chamber of Commerce
The River Heights Chamber of Commerce is a business organization who aggressively promotes the interests of the business communities of Inver Grove Heights and South St. Paul. The organization is volunteer driven and strives to attract and retain businesses to keep the business community thriving. The River Heights Chamber continues to provide value-added opportunities for all members. Visit our website www.riverheights.com to learn more!
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