Curating Careers in Our Community

“We can’t find jobs!”

“We can’t find employees!”

Here in the Northland, chances are good that you’ve overheard these statements or said one yourself. It might seem impossible that a single region can have both complaints at once, but that is exactly the case right now in Northeast Minnesota and Northwest Wisconsin.

This situation has been called the “workforce shortage,” the “skills gap,” and a whole bunch of other phrases that all boil down to the same thing: there are open jobs, and there are qualified candidates, but they aren’t always aligning. 

To put it in perspective, in 2017 the number of vacancies officially exceeded the number of people looking for jobs in Minnesota. Already extreme, the employment crunch is only expected to intensify in coming years.

Seeing this employment shortage coming down the pipeline, The Northspan Group and APEX created NORTHFORCE in 2014 to offset workforce shortages by providing a modern tool to help job seekers find positions that are a great fit for them in this area.

Unlike other job boards, northforce.org exclusively posts jobs and internships from within Northeast Minnesota and Northwest Wisconsin. It’s designed for career-minded individuals who want to live and work here, and just need the right gig in order to stay, relocate, or come back home. It’s free to sign up, search jobs, and post jobs.

This news will probably come as a relief to anyone who has ever tried to find or post a job on Indeed, Monster, or any other behemoth job board. If you have, you know that it’s next to impossible to actually find what you need on these sites. Even the most qualified candidate might apply to innumerable positions without ever getting called in for an interview. Employers, on the other hand, find themselves bombarded with too many resumes, which they then have to sift through in order to find the few that actually fulfill their requirements. 

The main problem with these huge sites is that they’re ultimately unsustainable when it comes to solving the employment challenges of a specific region like ours. This is part of a much broader trend. Approximately three decades into the Internet Age, we’re experiencing a shift away from gigantic, dysfunctional websites. In their place, smaller grassroots sites are starting to pop up as sustainable alternatives. Here, that’s NORTHFORCE. 

Powering the website is an on-the-ground team of locals who know this workforce landscape and the professional networks within it. Every local job that gets posted on the site is verified by a member of the NORTHFORCE team. Likewise, every candidate who signs up gets personalized job leads. Able to assist with anything from a resume review to a targeted C-suite placement, we’re curating careers in our community because that’s what the modern job market demands.

Elissa Hansen is President and CEO of The Northspan Group and oversees NORTHFORCE operations across the four #NorthByChoice territories of the Twin Ports, the Iron Range, the North Shore of Lake Superior, and Northwest Wisconsin.

A version of this article was originally published in the Opinion Section of the Duluth News Tribune on January 27, 2019: https://www.duluthnewstribune.com/opinion/columns/4562746-local-view-connecting-qualified-candidates-open-jobs-worthy-goal.

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