- Associated Press - Monday, March 7, 2016

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) - Sioux Falls is putting more focus on training and developing workers who are already in the community, after years of trying to recruit workers from other areas has failed to put much of a dent in the city’s workforce needs.

The city’s homegrown workforce development strategy last year used efforts such as a program that connects nonviolent felons with job opportunities, the Argus Leader newspaper reported (http://argusne.ws/1QRw2LZ ).

Jeffrey Irving, a convicted drug felon, took advantage of the program to find a job at a lumber business. The job wouldn’t have happened without the program, he said.

“You go to 100 other places and it’s, ‘No, you’re a felon,’” Irving said.

Other efforts that received grant funding included programs offering workplace skills and other training to refugees and immigrants. Another aims to expose students and others to construction trades. Altogether, the city gave out a little more than $300,000.

“You can’t just keep doing what you’ve been doing and expect better results,” Community Development Director Darrin Smith said.

Preliminary results of the new effort include dozens of people who have received job training or placement and hundreds more exposed to potential opportunities, he said.

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Information from: Argus Leader, http://www.argusleader.com

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