South Dakota’s economy is the strongest in the nation, and one challenge that comes with that is a large number of open jobs with few available workers to fill them. There are fewer than 700 South Dakotans on unemployment, but about 27,000 open jobs in the state.
When President Trump offered extended unemployment benefits during the pandemic, Governor Noem was the only governor in America to turn them down. She said, “No thank you, Mr. President. Our people want to work.”
Today, South Dakota’s unemployment rate is a record low 2.3%. Businesses in every community have “Help Wanted” signs in their windows. And Governor Noem is taking action to help.
The best way to address shortages in our workforce is to grow the workforce. Governor Noem has been doing that by inviting Freedom-loving Americans to move to South Dakota. Since the pandemic, South Dakota’s population has been growing 10 times faster than the rest of the country. And the people moving here are not bringing liberal politics with them. Republican voter registrations are up 31,000 in South Dakota, while Democrat registrations are down by 3,000 since March 2020.
It is also important that we train young South Dakotans to fill in-demand jobs so that our businesses’ workforce needs are being met. Governor Noem is doing this by:
- Investing in the South Dakota Freedom Scholarship, the first needs-based scholarship in South Dakota.
- Expanding apprenticeship programs in South Dakota to help folks get on-the-job training so that they can earn a paycheck and get the skills they need at the same time.
- Bolstering our technical colleges so that they can reach more students with increased capabilities to prepare them for the career of their dreams.
This next year, Governor Noem has tasked the Department of Tourism with using their marketing expertise to convince workers in in-demand professions to move to South Dakota–and given them $35 million to get the job done. She has also launched successful recruiting efforts for law enforcement and nurses, encouraging them to move to a state where their freedoms will be respected.
Every time that Governor Noem travels the country, she talks about how wonderful South Dakota is. She outlines how our Freedom-focused policies are driving growth; how South Dakotans are safer and happier than residents of other states; how we are setting an example for the rest of the nation. Many who have heard these speeches have moved to South Dakota, bringing their families and their skills with them.