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Retired people may be solution to labor shortage

You can be unhappy, even angry, about the impending construction of a casino in our neck of the woods, but there is a silver-lining: it may put a large number of people to work; and may result in additional businesses which will provide additiona...

You can be unhappy, even angry, about the impending construction of a casino in our neck of the woods, but there is a silver-lining: it may put a large number of people to work; and may result in additional businesses which will provide additional jobs. But with a worker shortage already a concern here, how will additional businesses creating additional jobs alleviate the shortage?

We probably need to look at a generation of people who have already put their time into careers and are looking to find something part time to occupy themselves - recently retired seniors.

We all know we live in the best county, many would even say the best community, in the state of Minnesota. With its 1,048 lakes which offer endless recreational activities - boating, fishing, paddle boarding, canoeing, kayaking and swimming, to name but a few - the scenic countryside alternating between the blue of the sky and lakes, and the rich green of row crops, gently rolling hills offering a variety in the landscape, plenty of amenities such as fine and casual restaurants, and golf courses, a variety of shopping opportunities and trustworthy retail and service businesses and schools, there are plenty of reasons to turn a visit into a move to this area.

What various job opportunities would do is draw people here who can fill vacancies that, for whatever reason, the present population doesn't fill. Whether the local pool of people are simply not qualified for some of the jobs, have no desire to work in the available positions, or who just plain don't want to work, local manufacturers and businesses are in some cases desperate to fill these jobs.

Local and county officials who track population shifts say that people are moving to rural Minnesota areas in droves and so are people who are looking to retire or who have retired. This group of people is making their second home, frequently on a lake, their permanent home. What's more, these retired folks still want to work, perhaps in a less intense work environment than that from which they retired, but they are job hunting. They are looking for something part time and something they consider fun, while at the same time providing additional income to supplement their retirement earnings, whether from investments or Social Security.

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There is no doubt a pool of qualified candidates, such as those who have retired, would make desirable employees. They have skills and knowledge that a come from experience, and in many cases would need little training to slide into a job, depending on the complexity of the job. They also aren't looking to replace young people entering the job market - they have already put in the 8-to-5 shift for 20, 30 or 40 years - and just want something to occupy some of their free time, get them out of the house several days a week.

We may see a new line of services crop up to help these retirees find that perfect job fit, though there are several agencies already in place to serve the aging population, which includes job placement.

So while we think attracting young families that will fill our schools, shop local and fill some job vacancies, perhaps we should also be looking at the aging population as one solution to the workforce shortage we have in this area.

Related Topics: OTTER TAIL COUNTY
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