Entries Tagged 'Employment' ↓

Nursing pay in South Dakota ranks 48th in Nation

Should this surprise any of us? Not really, I have had at least two friends leave SD for better pay in nursing. One of them got her pay doubled when she moved to Washington State. I was also told by both of them, working conditions were not the best either in SD (one had worked at both major hospitals and the other worked for a private surgical center).

It seems while we hear places like Trail King get a bad rap for bad pay, and Denny Sanford kicking in $25 million to train better welders, he ought to be paying the nurses better that work for his name stake.

As I said at a recent city council meeting, we don’t have a ‘jobs’ issue in South Dakota, we have a ‘wage’ issue. Teachers and nurses are not the only ones at the bottom of the pay scale in SD.

South Dakota – $50,000 Rank: 48th
Average Registered Nursing salaries for job postings in South Dakota are 25% lower than average Registered Nursing salaries for job postings nationwide. The average salary ranks 48th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Reflectx Staffing, Avera Health, FocusStaff, and Huron South Dakota Department of Labor and Regulation Jobs.

My Voice guest column, set labels aside

This writer points out something overlooked in the Trail King worker debacle;

It is a common behavior to label things. It implies we have arrived at a conclusion. It is a common mistake that when we don’t understand the “other” we tend to label them. This limits our ability to be curious and learn more.

Am I guilty of this, sure, I tend to label ‘normal’ people as people I really don’t want to be around. They even kind of irritate me a little. The sad part is that when you are only driven by profits and greed, all you have is excuses when you fail. Blame the worker.

Is there a corporate culture when it comes to salary increases in Sioux Falls?

The Mayor likes to brag about how he runs Sioux Falls like a business. Looking at the salary packages of city employees since 2010 and you will certainly see that he is either running a corporate business model when rewarding ‘certain’ employees for what seems like loyalty or he is using public treasure to be in good graces with these employees.

The below graphic is just a sliver of the data processed. We found that many of the lower end city employees did not receive any or only COLA increases from 2010-2013 (coming out of a recession) while management and promoted workers received enormous increases. Yearly increases for some of the management/supervisor employees was between 12-15%. Remember, this is when tax revenue was down, and we were coming out of an economic downturn.

This graphic only shows the TOP 44 employess who received the largest increases over a 5 year period of time. While some of the department managers did not receive as high as increases, their wage increases were enormous when compared to the private sector (more on that later).

I left the names of the employees off of the chart, because I concluded though this is public record, it really isn’t about WHO was getting these increases it was about how they are conducted. The layman looking at this would seem to be confused at the rhyme or reason as to how these increases occurred (more on that later). I have often felt public salary increases should be based on three things;


2) Tax revenue increase percentage

3) Performance and Promotion (did the employee reach the objectives given to them by management?

4) Efficiency and Accuracy while maintaining a high level of customer service

It is also important to remember, that some of the larger increases below were due to employees moving from a temp or part-time employee to a full-time employee, but where the shocker comes in is after a small promotion the big leap in salary.

SF High Wage-Salary.xlsx

Trail King clueless about a 99.99% worker turnover

Wow, when I read this story, the first thing I thought is how things haven’t changed in 24 years, literally.

They seem to think it is an employee problem, seems to be an employer problem. Reading comments on FB, I hear the same complaints I heard 24 years ago from one of my friends that worked there, NO air conditioning or ventilation for the welders. He was hardly a slacker, he was a hard working farm kid who was a very talented welder and loved doing it, but when you can’t breathe doing your job, it’s time to hit the road. I think he lasted about 15-30 days.

I applaud the Argus and Steve Young for doing this story, it will blow up in Trail King’s face, and they might finally realize that treating your employees like oxen instead of humans will eventually catch up with you.

Remember this is the same company who took state tax dollars to recruit workers. It’s time for all former employees to speak out and tell the governor and the CEO of the company that we have had enough of this less then human treatment from employers.

Do we need to recruit workers to South Dakota & Sioux Falls?

We don’t ­ – But I will get to that in a moment.

With all this hub-bub about the lame ass marketing skills coming from our own community development office and the SD Republic party’s personal ad agency (who continues to mysteriously win all of the State’s RFPs) it has gotten me thinking about the bigger picture, or let’s at least say the bigger more important objective of workforce development.

Last week I was having a conversation about this topic with a Sioux Falls city councilor, and I asked him, “Why do we need to recruit people to Sioux Falls? Isn’t Sioux Falls large enough? Why do we need to grow?”

But more importantly we both had an ‘Ah-Ha’ moment. Why not make salaries, job training and the quality of life for the people who already live here better FIRST. Then once we have declared success on that front, we can show the rest of the country (or even the universe) how we have made South Dakota better for our existing residents with boundless opportunities to advance in your career.

Let’s face it, the first step to a better quality of life is a fatter wallet. I chuckle at these commercials where people are fishing on Bayliners, driving Harleys and recreating in the Black Hills. Guess what, all of these things take money, and with having one of the highest rates of impoverished children in the country, I don’t think too many South Dakotans are driving to the food bank on their Harleys.

Let’s face it, companies in South Dakota CAN afford to pay better, but I will also defend them by saying it is a two-way street, workers that already exist in this state are going to have to be willing to learn new things and make an effort.

We don’t need to recruit workers to our state, we need to recruit companies to make better lives for their current employees which means intensive on the job training, education, and paying above a living wage. It will take a REAL and PERSONAL investment from the companies, not just taxpayers, but hey that’s how the FREE market works. We can’t continue to depend on corporate welfare for these companies to get workers.

If we don’t try this approach, no number of idiotic TV commercials by Loser & Shister or billboards in Downtown Minneapolis of Smiling Mayor Mike are going to turnaround our (qualified) worker shortage.

I have often said “All politics are local” well the same goes for a strong workforce. Let’s cleanup our neighborhood first before inviting other neighborhoods over for a block party.

Put on a tie & get a job! Some more infinite wisdom from our Esteemed Leader

Last Sunday, Mike went to First Baptist Church in Sioux Falls for another exciting edition of his ‘Shut Up and Listen’ session. He gave advice on how to dress for an interview (if they even call you for one) and put his foot in his mouth so many times that I am guessing his breath smells like sweaty toes and shoe leather to this day!

Should teaching English be considered a part of taxpayer subsidized job training?

Around $170K of the $500K the city is awarding in workforce development is going towards immigrants and refugees.

While I am not opposed to teaching them English and using taxdollars to do it, shouldn’t our #1 focus be on actual job training, when it comes to workforce development? When I think of teaching immigrants our language, I look at that as a social service, not a workforce development service.

What do you think? I think it is a very fine line;

Workforce Development Pilot Program Recommends Funding Eight Organizations – Applications Still Being Accepted

In January, the City of Sioux Falls launched a Workforce Development Pilot Program to support and explore activities to address workforce challenges and to drive workforce growth and development. Today, the City announced its intent to award funding to eight local entities that are well-positioned to address workforce development needs in Sioux Falls. Grant awards are proposed for:

  • Employment Edge—$25,000
    Program to focus on recruiting, screening, and finding jobs for nonviolent offenders recently released from state or federal custody
  • Forward Sioux Falls—$50,000
    Creation of a comprehensive community workforce action plan
  • Globe University—$100,000
    Development of individualized training programs for businesses that incorporate on the job and academic learning
  • Home Builders Association of the Sioux Empire, Associated General Contractors of South Dakota, and Sioux Empire Manufacturers—$50,000
    Creation of mobile training labs to teach construction and manufacturing skills
  • Multi-Cultural Center of Sioux Falls—$70,020
    Workforce training program for immigrants and refugees
  • Sioux Empire Society for Human Resource Management—$34,250
    Will host a community-wide workforce development conference
  • Sioux Falls School District, Career and Technical Education Academy—$12,250
    Electrical skills program that provides post-secondary credit for high school students
  • Training Solutions Institute, a division of Southeast Technical Institute—$99,408
    English language and job skills training for immigrant and ethnic populations


The eight awards total $440,928. The City has received 38 applications requesting a total of $1,932,715. An evaluation committee and the City Attorney’s Office reviewed each application. Ten finalists were invited to make a presentation to the group and were scored by the committee according to:

  • Level of impact
  • Investment made by the proposer to execute the program
  • Proposer’s qualifications to successfully deliver the program
  • Quality of interview

Wanted; Professional Bullshi . . . . ah, I mean, Bullrider


We already have the other one covered.

The ‘Spamming’ of the new jobs website doesn’t surprise me. After the site was announced, I commented to a friend, “I wonder how long it will take before someone posts fake jobs?”

Didn’t take to long.

What surprises me that after we spent $24K for a website, you would think the spam filters would be stronger. My filters pick up about 1,000 spam comments a day. I physically moderate (delete) about 10 comments a day. So folks, this is why I moderate my comments, and no one pays me $24K a year to do it, we can always change that.


I may be a ‘Hard Ass’ but at least I am not a ‘Dumb Ass’

YouTube Preview Image

Nothing like being scolded for using the word ‘ass’ by the guy who is rumored to drop the F-Bomb quite frequently to whoever is in the room. As for a grammar reference, the term ‘Hard Ass’ refers to a stubborn mule, you know, the mascot of the party you belong to, Mike? The F-word refers to sex. So Mike, I think the people of Sioux Falls would appreciate you refrain from using the word from now on.

Why is the city spending my ‘tax dollars’ on a ‘help wanted’ website and marketing campaign?


Ego Much? Images: Argus Leader Media

When I first heard about this site and campaign yesterday, I thought it was some kind of April Fool’s joke.

The city council recently allocated $500K for workforce development, which I support, but I was under the impression this was to help businesses recruit workers, not hold people’s hands on how to find a job.

There are numerous private help wanted job sites in Sioux Falls. If you are looking for a job, you have multiple options. With the low unemployment, it is becoming harder for businesses to find qualified people. I have often felt that the solution is that employers in Sioux Falls need to start paying blue collar workers a living wage.

As for the city getting involved in ‘want ads’ maybe they could also include rummage and car sales on the site also, to diversify it :)

This is just a PR move by the mayor, who is considering running for governor.