Employer Workforce Partnerships
Collaborating with organizations like Bluff Country Collaborative and Workforce Development, Inc. (WDI) can make the difference in attracting and maintaining a team of satisfied and productive employees. Did you know that WDI can provide recruitment assistance, local labor market information, original research, best retention practices, staff training, and much more? Harmony Enterprises is proud to be an active partner with both BCC and WDI and hold a seat on the SEMN Workforce Development Board as a private business in Fillmore County. We wanted to take this opportunity to share the story of a shining example of how our partnership with both BCC and WDI helped to create a Harmony & WDI employee success story!
How It Began – Career Exploration
Harmony Enterprises and Harmony Kids Learning Center proudly offer student tours and on-site career exploration activities for high school students throughout Southeast Minnesota.
During one such event in 2022, a student from Rushford-Peterson high school, Autumn O’Laughlin, expressed interest in becoming a welder. Her tour of our facility and other high school classes helped her to confirm her career choice.
Following the career exploration day, Autumn took the initiative to call Harmony and ask what employment opportunities exist for students who plan to study welding at a regional technical college.
That’s where Harmony Enterprises’ close partnership with Workforce Development helped out!
Harmony & WDI Employee Success Story
Through WDI, employers can receive reimbursement for training wages, up to 90% depending on the company size, for eligible new hires during the initial training period up to six months. WDI also offers an incentive contract that provides reimbursement for wages to train eligible new hires. These are win-win deals that save manufacturers money and net productive employees trained specifically in your own company processes.
This program was a perfect fit for Autumn, who was registered for welding coursework at Minnesota State College Southeast in the fall of 2023.
Working with WDI, Autumn was able to go to school during the day and receive paid on-the-job welding training from professionals at Harmony during the afternoons and evenings. Harmony tailored Autumn’s training to the MIG welding techniques needed to be a successful welder of recycling balers at Harmony Enterprises, as well as additional curriculum to augment her studies at MN State College SE.
Following the completion of the 12 week program, Autumn will able to take her welding certification test and be offered continued regular employment at Harmony Enterprises. Pending the completion of her college degree, Autumn can become a full time welder at Harmony!
This partnership not only provides an enthusiastic young student an opportunity at employment, it helps to strengthen Harmony’s welding workforce.
Autumn’s WDI Youth Career Planner, Jaclyn Sill states, “WDI is so pleased that they could work with Autumn on her career aspirations and connect her with Harmony Enterprises. Autumn came to WDI motivated and career focused on Welding, she just needed the steppingstone of a work experience to make that happen. Work experiences provide a hands-on experience and industry insights that are so valuable for someone starting off their career. WDI is grateful to have connected with a company who values and motivates a young person’s potential.”
WDI Executive Director, Jinny Rietmann, echoed that sentiment by saying, “Partnership between Workforce Development, Inc. youth programming and private business is critical; not only to the success of the young individual searching for their career, but also for employers who are seeking talent. WDI provides this service to connect businesses to career seekers and to provide avenues for youth to learn about local employers and provide awareness of what opportunities are available to them.”
How Can Your Business Leverage The Power of WDI?
WDI offers free programs to businesses throughout Southeast Minnesota. Their employer outreach specialists are ready to assist you with questions you might have about wage subsidy contract programs, youth experience programs, and more. Here are the area contacts for counties in our immediate area.
WDI Employer Outreach Specialists (EOS) Team
Dodge County // Desirae Dyke, [email protected], 507.634.7381
Fillmore & Houston Counties // Dee Slinde, [email protected], 507.951.7092
Freeborn County // Valerie Kvale, [email protected], 507.402.7294
Goodhue County // Cyndi Reese, [email protected], 651.764.1583
Mower County // Mike Postma, [email protected], 507.433.0685
Olmsted County // Erica Rice, [email protected], 507.252.6529
Rice & Steele Counties // Kim Purscell, [email protected], 507.431.3903
Wabasha County // Kortney Wobbe, [email protected], 651.565.2635
If you would like to learn more about this Harmony & WDI employee success story, our long lasting waste and recycling solutions, how to apply for employment with Harmony, or more about our valuable partnerships with WDI or BCC, call us at (507) 886-6666, or Contact Us today!