First Stop Shop Updates
Volume 4, Issue 3 - March 2016
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In This Issue

SCALE ~ 50 by 30 Initiative
Rarely a week goes by without some headline about the latest reports in housing, education, transportation, and workforce. Sometimes the headlines are positive—Minnesota is #1 on yet another list—but often they highlight a problem: a rental crisis, an achievement gap, increasing commute times, or lack of livable wage jobs. These big-picture issues have unique effects on every community. To understand how these topics affect the communities in Scott County, the Scott County Association for Leadership and Efficiency (SCALE) has sponsored an initiative called “50 by 30.” 

“50 by 30” is working toward SCALE’s vision of employing 50% of Scott County’s labor force in livable wage jobs within the county by 2030. SCALE has been working towards this goal over the past decade: strategic investments in transportation to support economic development, an expanded focus on land use and transportation, and the creation of the First Stop Shop have all contributed to rapid and significant progress.

Now, due to the success of previous efforts and an influx of major job growth, the next step in advancing the “50 by 30” vision is to understand how the large systems of housing, education, transportation, and workforce intersect to create both new opportunities and new challenges. How does an influx of jobs affect housing and transportation? How does early learning relate to Scott County’s future workforce? To fully understand these issues, “50 by 30” strives to be inclusive. The goal is to have Scott County residents at the table with elected officials, superintendents, non-profit leaders, and employers. 

Accordingly, the “50 by 30” team is seeking Scott County businesses and residents of all backgrounds who would be willing to share their experiences as a member of a working group. You could live in executive housing; you could commute north each morning; you could be facing housing barriers; or you could be seeking local opportunities for higher education: whatever your background or current situation, we want to hear from you.

If you are interested in investing your time to plan for the future of Scott County or if you’d simply like to learn more about this initiative, we invite you to contact Jake Grussing at 952-496-8641 or
Open to Business ~ 2015 Year End Report
We had another great year with the Scott County Open to Business program! Christine Pigsley, our Open to Business (OTB) Advisor, worked with 57 new businesses in 2015 as well as numerous existing clients from 2014, all throughout each of our Scott County communities. The OTB program helped to bring over $2.6M in financing and access to capital to Scott County businesses through direct loans, grants, and leveraged funds.

To see the full end of year report, click here.   

There was an article in the Star Tribune just this past weekend on one of the businesses who worked with our OTB program. Click here to read more about Farmhouse Market in New Prague.
* REMINDER * ~ Employers of Excellence Awards
Scott County businesses have a great opportunity to participate in an awards program targeted at identifying the businesses that are experiencing the best results in employee retention and best work environments. All participants will receive a personalized report detailing how they compare with other companies in the area and offering suggestions for improvement of their work environments. *FREE TO PARTICIPATE!*  Check out the press release with more details below.  
No joke ~ deadline to apply is NEXT FRIDAY, APRIL 1!

Area employers to vie for “Employers of Excellence” Awards

With the unemployment rates in Dakota and Scott counties extremely low, employers are finding it difficult to create a workplace environment that will attract and retain good employees.  
The Dakota-Scott Workforce Development Board (WDB) will be recruiting employers to participate in the “Employers of Excellence” Awards program. The program will recognize the best employers in the two-county area and overall provides an overview of employment data, and trends and practices on what employers are doing to maintain an engaged workforce. The program collects data from area employers and produces a 20-page report on employment trends and practices in Dakota and Scott counties. From the data received the WDB will recognize the businesses that are experiencing the best results in employee retention efforts and providing the best work environments in the area. Additionally, participating employers will receive a confidential report including their individual metrics.

“Employers throughout our business community are looking for the best ways to retain and attract talent. We want to know who is doing a great job and what are they doing to keep their workforce engaged.” says Mark Lofthus, chairperson of the WDB’s Business Services committee.

“This project will benefit employees and employers alike. In a time when everyone is trying to keep employees engaged, this program will provide the opportunity for all of the businesses in our community to learn new ways to provide a quality place to work and reduce their turnover.”

The Dakota-Scott WDB is working with Personnel Dynamics Consulting in Florida to collect the data from area businesses. Personnel Dynamics will analyze the data and calculate the turnover rates, growth percentages, promotion percentages, and benefit packages for each company. A total of 37 different measurements are analyzed. Every participating company will receive a personalized report detailing how they compared with other companies in the area and suggestions for improving the work environment. All costs are being covered by the WDB and area sponsors including Dakota County Technical College, Inver Hills Community College, Dakota County Community Development Agency (CDA) and Scott County CDA.

Winners will be announced May 25 at the Employers of Excellence Awards Banquet to be held at the Eagan Community Center.  

The WDB is encouraging all employers to participate. You may contact WDB Director Mark Jacobs at 651 554-5622 for more information or go to, which includes a link to the survey. Please click on the “Employers of Excellence” tab.  Deadline for consideration for this program — available this year at no cost to employers — is April 1.

FSS Contact Info

Stacy Crakes, P.E.  | 952.496.8613 | Email
Renee Christianson |  952.496.8830 | Email
Copyright © 2016 Scott County CDA, All rights reserved.

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