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DEED analyst paints bright jobs picture

BROWN COUNTY — A Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development regional analyst painted a rosy jobs picture in Brown County Wednesday.

Leading a New Ulm Forward Zoom (online) discussion, Luke Greiner said there are 250 open jobs at the New Ulm CareerForce.

“New Ulm has a very solid mix of jobs. There are jobs here, lots of opportunity here,” Greiner said. “Manufacturing is the biggest employer. Following that are health care and social assistance, then retail trade and accommodation and food service.”

Greiner said fundamental job skills are needed for many of the open jobs.

“Brown County is very homogenous,” Greiner said. “There are almost 500 Hispanic and Latinos with 4.5% unemployment. White unemployment is 2%.”

Greiner talked about a group of workers that may be hidden to most people.

“I’ve talked to employers who like hiring ex-felons because they have to come to work, or they go back to prison,” Greiner said. “Some employers are fine with that.”

Greiner said it is hoped that many pandemic-related job layoffs are temporary and the jobs will open back up in the future.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the CareerForce office at 1618 S. Broadway is not open to the public. But the office offers phone and online individual assistance from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Services include job search, resume writing, employer services and other services. For more information, visit careerforcemn.com.

It was mentioned that a Sleepy Eye food distribution drew a large number of people to the Sleepy Eye Baseball Park parking lot Tuesday afternoon.

Assistant New Ulm City Manager and Economic Development Director Audra Shaneman said there is a lot of food insecurity right now.

Brown County Public Health Director Karen Moritz said food prices have risen significantly lately.

Moritz said some manufacturing plants are operating at less than full capacity since the pandemic began due to Minnesota Department of Health recommendations.

She had a morsel of good news.

“We haven’t had a significant COVID-19 outbreak at any one place, but some procedure changes have caused some things to slow down,” Moritz added.

Greiner said some of the business changes he’s noticed since restaurants re-opened this summer after closing due to the pandemic include serving customers on sidewalks and delivering drinks.

The New Ulm Forward group began in May 2018 following a community forum on race. Its mission is to create a healthy community by accepting diversity and recognizing the unique differences of people.

Fritz Busch can be emailed at fbusch@nujournal.com.

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