22 March 2022
The state has tapped insider Marc Majors to head up Minnesota’s workforce development efforts during a time of historic labor shortages.
Majors replaces Hamse Warfa, who left in January to join President Joe Biden’s administration.
Majors, who stepped into the role of the state’s deputy commissioner of workforce development on Friday, formerly headed the employment and training programs for the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED). He is credited with securing more than $130 million in federal and state training grants for Minnesota employers and employees.
The Minneapolis native also held several other jobs within DEED’s jobs programs. Majors also worked to streamline the grant application process and broaden the reach of state and federal training grants into rural and urban communities and has worked to expand training opportunities to communities of color.
DEED Commissioner Steve Grove said “Marc’s wide-ranging expertise and experience are huge assets in helping DEED lead the way to a more inclusive economy.”
Majors said in a statement that this is an “important moment for workforce” in Minnesota.
Majors takes the helm at a time of historically low unemployment that has left employers scrambling to find workers for healthcare, service, retail and manufacturing jobs statewide.
In January, Minnesota’s unemployment rate slid to 2.9%, well below the national rate of 4.08% in January and 3.8% in February. The number of job vacancies in the state of Minnesota saw an 84% year-over-year increase, hitting a record 205,700 vacancies during the second quarter of 2021.
Even so, unemployment rates for Blacks and Latino workers remains significantly higher than for white workers.
The pressure to find qualified workers has led employers to raise wage, launch retention bonuses, and created a new campaign by the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce to educate businesses across the state on ways to recruit and hire workers of color, workers with disabilities, military veterans and people with prior criminal records.
In the next few weeks, Majors will begin a statewide tour engaging Minnesota employers, discussing ways the state can better develop Minnesota’s workforce and launching programs that help grow the state’s economy.