Spearfish meets with Congressman Johnson to discuss workforce problems

Published: Dec. 21, 2021 at 3:08 PM CST
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SPEARFISH, S.D. (KOTA) - The workforce problem doesn’t have just one solution.

“Spearfish has a real workforce problem and, of course, that’s true for most of South Dakota, but it’s even more acute here in Spearfish,” said Congressman Dusty Johnson.

To combat the problem, the Spearfish Economic Development Corporation met with Johnson to talk about some solutions.

“I just loved hearing from these organizations about the actual things they’re doing. Everybody loves to complain about problems. Talking to a group that had some solutions, that was very rewarding,” said Johnson.

Earlier this year, the school district approved the construction of a CTE academy as a way to approach the skills gap in the town with dual credit opportunities, build trade jobs, automotive or medical science careers just to name a few.

“It’s about career exploration and kids finding their niche and so on, but it’s also about being knowledgeable consumers. Everybody is going to have to own a house at some point, everybody is going to have to go see a doctor or a nurse at some point, everybody is going to own an automobile at some point,” said Superintendent of the Spearfish School District, David Peters.

Another gap to close? “We need affordable, realistically priced housing for our mid-income workers.”

People looking for work in Spearfish more than likely can’t afford to live there.

The town partnered with Dream Design to create a new housing development priced at 3 levels.

“What we are looking at is the first level house is just under 200, the second is just under 250 and the third level of house in this development maxes out at the first-time home buyers which is around 300 right now,” said Spearfish Mayor, Dana Boke.

180 homes are slated to be built with 300 people already on the list to qualify.

Other issues included public transportation and child care.

“We have a 12-page list of individuals who need childcare. The same thing when we get to affordable housing.”

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