While many states in the U.S. have been grappling with high unemployment rates, South Dakota has a somewhat unique quandary: more jobs than its current labor force can handle. Enter South Dakota Wins, a statewide workforce development initiative. The program, a collaborative effort between government, education, and business leaders, seeks to “develop and attract a stronger, more educated workforce” in order to compete in the global economy.

South Dakota’s shortage of qualified workers to fill vacant jobs in the state has been a growing trend, according to Kim Olson, a Policy Advisor for South Dakota Governor Dennis Duagaard. “It faded a little with the economic slump in 2008, but has now grown again to be an immediate concern.”

Citing South Dakota Department of Labor and Regulation statistics, Olson says the industries in greatest need of qualified workers include Engineering, Financial Services, Information Technology, and Manufacturing.

South Dakota Wins is a multi-faceted initiative designed to expand the state’s workforce from within by providing enhanced training and educational programs, as well as to attract qualified workers from other states.