Posts

Benefits Survey

West Central MN SHRM Wage & Benefits Survey

A Comprehensive Wage & Benefits Survey of Compensation, Company Benefits and Policies
for the West Central Minnesota Area.

Are you a business located within the counties of Becker, Clay, Douglas, Grant, Otter Tail, Pope, Stevens Traverse & Wilkin? Do you wonder if your business is competitive in the wages and benefits that you offer your employees? Would you like to receive local data on wages and benefits offered by employers in our area?

If so, we encourage your company to participate in the 2017 West Central MN Wage & Benefit Survey. This opportunity is provided by the West Central MN chapter of the Society for Human Resource Management and Alexandria Area Economic Development Commission. This is an excellent opportunity for businesses to receive information on wages and benefits of companies and organizations in west central Minnesota.

Area businesses of any industry and size can participate in the 2017 West Central MN Wage & Benefit Survey, open June 1- June 30, 2017. All survey results will be compiled by the AAEDC and all company information will be kept strictly confidential. Final survey results will be based upon aggregate data compilations to protect individual company information. There is no cost to participate in the survey, but final data will only be provided to participating employers.

All data will be held in the strictest confidence by the AAEDC, compiled and released in aggregate form with minimum job data being required to protect individual company information.

Alexandria Area High School, Future Workforce

Endless Opportunities to Engage with Our Future Workforce

The Academies of Alexandria are continuously looking for volunteers to partner and interact with our future workforce within the four academies; Business, Communication & Entrepreneurship (BCE), Health Sciences & Human Services (HSHS), Engineering, Manufacturing, Technologies & Natural Resources (EMTNR) and Freshman Academy. The latest program seeking partnerships is CAPS (Center for Advanced Professional Studies). What is CAPS? Alexandria CAPS is an innovative program at the high school that focuses on immersing students in authentic career experiences.

CAPS is designed to help students increase professional skills needed for working in the real world, whether college is next or stepping directly into the workforce. These skills are developed through hands-on, project based experiences while working in a professional setting. With the help of the community, these unique experiences are possible.

Each academy is hosting a CAPS Showcase to learn about the positive impact of partnering with a CAPS class, as well as hearing from past students and business partners talk about their experience with the new program. Learn how you can get involved. These dedicated partnerships build a pipeline for future workforce in the area.

Livability

Livability and Growth

In 1990, the Commission was created to provide economic growth and stability by supporting existing businesses, or by attracting new industry, while ensuring the protection of our natural resources and quality of life.  Twenty-six years later, our organization continues to forge ahead, doing more with less and meeting the demands of our communities and businesses, all while staying focused on and achieving our mission.

Through our work in 2016, $17,000,000 was devoted to our community. Those are local dollars being invested into the place where we work and raise our families. A community that continues to grow and is consistently ranked as a premiere place to live.

And although economic development has traditionally been viewed as job creation, we also must focus on the livability of our community. Without being a desirable place to live, we will not have the workforce pipeline needed to enable our companies to grow. The workforce shortage is not unique to our area, but it is central to our approach of economic development. Focusing on long-term workforce efforts for our industry clusters is key to economic prosperity in a community.

We are extremely proud of our accomplishments over the past year, and we look forward to continuing our work; partnering with businesses throughout the region in creating and retaining jobs and investments in our communities in 2017.  Our success represents the work of many people throughout our area.  The interest, participation and support from our business leaders and elected official were essential to the success of this organization.

Looking to start or expand your business? Click HERE for more information

Know someone looking at relocating to the area? Click HERE for more information

 

Honoring Carlos Creek Winery

The Alexandria Area Economic Development Commission and the Alexandria Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce had the pleasure of honoring Carlos Creek Winery as the 2016 Business and Industrial Appreciation Day recipient. As we’re wrapping up this year’s event we can’t help but feel pride at having our third highest attendance with 390 community members showing their congratulations and support for Carlos Creek Winery. It really shows how much Carlos Creek Winery is involved in the community and what an excellent job they have done with helping everyone fall in love with their winery.

Since 1984, an outstanding Alexandria area business or organization has been selected as the BIAD recipient and has been honored for their significant contribution to the social and economic vitality of the Douglas County region through creation of jobs, business investment, and community development efforts and Carlos Creek Winery is no exception. This celebration has been recognized as one of the largest and longest standing annual events of its type in greater Minnesota with attendance from regional citizens, business persons, and government officials from the area. We can’t begin to express our appreciation for all that Carlos Creek Winery does for our community…but we do want to say thank you…and we are so glad you are a part of what makes our area a great place to live and work.

Also, we wanted to say thank you to all of the wonderful people and businesses that helped and contributed to this year’s event…without all of you we wouldn’t be able to honor such a deserving business every year!

If you weren’t able to make it to this year’s BIAD, please make sure to check out this wonderful video about this year’s honoree, Carlos Creek Winery:

instagram, facebook, social media

Leaving a Positive Impression

What is community marketing? It seems like an easy question to answer.  We get marketing messages every day, and yet, when you stop to think about marketing your community, it can be hard to define and move forward with a strategic plan.  Some people may associate marketing with some sort of in your face promotional effort – which it can be, but doesn’t have to be.  More may believe that marketing is a matter of having a name that is well-known – which is a part of the story, but not all of it.

When we think about how we’re living in the Alexandria area, it’s easy to see that we live, shop and work in a great area. We have numerous locally-started companies that employ thousands of our residents. We have new curriculum at our high school that gives students a more personalized school day for their future college and/or workforce needs. We also have the Alexandria Technical & Community College that offers a number of programs with career placement that is among the highest of all Minnesota public two-year colleges.

As an economic development organization, we get to market the community and all it has to offer to a wide variety of audiences –executives with site selection responsibilities, location advisors, skilled workers seeking a career, and the news media to name a few. And while it is important to send our area’s message to these sources, we also see the need to market the Alexandria area to other audiences. Not only do we want to attract growing companies that will invest in our community, but we also want talented workers to relocate and fill open positions in our region.

We also rely on the community to be our message. The local business community comes into frequent contact with the outside world via business colleagues, friends, and relatives. If you have positive views on our hometown and its progress, you will undoubtedly reflect this with the outside world. In today’s world, there is nothing more powerful and credible than “word of mouth.”

It is important that we as a community have a clear and consistent message that communicates our distinctiveness as a regional center. Defining what makes our community really different is the first step to success in community growth. Places leave a lasting impression on people – let’s be sure to leave a positive one.

Understanding Tax Increment Financing (TIF)

Tax Increment Financing is an economic development, redevelopment, and housing development tool that was authorized by the State of Minnesota in 1979 for cities, counties and other local authorities to use to offset certain development and redevelopment costs.  For local units of government to implement TIF for certain projects, the unit must find that it serves a public purpose, which includes removal of blighted areas, addition of low-to-moderate income housing, wage and employment opportunities, and bolstering the local tax base.  As part of the public purpose, the local unit of government must include a statement of finding related to a “but-for” test.  The “but-for” test simply means that if not for this assistance, this project would not be undertaken by the developer.

When implemented for a project, Tax Increment Financing will capture the increase in taxes for the new project as the incentive for the development.  The tax difference (also known as the increment) is returned to the developer as an incentive to do the project.  Local governments do not lose any current revenues when utilizing TIF. The local unit of government simply foregoes new taxes for a temporary period of time to assist a project that would not have happened otherwise.  Often times, we narrowly discuss future property taxes as the only benefit of new projects.  We must include a broader view of benefits of the project.  For instance, new projects generally provide new job opportunities, extend public infrastructure, and remove substandard property conditions.

Every year cities and counties are required to report their TIF activities to the Minnesota Office of State Auditor (OSA) for monitoring, compliance, and data collection.  According to the League of Minnesota Cities from information compiled in 2014, it is estimated that 4% of Minnesota’s total tax capacity is captured in TIF Districts.  In comparison, roughly 6% of the City of Alexandria tax capacity is captured in TIF districts, slightly higher than the state average.  The captured tax capacity measurement is one of the more common statistics used to hold local units accountable for the application and use of TIF for development projects.

Through our assistance, our elected officials have relied upon and challenged the AAEDC to uphold that all TIF projects meet the public purpose and requirements for the respective district.  However, our elected officials have the most difficult policy decision, making sure that the TIF incentive is in the best interest of our communities and our county.

Customer Service

FAN (Freshman Academy Network) Coaches – Get Connected

The Alexandria Area High School (AAHS) is seeking FAN Coaches for the upcoming school year, which is less than a month away, craziness! What is a FAN Coach? The mission of the FAN Coach program is to connect community leaders with 9th-grade students in the efforts to reinforce skill development and a commitment to education. As a FAN Coach, you encourage positive life choices that enable them to maximize their personal potential. Take the opportunity to build a connection with students, they are the pipeline for future workforce. Each coach is paired with a small group of freshman that they will meet with throughout the semester. What kind of time commitment are we asking? In the last week of August, you will participate in a training that will get you prepared for your small group. Then two meetings each month throughout September to December for one hour each. Sign up with Abby Strom at the AAEDC astrom@alexmn.org or Claire Anderson, AAHS Academy Coach caanderson@alexandria.k12.mn.us Start connecting today.

Events

Starting a Small Business

Entrepreneur or Freelancer

So you have been working as an independent contractor or freelancer. Maybe you have been working side jobs as a photographer, graphic designer, copywriter, or fitness instructor. You give all or much of your free time toward your passion. Thoughts of making it your full time career have crossed your mind. Is it time to take that leap? Are you ready to go into business for yourself?

Shannon will explore the pros and cons of going into business for yourself versus continuing or expanding a freelancing practice. Many times people feel that they could simply start a business. However, they don’t always consider the time and money that comes with being an entrepreneur. I will discuss the reasons 95% of startups fail and how to know when you are in the other 5%.

Date: Tuesday, October 31, 2017
Time: 11:45 am to 1:00 pm
Location: ATCC Room 209
Presenter: Shannon Berns – MBA
Fee: $15 per person (Includes box lunch)

Shannon Berns, MBA
Shannon is an outdoor enthusiast who finds adventure in everything she does. She works directly with businesses and entrepreneurs to navigate their organization toward growth. Shannon believes in the importance of supporting and engaging a collaborative environment for our business community. In your backyard or across the globe.

Business & Industrial Appreciation Day | Anderson Funeral Home

Anderson Funeral Home has been selected as the recipient of the 2017 Business & Industrial Appreciation Day award by the Boards of Directors of the Alexandria Area Economic Development Commission and Alexandria Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce.

The Business & Industrial Appreciation Day (BIAD) event has honored a Douglas County company each year since 1984, and is recognized as one of the largest and longest standing annual events of its type in greater Minnesota. Annually, one company from the region is selected as the BIAD recipient based upon the following factors:

  • Growth in number of employees; the impact of the business on the job market
  • Increase in sales and/or unit volume; an indication of continued growth
  • Capital Investment; an indication of commitment by the business to increase community capacity
  • Community Contributions; evidence of the business’s investment of time, skills, and resources to assist in community oriented projects

This event will be a celebration of the success, growth, and impact of Anderson Funeral Home not only in our local area but statewide as well. The luncheon is an opportunity to spotlight the organization with a company video and the presentation of formal resolutions of congratulations by local leaders.