unboxed marketing

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recession becomes real

Posted by Steve Buchholz on March 13, 2009

The Black Hills Regional Job Fair is always a great event for us at

meeting folks directly affected by the recession makes our economic troubles real

meeting folks directly affected by the recession makes our economic troubles real

Western Dakota Tech. In a typical year, we collect a good number of leads and one or two applications.

We knew going into this year that the fair would be bigger than usual. Several large employers in Rapid City have announced closures and layoffs in recent weeks, and our unemployment rate has jumped to 5.1 percent. Those tragedies have driven hundreds of people into a shrinking market.

Those folks searched the job fair for openings that fit their skills and experience, applying for the available jobs. Our admissions staff talked with dozens of people, many with heartbreaking stories. You could see–feel almost–the despair of these folks who have been dumped after 25 or 30 years at the same job. Dropped back into the job market, they realize they need new skills to compete.

That means WDT’s enrollment will likely increase this year. That’s great, but I’d rather see it happen for some other reason.

There is a marketing lesson here for all of us. When the number of available jobs tightens, an employer’s market is created. Companies can pick the most talented, best skilled workers because so many people are looking for work.

That means we all need to constantly upgrade our skills. We need to stay on top of our areas of expertise. We need to earn the degrees or credentials required for tomorrow’s jobs. We also need to realize that no one is safe in an economy like the one we are experience now. Any of us can lose our jobs at any time. Preparing for that possibility is the best way to prevent it.


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