State Departments Partner to Recruit Tourism Workers 

State Departments Partner to Recruit Tourism Workers

PIERRE, SD – Today, Governor Kristi Noem announced the details of a new partnership between the South Dakota Departments of Tourism and Labor & Regulation (DLR) to recruit qualified candidates to fill employment vacancies within the state’s tourism industry.

“The success of our tourism industry is a major factor in South Dakota’s economic health,” said Governor Kristi Noem. “South Dakota’s economic success has led to the lowest unemployment rate in America. While that is excellent news, we have more job openings than workers to fill them – especially in travel and tourism. This campaign will recruit more workers to our state to support tourism, our second largest industry.”

Tourism industry businesses are encouraged to post their job openings on SDWORKS, the state’s largest jobs database, which is run by DLR. SDWORKS utilizes the latest technology to match job seekers to employment opportunities. The more information provided by employers, the smarter the match. The database consistently has more than 23,000 job openings. Job openings in the tourism and hospitality industry can be found here.

Governor Noem initially announced the tourism workforce recruitment campaign at a press conference at Mount Rushmore on May 3 to kick off National Travel & Tourism Week.

In 2020, a total of 49,500 jobs were supported by the tourism industry, representing one out of 12 jobs in South Dakota. Those jobs include full-time, part-time, and seasonal jobs. Tourism generated $1.6 billion in income for tourism workers in 2020.

“Our partnership with DLR is a great first step in addressing shortage in the hospitality workforce,” said James Hagen, Secretary of the Department of Tourism. “We’re supporting South Dakota’s tourism businesses by matching them with quality individuals so they can focus on what they do best: taking care of visitors to our state.”

“With the leadership of Governor Noem and her passion for finding solutions to real issues in South Dakota, we’ll continue to address workforce opportunities across our state,” said Marcia Hultman, Secretary of the Department of Labor & Regulation. “We’re focused on solutions that will set the state’s jobs market up for success, not just in 2021, but also for 5 to 10 years down the road.”

South Dakota expects an increased amount of visitation to the state in 2021 due to a pent-up demand for travel, the state remaining Open for Business, the return of the great American road trip, and the state’s ability to deliver a unique product that travelers are looking for in a vacation.


Argus Leader asking for news tips. They could always go out and hire some reporters.

After announcing that the Gannett system of newspapers (parent company to the state’s largest daily, the Argus Leader) has gobbled up two more of the state’s daily newspapers – the Watertown Public Opinion and the Aberdeen American News – the Argus recently put out a plea for the public to feed them information.

No other news organization in South Dakota has our level of reach, or the ability to let government officials know we’re paying attention, and we’re not afraid to raise the difficult questions taxpayers are asking.

That’s why we’re launching a new reader-driven initiative: 100 Eyes on South Dakota, based in our namesake and the philosophy of the 100-eyed Greek giant, the Argus – keeping watch from all directions.

Humble enough to own any mistake, we can’t look into every problem. But we can be direct about our efforts to hold public officials accountable and speak truth to power, with your help.

Read that here.

(You know a news organization is humble when they have a reporter put it in writing.)

So, the Argus Leader has gotten bigger and parent company Gannett owns over 25% of the daily newspapers in the state.  Of the 11 daily newspapers in South Dakota, they control 3, including the one with the largest circulation by far.

This comes after one of reporter purges in the last few years where yet again a few more reporters were sent away via downsizing, buyouts, and early retirement, and now this news organization – boasting about the new and increased level of reach and the amount of influence they have to drive public policy – is begging to be fed news stories? (Which they aren’t paying anyone for.)

If the Argus is that concerned about the extent of their reach, and letting government officials know they’re paying attention, I might offer a suggestion.

Instead of putting out editorials begging for news stories for free, they could always go out and hire some reporters.

Just a thought.

US Senator John Thune’s Weekly Column: A Season of Celebration and Hope for the Future

A Season of Celebration and Hope for the Future
By Sen. John Thune

Spring in South Dakota may be one of my favorite seasons. While South Dakotans understand the unpredictability of our spring weather, the month of May always brings back great memories. It makes me think back to watching my daughters Brittany and Larissa compete at the Howard Wood Relays and state track meets – events that continue to be on my “can’t miss list” each year – celebrating my wife, Kimberley, and daughters every Mother’s Day, and attending high school and college graduations, a symbol of change and growth.

There’s no doubt this past year has been tough, especially for students, teachers, and administrators who faced unique challenges. My parents were both educators. My mother was our school librarian, and my father was a teacher, coach, athletic director, and drove the school bus. Growing up, I saw firsthand the long hours and dedication they gave to their students. Because of this, I have an immense appreciation for our educators. I am extra appreciative in a year where, despite the adversities faced, South Dakota’s teachers and educators rose to the occasion and did everything they could to ensure students continued to get the quality education they deserve. It certainly wasn’t easy, but our schools not only managed these challenges, they exceeded expectations. I couldn’t be more proud.

I know our students have also felt the challenges of the past year and a half. It could not have been easy to see traditions slip by uncelebrated while schools took necessary health precautions. I’m glad to see that the most cherished tradition of all – graduation – is happening this year across our state.

Whenever I speak to young South Dakotans, whether at graduations, sporting events, or in the U.S. Capitol, I often encourage them to live a life of purpose and be difference-makers. Growing up in the small town of Murdo, I could have never expected that I would one day represent South Dakota in the U.S. Senate. But I was blessed to have doors open in my life and am grateful to have had parents and mentors who encouraged me to push them open to see what was on the other side. I’ll give the same advice to the class of 2021: If an opportunity comes along, don’t be afraid to go for it. You never know where it might lead you.

The second thing I always tell young South Dakotans is to pursue excellence. I don’t mean to tell them that they have be the best player on their basketball team, get straight As in their classes, or get into their dream college. Of course, it’s wonderful to achieve excellence, but what I encourage is that they pursue excellence – pursue excellence by trying that sport or talent that is difficult, pursue excellence by taking that course that might challenge them, pursue excellence by being kind to all the people in their lives – in person and online. Do your best every day. Don’t do a job half way. Don’t just go through the motions. Commit to whatever you are doing.

When thinking back to this time last year, graduations in many towns looked different. Virtual learning had temporarily replaced in-classroom learning, and adjustments were made to the typical graduation formats. What a difference a year can make. With the rollout of the vaccine and increased knowledge of COVID-19, ceremonies throughout the state will look much closer to normal. Graduates have proven their ability to overcome the adversity of the last year and will be able to celebrate their accomplishments with family and friends safely. I’m hopeful for the future of the graduates of 2021. I know they will do great things.


Governor Kristi Noem’s Weekly Column: Strengthening South Dakota’s Workforce

Strengthening South Dakota’s Workforce
By: Governor Kristi Noem
May 7, 2021

South Dakota’s jobs market is booming. Our unemployment rate is the lowest in America. Businesses are moving to our state in large numbers. But we’re always looking for ways to continue to the state’s workforce. We want businesses to be able to hire the right talent to fill the openings that they have available. Both through targeted recruitment campaigns and investments in higher education, South Dakota is working to capitalize on our strong economic position and set our state up for even more success far into the future.

I recently announced a partnership between the Department of Tourism and the Department of Labor and Regulation to match tourism businesses with potential employees. Tourism is our state’s second largest industry, but the seasonal nature of some tourism jobs can make hiring difficult. The success of this industry is a major factor in South Dakota’s economic health going forward. By matching tourism businesses with quality individuals, we can allow them to focus on taking care of visitors to our beautiful state.

Similarly, we’re working to relaunch our law enforcement recruitment campaign.Over the past year, law enforcement has been attacked and demeaned in other communities across the country, so we’re letting them know that we’d love to have them in South Dakota. We respect law enforcement officers for everything that they do to keep our state safe. This campaign had tremendous success when we first launched it last year, so we will continue to build off of that.

Our efforts to strengthen South Dakota’s workforce go far beyond recruitment. Some of the most important workforce training happens in higher education. And this year, I worked with the legislature and industry partners to make targeted investments in the future of higher education in our state. For instance, we paid down debt at our technical colleges, freeing up money that can be reinvested into preparing our students for their career after graduation.

We made a historic investment in the South Dakota Freedom Scholarship, which will help set low-income South Dakota students up for a lifetime of success. With the scholarship’s requirement that students live and work in our state for three years after graduation, it will help bolster the state’s workforce as well. The legislature funded $50 million to help create an endowment for this scholarship. Industry and community partners have stepped up to the tune of $125 million as well, which gets the endowment near its goal of $200 million.

We also reinvested in the Build Dakota Scholarship, which matches students at our tech colleges with high-demand career opportunities. Together with industry partners, we’ll put $40 million into this scholarship over the next five years. This scholarship has the same requirements that students live and work in South Dakota for three years after graduation as well.

South Dakota’s economy may be strong, but there are opportunities to continue to grow our workforce. I hope to see apprenticeship programs continue to grow and develop. And there is still a gap to close to fully fund the Freedom Scholarship endowment. I promise to continue addressing workforce needs across the state.

South Dakota has the strongest economy in America, but now is not the time to settle. We have a tremendous opportunity to propel South Dakota forward into the future. Let’s work together to get it done.


State Rep Goodwin declares intent to shut down Job Service offices next session

This item just popped up from State Representative Tim Goodwin. Due to seeing a large number of help wanted signs, in his latest legislative column Goodwin indicates that he intends to bring measures to shutter the job service offices, and to end unemployment benefits during the next legislative session:

For the life of me, I can’t understand why there are unemployment offices when there are Help Wanted signs everywhere. We should close our unemployment offices. Chalk it up as a success of the times; thank the bureaucrats who have worked there. Give them dibs on any other state jobs that open up and actually decrease government!! Now that’s a novel idea. Wait a second. If the workers (I know I shouldn’t call them bureaucrats) who run the unemployment office can’t find a job, and that’s what they’ve been doing, what their entire existence has been (placing job candidates into jobs), well then there is not much hope for them, is there?

Seriously, let’s shut down our unemployment offices, as they are no longer needed, and while we are at it, let’s eliminate state unemployment, government unemployment benefits i.e. checks. Now we are getting someplace. If no one in our great state gets unemployment payments, I guess that would be incentive enough to go to work.

Sounds simple and it is. I repeat let’s shut down all unemployment offices in our state and stop all unemployment payments to those who are milking the system, thus forcing them to work or go hungry. Man! Tim, that’s kind of harsh, isn’t it? Yep. We live in harsh times. When just about every business is pleading for workers and have Help Wanted shingles posted, it is time to pull the trigger. No, this isn’t hyperbole. I’m serious! I’m prepared to introduce two bills this next Legislative Session: bill #1 eliminating the unemployment agency. I believe the official bureaucratic name is Job Service. Bill #2 eliminate all state unemployment checks.

Read the entire column here.

I don’t think “eliminating job service” is as easy as Representative Goodwin thinks.

In addition to the able bodied run of the mill person on the street,  I’m pretty sure Job Service is connected to helping veterans find jobs as they return to civilian life, as well as vocational rehab, and helping people navigate services including connecting people with jobs they might otherwise not be aware of.

Really..How many graphic design firms, or computer data centers post a “help wanted” sign in their window?  Is someone supposed to drive by every dairy farm in the state if they are looking for that kind of work?  Yes, everyone wants efficiencies, and we see help wanted signs posted around town.

So why would anyone want legislation to eliminate one of the state’s primary places where job seekers and employers come together?

Congressman Dusty Johnson’s Weekly Column: Dedicated to Service

Dedicated to Service
By Rep. Dusty Johnson
May 7, 2021

Each year congressional offices across the country interview potential candidates for our nation’s military and service academies.

It’s one of the best parts of my job. South Dakota is home to some of the best and brightest students, many of them hoping they’ll go on to serve our country at one of our nation’s esteemed military institutions.

By the age of eighteen, many of these students have dedicated more time serving their communities than most adults. Mitchell Walker who will be attending West Point started his own business in middle school, moving lawns and taking care of neighborhood pets, all while running varsity track, playing varsity football, and serving in JROTC. Grace Blote who will be attending the Naval Academy volunteers at a local medical clinic, Health Concepts, in Rapid City.

The process to apply and be accepted to any one of the five academies is rigorous – four of the five academies require a congressional nomination – just to apply. When my office asked Garrett Gallaher why he wanted to attend a service academy, he said, “my decision to attend the Air Force Academy stems from my goal of becoming a pilot in the Air Force, a strong first step toward my goal of becoming a NASA astronaut after my military career. The U.S. Air Force Academy will present challenges that I have not encountered before, but I look forward to the camaraderie I will form with my fellow cadets in tackling these challenges together.”

These students are exceptional and their willingness to dedicate their lives to defending America’s freedom is honorable. If you see Mitchell Walker, Adelaide Crow, Robert O’Brien, Grace Blote, Camden Johnson, Lauren Letner, Caden Tegethoff, or Garrett Gallaher around town, be sure to commend them on their appointment.

Rapid City native Lauren Letner said it best: “I have always wanted a job that makes a difference in people’s lives, to do meaningful work.” I’m confident students like Lauren will continue to make a difference in the lives of many. These students will all represent our state well at their respective institutions – and as they prepare for their new journey outside of South Dakota – we’ll be waiting to welcome them back home!


Thune favored to be next Republican Senate Leader

Washington DC based Punchbowl News, covering the decision makers at the US Capitol, has done some surveying of who might end up in charge when Mitch McConnell departs.

And currently favored appears to be South Dakota’s senior US Senator, John Thune:

Who will be the next Senate Republican leader? Just a little background here: There’s a lot of chatter about who will be the next Senate GOP leader: Sens. John Thune (S.D.), John Cornyn (Texas) or John Barrasso (Wyo.).

The Canvass shows that Thune is the slight favorite — 41% say he’ll be the next leader. 37% say Cornyn will be the next leader, and just 8% say it will be Barrasso. This was only asked of Republicans.

You can subscribe to the Punchbowl News here.


Despite liberal tears, Joint Resolutions NOT subject to referral in South Dakota, per Supreme Court

Remember this blaring headline a couple weeks back from the liberals declaring that a legislative joint resolution was subject to referendum:

Instead of pretend experts, people who went to law school and know a thing or two weighed in today on the topic. And they unanimously disagreed:

The South Dakota Supreme Court ruled Thursday that Dakotans for Health cannot refer House Joint Resolution 5003 for a vote of the people because it is not a law. South Dakotans have the ability to refer laws passed by the Legislature to a vote, but the resolution doesn’t qualify, the court ruled.

“HJR 5003 is not a law enacted by the Legislature,” wrote Chief Justice Steven Jensen. “It does not contain an enacting clause and was not submitted to the governor for signature or veto.”


HJR 5003 is a proposed constitutional amendment that will go to voters during the primary election in June. If voters approve the measure, it would require that any future initiated measure or constitutional amendment that obligates the state to spend $10 million or more within five years require approval by three-fifths of all voters.

Read that all here.

Looks like we’re going to be voting on a constitutional amendment in the next primary, as affirmed by the State Supreme Court.