KnowBeforeYouGo_SCWC-4CThrough our “Know Before You Go” campaign our goal is to provide easy to read labor market information to educate students and job seekers to make informed decisions about the variety of career options in Southwest Minnesota. Keep in mind that you have local experts ready to assist you by providing industry information, presentations around the topics of career readiness and preparation, job search and career advisory services.

 Today’s labor market is very different than it was 20+ years ago when many of our parents and teachers were making decisions about their career.  Please share these infographics with your students, parents, teachers, etc., so that students can make informed decisions regarding their future.

The type of position you go to school for is a vital factor in determining your future wages. For example, students who graduated from a Minnesota college in 2010/11 with an Associate Degree in Construction Trades is making a median full-time wage of $50,831 compared to a graduate with a Bachelor Degree in Liberal Arts and Sciences; General Studies and Humanities who is making $38,930

Wages by Education Level

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Major Matters

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When deciding on a career, consider the cost of education as it compares to projected earnings. Higher education often brings significant benefits, such as increased earnings and job opportunities, along with newly minted skills and knowledge. However, the price for this expanded horizon has become increasingly more costly.


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An Associate’s degree (2 years) at a state college will cost roughly $36,670, and a Bachelor’s degree with four years attending a state university will cost roughly $82,932.  These rough estimates do not factor in annual changes in tuition or other expenses.


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Jobs in demand in Southwest Minnesota

jobs in demand in swsc minnesota 2017Upper-MN-Valley jobs in demand



Career Pathways in agriculture

Agricultural Regional Labor Market Overview


Ag Career Pathways Flyer


Ag Career Comparison SWSC


Ag Career Comparison SCWC Spanish


Ag Career Pathways Flyer Spanish


Agriculture regional labor market information profile

Women held 23% of jobs in the agriculture, fishing, forestry industry in 2017. For farms, women were the primary operator for 8.5% of twheatgraphiche farms in Minnesota. Agriculture comprised more than 20 percent of total jobs added in the region over the past decade. Nearly half of the agriculture vacancies are at employers in Southern Minnesota. Well over one-third of this agriculture employment is located in Southern Minnesota. According to the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW) data.


Southern Minnesota provides about 15 percent of total jobs in the state, but over 39 percent of the state’s jobs in agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting. In addition, there is also a large number of vacancies and a higher level of demand were also emerging for agriculture-related occupations such as truck mechanics and diesel engine specialists; heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers; and agricultural, biological, chemical, and environmental technicians and engineers.



 Healthcare Careers Regional Overview

Healthcare Care Careers in SWSC MN in Healthcare Profile of Labor Market Informationhealthcare careers profile for healthcare careers in swsc page 2


Healthcare Career-Pathways Flyer

Healthcare Career Pathway Flyer Spanish


RN-LPN Health Career Comparison SWSC

Registered Nurse – LabTech Career Comparison SWSC


RN-LPN Health Career Comparison SWSC Spanish


RN- LabTech Career Comparison Spanish


healthcare regional labor market information

Despite economic fluctuations in the region across other industries, health care and social assistance providers in Southwest Minnesota have continually added jobs over the past 17 years.

The Health Care and Social Assistance industry is female-dominated, with women holding 81% of jobs in Southwest Minnesota. However, the number of jobs held by men increased 19% over the past 10 years. There are several Non-Traditional Healthcare Careers for men, including CNA’s, LPN’s, RN’s, and NP’s. A Non-Traditional Healthcare Career for women are Chiropractors, whose median annual wage is $56,368.

The job growth is expected to be largest and fastest in home health care services, which may grow nearly 50 percent, or 719 additional jobs. Job growth at nursing and residential care facilities is expected to be split between community care and assisted living facilities for the elderly, which may gain almost 450 jobs, and residential mental health facilities, which could add about 650 new jobs. In contrast, the region is expected to lose jobs at nursing care facilities and other residential care facilities. Hospitals are projected to see about 2 percent growth, adding just 179 jobs from 2014 to 2024, primarily at privately-owned hospitals, compared to losses at government-owned hospitals.

Because of the steady growth in health care and social assistance, many health care-related occupations exist at every education level and are in high demand according to DEED’s Occupations in Demand too. Although the highest paying occupations tend to have the highest educational every education level and are in high demand according to DEED’s Occupations in Demand too. Although the highest paying occupations tend to have the highest educational requirements, there are exceptions to the rule. According to DEED’s Educational Requirements for Occupations data, Healthcare social workers require a master’s degree, but are earning $21.42 per hour at the median in Southwest Minnesota; while radiologic technologists require just an associate’s degree but pay above $28 an hour at the median.

According to DEED’s 2014 to 2024 Employment Outlook data, the Southwest Minnesota health care and social assistance sector is projected to gain another 3,100 jobs over the next decade, a 10.4 percent increase. That is much faster than the projected growth rate in the region, which is expected to grow just 1.0 percent across all industries. In fact, the projected job growth in health care is expected to exceed the total job growth in the region.


career pathways in information technology

Information Technology Regional Overview 


Information Technology Careers within Other Industries

Information Technology Career-Pathways Flyer

Information Technology Career Comparison SWSC

Information Technology Career-Comparison SCWC Spanish

Information Technology Career-Pathways Flyer Spanish


Information Technology regional labor market information profile

The Information Technology (IT) field includes a number of occupations, ranging from computer programmers to database administrators to computer support specialists to web developers. The 23-county Southwest Minnesota region was home to around 2,000 workers in information technology occupations. The median hourly wage for computer and mathematical occupations was $28.04, which was nearly $9.00 per hour higher than the total of all occupations. About three-quarters of the IT job vacancies required postsecondary education and over 80 percent required at least a year of prior work experience – with wage offers closely tied to experience and training requirements.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, IT workers are employed in a wide variety of industries, ranging from expected industries like software publishers and computer systems design and related services, but also including traditional industries like management of companies, public administration, educational services, finance and insurance.


Career Pathways in Manufacturing

  Manufacturing Careers Regional Overview 

ManufacturingCareersOverviewFlyerManufacturingCareersOverviewFlyer page 2

Manufacturing Career-Pathways Flyer


CNC-Welder Career-Comparison SWSC

Engineer-Tech Career-Comparison SWSC


Manufacturing Career-Pathways Flyer Spanish


CNC-Welder Career Comparison SCWC Spanish

Engineer-Tech Career Comparison SCWC Spanish

Manufacturing regional sw/sc labor market information

There are numerous non-traditional manufacturing occupations for women, including maintenance and repair workers, machinists, industrial machinery mechanics, CNC machine operators and mechanical engineers. Manufacturing is the largest industry in the region. One (1) in five (5) jobs are at manufacturers in Southwest & South Central Minnesota.

Team assemblers, first-line supervisors, machinists, and more are the most common jobs found and in-demand manufacturing fi­rms in Minnesota, according to DEED’s Occupational Staffing Matrix data. In addition to production occupations, manufacturers also require the services of workers in several other occupational groups, such as office and administrative support, sales, information technology, transportation and material moving, architecture and engineering, management, and installation, maintenance and repair. Production-related manufacturing occupations can be gained with a high school diploma and learned through on-the-job training for entrance into the industry. Higher wages and career advancement require experience to gain more valuable skills, or education beyond a high-school diploma.



Career Pathways in transportation

Transportation Regional Labor Market Information

transportation regional labor market informationransportationprofileDRAFT_Page_2

Transportation Career Pathways Flyer 

transportation pathways in swsc mntransportation career pathways in swsc minnesota page 2

Driver Mechanic Career Comparison


Driver Mechanic Career Comparison SCWC Spanish

Transportation Career Pathways Flyer Spanish


transportation regional labor market information profile

Transptransportation among other industries in swmnortation and warehousing is the second fastest growing industry in south central and southwest Minnesota, adding almost 1,000 jobs in the last decade (2007-2017). Increasing demand for workers and large numbers of openings has driven median wages higher than typical in the region, to $17.72 per hour in 2017. The growing share of jobs held by women represent an increase of 28% from 2003 to 2017. The transportation industry has a bright outlook in south central and southwest Minnesota, with a projected growth rate of 11.8%, nearly half of all new jobs in southwest and south central Minnesota are projected to be in the transportation industry.