Two events related to the Detroit Lakes area’s workforce and economy are coming up in the first week of May: First is an Outdoor Job Fair at the M State parking lot on Thursday, May 6, and then is the Detroit Lakes Regional Chamber of Commerce’s 2021 Economic Development Summit, at the Holmes Theatre on Friday, May 7. Both are open to the public.

Outdoor Job Fair

After being canceled last year because of COVID-19 crowd restrictions, Detroit Lakes’ annual job fair is back, with a new pandemic-friendly outdoor location at M State’s east parking lot.

Organized by the Rural Minnesota CEP (Concentrated Employment Program) and CareerForce, with help from the Detroit Lakes Chamber, the job fair will feature an estimated 30 to 50 area employers representing a wide range of industries, from manufacturing to construction to health care and beyond.

Carrie Johnston, president of the Detroit Lakes Chamber, said these employers will be seeking workers of all experience levels to fill an array of open positions, from entry level on up to professional career positions. Full-time workers are needed, as are part-time and seasonal summer employees.

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(File Photo)
(File Photo)

Employers will have displays set up outside M State with signs, brochures and other information about their companies and their job offerings. There will also be a couple of food trucks and The Ice Cream Truck on site, selling food and beverages.

“It could be kind of a party,” said Kelley Nowell, of the Rural Minnesota CEP. “Jeff Leighton is going to bring his boom box, and there could be other things, too. Employers can get creative in how they present themselves, versus an indoor event... I based it off of trunk-or-treat -- employers can bring their SUV or truck or trailer and put any equipment on there that they want. It’s a freer environment for them to advertise themselves, and yet it’s still an opportunity for job seekers to walk and talk and visit with the employers directly.”

Job seekers are encouraged to bring their resumes along and be ready to interview on site. The Rural Minnesota CEP/CareerForce office in Detroit Lakes offers free interview coaching, resumé and cover letter writing assistance, and other services to anyone who needs or wants them.

“I think the more prepared they are, the better it is for them when they’re job seeking,” said Nowell. “Anyone’s welcome to call us or come in for preparation.”

The CEP offers programs and funds to help people explore their options and pay for training, schooling, college, job coaching and assessments, and more.

“We can answer questions, provide information, and help people narrow down their decision-making,” Nowell said. “Picking up the phone or stopping in could save them thousands.”

To take advantage of these services, call Nowell at 218-846-7377 or stop by the local CEP/CareerForce office at 803 Roosevelt Ave. in Detroit Lakes.

If there’s bad weather, the Outdoor Job Fair will be rescheduled to Wednesday, May 12, same time, same place.

Though the event is being held outdoors, masks are still recommended.


What: Outdoor Job Fair

Where: M State east parking lot (900 Hwy 34 E, Detroit Lakes)

When: Thursday, May 6, from 2-5:30 p.m.

Who: Open to all

Cost: Free

Economic Development Summit

Returning as an in-person event after going virtual last year, the 2021 Detroit Lakes Economic Development Summit will focus on the local economy and future workforce, and will also highlight new building projects, businesses and other developments in the Detroit Lakes area.

The featured speaker will be Jennifer Byers, a leader of the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, who will share information from the recent report, “Minnesota 2030.” This state Chamber report outlines Minnesota’s position in the national and global economy and makes recommendations to help shape and foster stronger economic performance over the coming decade.

Jennifer Byers, of the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, will be the featured speaker at this year's Economic Development Summit in Detroit Lakes. (Submitted Photo)
Jennifer Byers, of the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, will be the featured speaker at this year's Economic Development Summit in Detroit Lakes. (Submitted Photo)

Carrie Johnston, president of the Detroit Lakes Chamber, said the theme for the annual summit is determined by “looking at what’s happening in the community and region, and working with local businesses and experts.”

This year, for example, “We know that workforce is a major issue… As part of the Minnesota Chamber Foundation, we did a study on workforce projections for 2030, so we have some great information on that to share, statewide and also for our area.”

The summit will touch on workforce demographics, skill sets and retainment, Johnston said, as well as “the big three” community factors behind economic development: housing, daycare and transportation. There will be discussion about, “What are we able to do?” to support the workforce in the Detroit Lakes area.

Also on the agenda are several local speakers, who will discuss topics like: Construction at the Holmes Theatre; celebrations for Detroit Lakes’ 150th anniversary; Detroit Lakes Public Schools construction projects and plans for the ninth grade Academy; and ongoing infrastructure work for local internet/cable services.

A few local business owners will also share stories about their businesses and what’s been happening for them over the past year.

“There’ll be a little bit of information on a little bit of everything related to economic development,” said Johnston. “It’s a good variety.”

The summit is open to the public at a cost of $20 per person. It will be an indoor, in-person event; all COVID-19 guidelines will be followed.


What: 2021 Detroit Lakes Economic Development Summit

Where: Historic Holmes Theatre (826 Summit Ave., Detroit Lakes)

When: Friday, May 7, from 9-11:30 a.m.

Who: Open to all

Cost: $20 per person, call 218-847-9202 to reserve a seat