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South Dakota begins $5 million national campaign to recruit workers

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(The Center Square) – South Dakota officials hope a new marketing campaign attracts workers for the thousands of available jobs in the state.

The state has about 25,000 open jobs and needs to recruit more workers, Gov. Kristi Noem said Wednesday.

The $5 million “Freedom Works Here” campaign features Noem in two 30-second television spots. In the first, the governor is seen trying to fix a sink while touting South Dakota as the first state to bounce back from the pandemic.

“We’ve got one of the nation’s strongest economies and more jobs than we can fill,” Noem says while dressed in coveralls.

Noem is seen trying her hand at dentistry in the second campaign.

“Here in South Dakota, you’ll never pay a penny in personal income tax,” Noem says in the ad. “And we accept most out-of-state professional licenses.

The “Freedom Works Here” campaign also includes direct mail and digital campaigns and runs through Labor Day.

The funding for the campaign is coming from the state’s Future Fund, Amelia Joy, Noem’s press secretary, told The Center Square. The Future Fund, overseen by the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, was developed after the recession in the early 1980s to “invest in South Dakota’s workforce and build its economy.”

“Overwhelmingly, our businesses need workers,” Joy said. “The Freedom-focused branding has been a powerful way to tell South Dakota’s story.”

Joy said the hope it the campaign is as successful as a tourism campaign the state led two years ago.

South Dakota’s seasonal unemployment rate in May was 1.9%, well under the national unemployment rate of 3.7%. The state tied New Hampshire and Nebraska for the lowest rate in the country, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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