Local Blog Gets National Nod

The press release below is the same text as was sent out this morning but without the bold, italics, and consistent font and size.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                          

December 21, 2005                             

Contact:                       

Paul DeBettignies    

MN Headhunter

612-216-1421

paul@mnheadhunter.com 

Local Blog Gets National Nod

MN Headhunter blog offers local business news, employment stats and career trends in addition to connecting local nonprofits and IT organizations

Minneapolis, MN -- A blog written by a Twin Cities IT Headhunter, Paul DeBettignies, has been nominated for a national award. His blog has gained further national attention after it was nominated as the Best Third Party Blog on Recruiting.com, “A Recruiting Blog Community Portal”.  The public can vote at www.surveymonkey.com/s.asp?u=622441607077 in ten categories and choose from more than sixty nominations until December 21. 

DeBettignies, Managing Partner of e-Strategies Group Inc., a Twin Cities based third party IT recruiting firm, has been writing the MN Headhunter blog www.mnheadhunter.com since May of 2005.  Blog topics include local business news, employment statistics, and career trends. 

Additionally, the MN Headhunter blog has a volunteer page www.mnheadhunter.com/vol that offers nonprofits a chance to advertise their technology needs and IT organizations the opportunity to connect with these local nonprofits. 

DeBettignies started writing MN Headhunter after reviewing his business and marketing plan and deciding it was time to make some changes including the corporate name and new web site.

“In the mean time the MN Headhunter blog has been a good avenue for candidates, clients, and the general public to get to know me better. A corporate web site can give you the facts but a blog allows for more of a connection.”

A major focus for DeBettignies has been working to capitalize on blog traffic and his own network to connect volunteers with the technology needs of local non-profits.

“The past few weeks I have been developing a plan to further build an active network of corporations, consulting groups, independent contractors, and college students who would volunteer on a one time or continuing basis with non-profits seeking technology assistance,” he said.   

About MN Headhunter

The tag line for MN Headhunter is “Focusing on employment news, job search tips, promoting volunteerism within the IT Community, and a little Gopher football.” The site can be found at www.mnheadhunter.com.

About Recruiting.com

Recruiting.com, www.recruiting.com, is a group blog for employment and staffing best practices.  The site is a community for recruiters, HR Professionals, hiring managers and job-seekers to promote and discover the latest trends in online recruitment. 

A press release for the Recruiting.com 2005 Best Blog Awards can be found at, http://www.prweb.com/releases/2005/12/prweb319291.htm.

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Minnesota’s Job Growth In Question, Fed Forecasts Growth

Job growth figures in Minnesota have caused wide spread concern. Maybe caution is a better word. This article from the St. Paul Pioneer Press has a good take from both sides.

As I have said many times on this blog, I am a glass half full kind of guy. 3.9% unemployment? I remember when anything under 5.0% was considered “full employment”. I grant that if your one of those without a job or with a low paying job that this is bad news. We must continue putting people to work and increase skill levels to get folks into higher paying jobs.

Which gets me to the Minneapolis Fed release of its 2006 economic forecast. Two quotes from the release:

The economy in the Ninth Federal Reserve District is expected to continue expanding in 2006, despite concerns about higher energy and materials prices, and a likely slowing in home building and residential real estate. The Ninth District includes Minnesota, North and South Dakota, Montana, northwestern Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

And:

The outlook for labor markets in 2006 is positive, reflecting expectations for increased economic growth… While a majority of respondents to the poll expect to increase employment at their companies, many are beginning to indicate difficulty finding qualified workers.

Once again we have language regarding the difficulty in finding skilled/qualified workers.

Looks like we need to do a better skills and job retraining.


Minneapolis Considering City Wide Wi-Fi

This fall John Katsantonis of ePrairie fame had a three part series, #1, #2, #3, on the proposed Wi-Fi in the City of Minneapolis. John also has good information on how the City of Chaska offers its service.

MPR has an update on its site.

There is a growing debate on how the system should be set up and who has ownership of it. Personally, I do not like government doing something I can do for myself whether they own/run it or not. I already have a high-speed connection at home and at work so I do not know that I would be a customer.

Saying that I do like the affordability of it and the hope that the “digital divide” is reduced. Now if someone could work on a program to get computers to low-income residents I would think this is a great idea. Without the ability to have a computer who needs connectivity?

This jury, being me, is still out…


Minneapolis #2, St. Paul Tied For #10 Most Literate Cities

It’s nice to have the ranking but maybe we just read more than other cities. How about test scores or other sociological data? I know Minnesota usually ranks high in literacy but these indicators seem, well, less serious to me.

Here’s the link to the study from Central Connecticut State University.


IT Talent Hard To Find In The Twin Cities

Continuing with the theme from earlier posts, IT talent in the Twin Cities is becoming hard to find. Business Journal had a great article explaining how a few local companies are dealing with the situation.

Of interest is the lack of mid-level talent. Numbers of computer science majors at universities and colleges has been sliding the past years and they would now be that mid-level talent.


Best Buy and Carlson Companies, An Outsourcing Story

The outsourcing under way by Best Buy And Carlson Companies was written about in this article in July from the St. Paul Pioneer Press. Somehow I had missed it.

There are a few rumors that other large employers in the Twin Cities are looking at these two companies and how they deal with the outsourcing as a test to see if they too will follow.

596 Best Buy employees became a part of Accenture while 130 were laid off.

Around 400 information technology and finance employees of Carlson were laid off and roughly 140 became employees of IBM.

Another interesting statistic is that 15% who have made the change from corporate employee to contractor with their former employer leave.

The article has two stories of former employees returning as contractors and the hurdles they have faced.


The Great Minnesota Get Together

Ah yes, the Minnesota State Fair is into its first weekend. I am not sure I will be able to make it there this year. In case you too will miss it or are from another part of the country here is what we are missing out on.

GrandStand entertainment to include 3 Doors Down, Motley Crue, Gear Daddies, James Taylor, Martina McBride, Garrison Keillor, REO Speedwagon, and Styx.

There are a few new food vendors including spaghetti and meatballs on a stick. For those not aware everything food related, if it want to be “cool”, is on a stick.

The State Fair started in 1854 when Minnesota was a territory, not yet a state. It is the 2nd largest State Fair in the country behind Texas. Worth noting, Minnesota runs its fair for ten days. Texas lasts a month.

What many claim as one of the most significant dates in the fair's history was September 2, 1901 when then-Vice President Theodore Roosevelt first uttered, "Speak softly and carry a big stick." A few days later President McKinley would be assassinated and Roosevelt would becom President.

For my tech friends make sure to stop by the Wonder of Technology put on by the Minnesota High Tech Association.


CIO Pay: A Good Trend But Interesting Timing In Two Situations

I am all about any person being compensated as much as a market is willing to pay. It is about time that CIO’s are getting into the boardroom and involved in critical operations decisions. I am all for that. But talk about bad timing with public relations…

Baseline has come out with their 2005 CIO Compensation Survey. Worth noting that Northwest Airlines CIO, Philip Hahn, ranks 6th in compensation. He made a pinch over 3 million dollars in 2004. Not bad for a guy whose company is saying they need concessions from the labor unions to survive.

How ironic.

And then we have this story from Forbes on Randy Mott the new CIO of Hewlett-Packard who was lured away from Dell. $15.3 million, not bad for a guy who took a job and then in a matter of weeks his company announced the layoff of 15,000 employees, or 10% of the then workforce.

Maybe I am still jaded by the comments of Latrell Spreewell of the Minnesota Timberwolves last winter. He felt his contract with the Wolves should be redone. He said he needed to feed his family.

Huh, $10 million just did not seem to cut it.

I need to give the CIO’s a break. At least they are assisting in creating shareholder value.


Venture Capital Seeing More Action

The National Venture Capital Association has released its Q2 2005 results. Nationally investments by VC rose 19% and they continued to raise larger amounts of cash to be invested. Much of the investment is going to later stage companies but there is a growing trend of new cash going into first and second round deals.

Here are three links to the NVCA site with Q2 results:

Venture Capital Investing Rises 19% To $5.8 Billion In Q2 2005

Larger Venture And Buyout Firms Drive Vibrant Private Equity Fundraising Activity In Q2 2005

Venture Backed IPO Market Remained Week in Q2 2005

Here is a link to The Business Journal on the local venture scene. One bit of bad news, Utah two quarters in a row with more investment dollars than Minnesota? What’s up with that?