Breakfast discussion shows examples of how it works, impact it can have.

    Kathy Carney, field operations manager of the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED), led the way during Friday's Crookston Talent Community breakfast at the Crookston Inn & Convention Center. Local employers and city officials gathered to gain knowledge of the program and website ( that will launch Monday, Sept. 16.

    The idea for the Crookston Talent Community arose after a group from area Workforce Centers and DEED wanted to "connect business with job seekers." The first time they heard of a similar talent community was in St. Paul, through Blue Cross Blue Shield. After getting an $85,000 grant from the Otto Bremer Foundation in January, this quickly became a local reality. Brainerd's Talent Community is already up and running with Fergus Falls and Crookston beginning next week.

    Within the website, those that create a profile will also have the opportunity to complete the National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC) at their local DEED office. This three hour "test" showcases people's skills in math, reading and critical thinking. Over 3,000 people have been tested in Brainerd and 150 employers have been added.

    Trudi Amundson, business service specialist for the Brainerd Workforce Center, congratulated Crookston on becoming one of three cities to have a talent community. She touched on the benefits of the website and taking the NCRC. "It is a free tool that can help employers hire the right person the first time," Amundson said at Friday's breakfast.

    After going through the seemingly easy to navigate website, Amundson added that she personally has connected job seekers to employers using the talent community.

    Job seekers and businesses in Crookston can join starting Sept. 16 at