Dec. 4 RESN program focuses on new workforce characteristics

BEMIDJI, Minn. — Debbie Drinkard Grovum will discuss the changing face of the American workforce during a 9 a.m. presentation Tuesday, Dec. 4, at the Bemidji State University Center for Research and Innovation (CRI), located at 3801 Bemidji Avenue North.

Part of the Regional Employer Support Network lecture series, the two-hour session, titled “Generations Working Together,” is open to the public at no charge.

“For the first time in American history, we have four generations working side-by-side in the workplace,” Grovum explained. “Is this a recipe for disaster, or an opportunity to capitalize on the strengths of diversity? The answer depends on how leaders manage the new workplace dynamics.”

Whether caused by today’s economy, the rising cost of health care, increased life expectancy, a need for socialization or other factors, older workers are re-entering the workforce after retirement or choosing to remain on the job beyond their planned retirement date.

That brings both good and bad news to the labor force. It helps address an anticipated shortage of 10 million workers as there aren’t enough people in the current generation to replace a graying baby boomer population at work sites across the country. It also highlights differences between the generations, which could create difficulties between young and old workers

A counselor at Northwest Technical College for 30 years, Grovum plans to outline the key characteristics of each generation in the employment mix today. She will also describe the types of conflicts created by age differences as well as present strategies for addressing generational issues. While of general interest, she felt the presentation would especially benefit managers and individuals who work in a multi-generational environment.

Grovum created and directs the Northwest Technical College Transition Institute, which provides resources and services for employers as well as employees over the age of 50 in the areas of life or career planning, education and employment. She received a bachelor’s degree from the University of South Florida, a master’s from the University of Memphis, and a master’s degree from Bemidji State University.

The Regional Employer Support Network was formed after area employers expressed the need for a network of professionals involved in human resource development and management. It usually meets the first Thursday of each month with regular sessions lasting two hours. Lengthier quarterly sessions are also scheduled. CRI staff facilitate RESN activities with support provided by North Country Health Services, North Country Business Products, Potlatch, Bi-CAP, Pinnacle Publishing, and Anderson Fabrics, and Johanneson, Inc.

Individuals who wish to be added to the RESN mailing list or have questions about this program should contact the Center for Research and Innovation at (218) 755-4900; toll free, (888) 738-3224; e-mail,; or at

Dec. 4
– 9 a.m. – Bemidji State University Center for Research and Innovation hosts Regional Employer Support Network presentation, “Generations Working Together.” Presenter: Debbie Drinkard Grovum, director, Northwest Technical College Transition Institute. Location: CRI; 3801 Bemidji Ave. N, Bemidji. Cost: free. For information: (218) 755-4900; (888) 738-3224;