Inspire someone: love what you do

by Teri Fritsma

When’s the last time you met someone who really inspired you?

For me, it was last week.  My dad was visiting from out of town and we decided to fix up my daughter’s backyard playhouse.  We went to a big box home improvement store (I’ll let you guess which one) to buy some lumber.  I must tell you, I’m not inspired in any way by home improvement projects.  I get overwhelmed by the options, and I don’t know the difference between plywood and particle board.

But there I was, shopping for lumber (and pretty beat, mind you, after a long day at work).  A minute after entering the store, we were greeted by a lumber specialist named Jake.  

 And here’s the inspiring part:  Jake loved his job.

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What you need to know about salary data

by Teri Fritsma

When exploring careers or evaluating a job offer, one of the first questions you might have is, “what’s the pay?”  Salary info can help you decide if an occupation will give you the lifestyle you want, if taking out a loan for your education will ultimately pay off, or if a wage you’ve been offered is in the right ballpark.  Here’s what you need to know when using salary data.

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College loan forgiveness and repayment programs

by Shirley Fenlason

Have you heard of college loan forgiveness or repayment programs? Whether you’re a college student or graduate, they’re definitely worth checking out. If you meet the loan and program-specific criteria, these programs may help you restructure or even reduce your college debt.

On April 15, I read a article, Get a job, ditch your student loans, which highlighted student loan forgiveness programs. The piece focuses on programs that are part of the College Cost Reduction and Access Act of 2007.

The Income-Based Repayment (IBR) program is based on your family size and income with a payment cap of 15% of your monthly disposable income. If you make these payments for 25 years, your remaining student loan balance is forgiven. Though the program doesn’t start until July 2009, you can sign up for email updates now.

The Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) is for Direct Loan borrowers who are employed in full-time public service. As long as you remain in qualifying full-time public service while making 120 payments over the course of ten years (beginning after October 1, 2007), your remaining student loan balance is forgiven. is a great resource for student loan forgiveness/repayment programs. It lists specific criteria and benefits by categories and programs along with contact information. For instance, if you serve with AmeriCorps for one year, you can earn $4,725 in student loan repayment. Programs are available for student loan borrowers doing volunteer work, serving in the Army National Guard, teaching, or working in the medical or legal professions. Criteria vary per program so be sure to do your research!

Employment fact of the day: April 14, 2009

by Teri Fritsma

Is this a “he-cession”?

Men appear to be more at risk for layoffs than women these days.  Nationally, men’s unemployment is increasing faster than women’s.  Since March of last year, the male unemployment rate increased from 4.6% to 8.8%, while the female rate increased from 5.0% to 7.5%.

There are some theories floating out there about why this might be.  What do you think?

5 ways to be a better co-worker (and make your team stronger)

by Teri Fritsma  

I just read “What Strong Teams Have in Common” by Tom Rath and Barry Conchie, published in the Gallup Management Journal.  It’s a fun read, and offers some interesting (and surprising) findings about what makes work teams successful.  The article is about teams, not individuals — but it offers good food for thought if you’re interested in being a better co-worker and making your team stronger.


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Employment fact of the day: April 10, 2008

by Teri Fritsma  

Hot off the presses!

The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) just released its new list of Occupations in Demand.  This list is published twice a year and has gotten some good national attentionWhat’s great about the list is that it’s the most direct and accurate measure we have of the current demand in different occupations in Minnesota and 13 regions around the state.

Here are the top five occupations in demand in Minnesota (click on the link to view each occupation’s detailed profile):

Registered Nurses

Home Health Aides

Nursing Aides, Orderlies, and Attendants


General Office Clerks