Don Ness has been hired as executive director of WorkforceTraining and Community Development at Lake Superior College. In this role, he will lead the college’s customized training and continuing education opportunities with local business, industry, non-profit, and state economic development partners. He will begin his duties on June 22, 2016.
Lake Superior College is a regional leader in customized training and workforce development. By working closely with local employers, the department strives to improve performance by investing in training and skill development of the region’s workforce. In the past year alone, a record 5,682 learners took advantage of these powerful skill and career development opportunities.
As Executive Director, Ness will lead efforts to expand training and partnerships with local employers. “I’m excited to work with employers to find solutions to their workforce challenges by investing in their employees. There are endless opportunities to develop innovative programs and partnerships to ensure our local economy continues to expand,” said Don Ness. “Continuing to improve the quality of our workforce is our region’s most effective job creation strategy.”
Through continued innovative partnerships with agencies such as Community Action Duluth, SOAR Career Solutions, and Duluth Workforce Development and private sector businesses including AAR and Cirrus, Lake Superior College provides the vital link between the skill needs of local employers and the career goals of local residents. “Don’s knowledge of the community and his relationships with Twin Ports business leaders will be a major asset to the department’s ability to grow revenue and clientele,“ said Michael Seymour, vice president of academic and student affairs. “He has a track record of results and cares deeply about our region’s success.”
"I love that this program helps people in our community make a better life for themselves. When we invest in a person’s skills, we give them hope and a path to a better life,“ said Ness. “By investing in each person’s potential, we can help address critical community problems like poverty and equity. I can’t wait to take on this challenge.”
Don Ness has served more than 20 years in public leadership, culminating with a 91 percent job approval rating in his role as mayor of the City of Duluth. During this time, he was honored with the titles of both Twin Cities Business Person of the Year and the Labovitz School of Business and Economics Business Person of the Year. Ness is a graduate of the University of Minnesota-Duluth, majoring in business administration and economics, and he earned a Masters in Management from the College of St. Scholastica. Prior to his tenure as mayor, he was the campaign manager for Congressman Jim Oberstar for nearly 10 years.