Happy Birthday, Wagner-Peyser!

President Roosevelt signing Wagner-Peyser Act

Today, we celebrate the 90th anniversary of the passage of the Wagner-Peyser Act, which revolutionized employment services in America as it created the Employment Service. This Act laid the foundation for comprehensive job-matching networks around the country. Today, the network in Minnesota is known as CareerForce.  

Signed into existence on June 6, 1933 by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt in the presence of Senator Robert Wagner, Representative Theodore Peyser and Secretary of Labor Frances Perkins, the passage of the Wagner-Peyser Act marked a turning point in the nation's – and Minnesota's –  employment landscape. It led to the creation of a network of employment offices that streamlined job-matching processes and supported workforce development initiatives. Over the years, this system has experienced continuous evolution necessary to meet the changing needs of job seekers and employers – and to leverage new technologies to make this important work more efficient. 

Since its inception, the Employment Service has embraced technological advancements to enhance its services. Online platforms and digital tools have allowed job seekers and employers to connect more efficiently, enabling a broader reach and faster job placements. Many job seekers and employers did not have the access or skills necessary to access online services during the dawn of the internet age a few decades ago. This led to the creation of the Minnesota Workforce Center system in the 1990s. This network of offices addressed these needs by creating Resource Rooms with internet access on public computers and meeting rooms to facilitate a direct connection between job seekers and employers.  

As technology evolved, the system evolved along with it. The Minnesota WorkForce Center System was reborn as CareerForce in 2019. Now, Minnesota offers a variety of methods to connect job seekers and employers, including online, over the phone, and in-person. Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) staff and Local Workforce Development Board staff work together, along with community workforce development partners, to provide job seekers and employers the services they need.

Looking to the future, the impacts of the signing of the Wagner-Peyser Act in 1933 will endure. The framework that started ninety years ago will continue to evolve and adapt to meet the changing needs of the labor market. It will play a crucial role in connecting job seekers with employment opportunities, supporting workforce development, and driving economic growth in Minnesota.