High school students enjoy immersive work experiences through Career Connections program

One high school senior tackled an IT project at the Washington Pavilion.

Another learned design-related software at Sayre Associates.

They’re two examples of high school students who this spring were able to immerse themselves in work-related learning experiences through the Sioux Falls Development Foundation’s Career Connections program.

“These are real projects that they’re working on, which is incredible,” said Denise Guzzetta, the organization’s vice president of talent and workforce development. “It’s a way for a company and a way for talent itself to work on a project together but also find if there’s a cultural fit, if there’s a match.”

To see the program at work, click below.

Nearly 80 businesses are participating in Career Connections, which takes several forms — from job-shadowing and workplace visits to these more intensive experiences.

For businesses looking to really connect one-on-one with students, Guzzetta said this approach is a strong fit.

“Whether you’re looking to offset some of the administrative tasks you have or you don’t have time to get to a project that’s been on the shelf, tap into the students we have,” she said. “They’re going to get the experience they want and make that emotional connection, but you’re also going to get someone who’s going to help you with your workload.”

To connect with the Sioux Falls Development Foundation, email deniseg@siouxfalls.com.

Career Connections Internships 2023

Family of 9 relocates from Canada to Sioux Falls, finds all-around positive move

About six months after his sister moved her family to Sioux Falls, Bryan Grim and his family followed.

“We were looking to get out of Canada for a while and see what the States was all about, specifically the Midwest,” he said. “And with my sister here, when we were looking at places, it naturally came to Sioux Falls.”

She told her brother “it’s way sunnier” compared with where they were from in Vancouver, she enjoyed her job in health care, “and the church community she joined was very welcoming, and for her family, that made it a lot easier transition.”

A job search online led Grim to Raven Industries, which embraced his experience in software engineering.

“As a software engineer, I had options in Sioux Falls – from agriculture to financial services – and my mom grew up on a dairy farm, so I always had the attraction to agriculture, which steered me in Raven’s direction.”

He and his wife, Leanne, moved last year with their family of seven kids and found a 6-acre hobby farm southwest of Sioux Falls.

Grim Family

“That was the other thing that impressed me about Raven – they made it clear it’s a family-friendly company, which was a big draw for me,” Grim said. “Looking at a job switch and a country switch in my mid-40s, I wanted it to be as easy as possible.”

At work, he now gets to use his skills working on cutting-edge ag technology designed to support farmers.

“I get to work on field computers that do a lot of guidance and steering for these big machines, and it’s pretty fun to be part of that,” he said.

Bryan Grim working at Raven Industries in Sioux Falls, SD

And at home, he gets to try his own hand at small-scale farming.

“We moved from a 6,000-square-foot lot in the suburbs, so it’s been a fun move,” he said.

“My wife is really embracing the culture, the free space we have and is starting to plant big gardens. We bought 40 chickens, so we’re going to see what we can do with that acreage, and she’s loving it. But we’re still 10 minutes from town, so everything is accessible.”

He also gets to spend time with his sister and her family of five kids. His own kids have loved the Great Plains Zoo and Butterfly House & Aquarium. And with dedicated hockey and softball players, “we’re at the Sanford Sports Complex multiple times per week,” Grim said.

“They’re all getting along pretty good with classmates and fellow church members, and the community seems to be really friendly. It sounds cliche, but when you move here, you do feel the friendliness.”

Grim family at Falls Park in Sioux Falls, SD

He also has plenty of company at Raven, which regularly hires nationwide and beyond.

“Raven has grown exponentially,” Grim said. “You talk to most people and they seem to have joined in the last few years. Plus, I have team members in Seattle, Billings (Montana) and in Minnesota. But there are a lot of people moving into Sioux Falls for Raven.”

This summer, the family looks forward to camping and getting to further explore the Sioux Falls region.

“People who talk about traffic here I don’t think have driven in other cities,” Grim added. “Being downtown for work is really nice, and the fact it doesn’t take an hour to get out of it is even nicer. In Vancouver, you go downtown, and it’s a two-hour drive. Here, I’m home in half an hour tops.”

Grim family at Falls Park in Sioux Falls, SD

The family’s experience reflects much about what new residents love about the Sioux Falls area, said Denise Guzzetta, vice president of talent and workforce development for the Sioux Falls Development Foundation.

“Raven is such an importer of talent, and we’re so happy that Bryan and his extended family have found welcoming careers and communities within a community here,” she said.

“The fact that he’s able to put his software engineering skills to work in such a meaningful way is a huge win, as is how the family is able to enjoy all the best of Sioux Falls along with a rural lifestyle. We couldn’t be happier to welcome them not just to our community but to the U.S.”

Grim family stands in front of an American flag on the day they became U.S. citizens

Bryan Grim and his four oldest children on the day they became U.S. citizens.

Are you ready to make your move to Sioux Falls? Connect with deniseg@siouxfalls.com to learn more about career opportunities here.

Sioux Falls is a top 25 place to retire for 2023

Retire better in Sioux Falls, SD

After spending decades working, your retirement is something you should enjoy. Fortunately, Forbes has done research to identify the top 25 places for retirement in 2023.

Sioux Falls is one of the best places to retire! With housing prices lower than the national median– $376,000– Sioux Falls is a great place to put down new roots. The study took into account quality of life indicators, factors that promote active retirement, and more.

“Accordingly, the Forbes Best Places to Retire In 2023 list aims to identify the top choices across the U.S. for high quality retirement living at an affordable price,” the article said.

See why Sioux Falls made the list at the link below.

Sioux Falls ranked the #5 best place for college grads

Start your career in Sioux Falls

After four years of hard work and dedication, college graduation is a big moment to celebrate! But what comes next: finding a job, a new place to live, and starting a new phase of life can be intimidating.

Luckily, we know a city that’s a fantastic place to start a new chapter: Sioux Falls, SD, is the no. 5 best place for college grads according to Stacker.

“To be included, each metro needed a large share of residents with advanced degrees and a 2021 unemployment rate lower than or equal to the national average, which was 5.3%,” the article said. “Housing costs for young adults also had to be more affordable than the national average, measured as the ratio of the median income of households headed by people under 25 to the typical rent for a one-bedroom apartment. Metros were sorted by the median income of residents under 25, relative to the overall median income.”

See more about Sioux Falls’ ranking and how other cities compared!

Talent Talks program allows students to hear from young professionals

Sometimes just one conversation can influence a young person’s career.

That’s the strategy behind the Talent Talks program coordinated by the Sioux Falls Development Foundation.

It connects young professionals with high school students, sharing individual experiences and career journeys in Sioux Falls.

“So that people can start envisioning what could be their life here in maybe five to 10 years,” said Denise Guzzetta, vice president of talent and workforce development for the organization.

“The range of presenters has gone anywhere from people in the financial services sector to people that are in public service; that shows a large bandwidth of different types of jobs and opportunities.”

Talent Talks is one of several workforce development programs coordinated by the Sioux Falls Development Foundation.

Get a recap here:

Talent Talks

Denise Guzzetta
Want to get involved in our workforce programs? Contact:

Denise Guzzetta

Vice President of Talent & Workforce Development, Sioux Falls Development Foundation

Award-winning electronics manufacturer to begin major expansion

Electronics Systems Inc. will increase its manufacturing space by 60 percent with a new addition that breaks ground this week.

The Sioux Falls manufacturer, founded in 1980, will add an 18,500-square-foot steel structure building to join two separate facilities at 600 E. 50th St. N.

Electronic Systems Inc.

The addition will break ground May 11 at 11:30 a.m. and support manufacturing of high-tech custom electronic circuit board assemblies involving automated equipment, assembly and testing operations.

“It’s being driven by demand,” president and shareholder Gary Larson said. “We’ve seen steady growth in our business, consistently for the last decade, and then after a slight blip at the start of the pandemic, we’ve done nothing but continue to grow.”

Electronic Systems Inc.

ESI provides a full range of electronic manufacturing services to original equipment manufacturers, or OEMs, in the industrial, commercial, medical, energy, agriculture and biotech markets.

Electronic Systems Inc.

“Nearly everything has electronics in it now, so there’s considerable demand in many industries, but you still have to earn the business,” Larson said. “What we’ve seen is a solid base of customers that we continue to service, and they continue to reward our efforts.”

It all centers around customer service, he emphasized. The goal at ESI is not just good customer service but legendary service. The kind that exceeds expectations and leads customers to tell others.

Electronic Systems Inc.

“Everybody here has the same job, and that’s providing legendary service to the customer no matter what your position in the company,” Larson said. “That’s what we’re focused on, and it’s served us well.”

It culminated in the company being honored with the highest overall customer rating and the Service Excellence Award sponsored by leading trade publication Circuits Assembly.

Electronic Systems Inc.

The designation reflected the highest score in all categories, from quality to technology, value for price, responsiveness, dependability and timely delivery.

“ESI is a fantastic company, and we’re excited to celebrate their success with this expansion,” said Mike Gray, director of business development for the Sioux Falls Development Foundation. “We were glad to advise them on the local programs available to assist growing companies as we work to expand target industries in our community.”

One valuable program will allow the company to “stair step up” into the increased property taxes that the expansion will bring with it.

Electronic Systems Inc.

“This allows them to gradually take on that additional cost instead of experiencing it immediately after making a large capital investment to grow in Sioux Falls,” Gray said.

ESI is a strong example of the onshoring business that has occurred since 2020.

“The pandemic certainly made businesses understand the value of a domestic manufacturing partner,” Larson said. “From that perspective, the market has changed, and we’re seeing new opportunities.”

Of course, capturing those opportunities takes people. ESI has grown to 275 employees, but its expansion will require more.

“The job market is tough, and the majority of our workforce works directly in manufacturing – assembly, machine operators and things like that – although we also have staff in engineering, materials and purchasing,” Larson said. “If we find people willing to work a steady shift and in support roles, they can have great success here.”

Electronic Systems Inc.

ESI has worked closely with the Sioux Falls Development Foundation’s Career Connections program, bringing high school students into the production facility to learn more about the opportunities here.

The hope is to encourage more internships and launch a manufacturing technician certificate through Southeast Technical College this fall to build a pipeline of workers directly sourced from high school and offer a way to upskill.

“Nothing we build has our name on it, so students don’t know us and have no idea what goes on in a building like this,” Larson said. “When groups come through, it’s been a fun opportunity to tell our story.”

Larson makes it relatable, teaching students how ESI manufactures electronics that power drive-thru intercoms and interruption controls for emergency response vehicles, for example.

“We relate it to real life – these are things nobody knows about,” Larson said. “We enjoy working with the Development Foundation and are looking forward to getting more traction in our student-focused programs.”

Electronic Systems Inc.

The company is a strong opportunity for workers at all skill levels, said Denise Guzzetta, vice president of talent and workforce development at the Sioux Falls Development Foundation.

“This is a highly automated, tech-driven business that continues to make key investments both in its physical facility as well as in talent,” she said. “It’s a perfect example of how we’re trying to open students’ eyes to the opportunities that exist to learn valuable skills and grow a career without leaving Sioux Falls.”

ESI hopes to open its expansion sometime in the third quarter.

“We’re really focusing on expanding our current capacity, so we’ll add any new equipment we need, and that might increase our capabilities because the technology is ever-changing, especially in automation, so we’re always upgrading,” Larson said.

“And we’ll be hiring to support the expansion. We’re already anticipating it and trying to stay ahead.”

To learn more about Electronic Systems Inc., click here.

Dordt University students take part in Talent Tours at Sioux Falls businesses

Students from Dordt University traveled to Sioux Falls on April 28th to tour different businesses around town. These English majors were “career curious” about the opportunities to which their degree could lead them.

The students arrived in Sioux Falls and received a tour of Lawrence & Schiller, a marketing and advertising agency. There, they learned more about what types of services L&S offers to their clients and how they adapt to the ever-changing trends in the marketing world.

The students then arrived downtown at the Commerce Center for lunch. Shane Tinklenberg, a Software Engineer at Raven Industries, Ella Rynders, the Brand Manager at Fernson Brewing Co., and McKenize Kooima, an Account Services Representative at BPM, are alumni of Dordt University and volunteered their time to speak about their career journeys and what it’s like to live and work in Sioux Falls.

After lunch, the students traveled to PREMIER Bankcard where they got an overview of national-level advertising, media strategy/buying, and content development. The students were able to get a better idea of how their English degree could be utilized within the financial industry, something they didn’t think was possible.

The final stop of the day was at Click Rain & Lemonly. The students were taken on the grand tour of their new office space and given a rundown of how the two sister companies work together. Their tour guides were Dordt alumni who were able to explain how they utilize their Dordt education in the work world.

The day was a success as the students were given a glimpse of the possibilities in Sioux Falls!

What a wonderful day of exploring careers that will utilize a degree in English! Sometimes students are hesitant to pursue a degree with a broad reach, such as English. This career trek opened our eyes to various roles in a company that can be significantly enhanced by strong writing skills, whether creative writing, or technical writing, or anything in between.

My faculty participant and I particularly enjoyed reconnecting with our alumni. Claire did a fabulous job of finding young alumni to serve on the lunch panel. They were able to share about the value of their Dordt education, why they love living and working in Sioux Falls, and share some valuable advice for transitioning well from college into career.

We are so grateful for the broad reach of the Sioux Falls Development Foundation, which enables them to showcase local employers and opportunities!

Amy Westra, Director of Career Development, Dordt University
Claire Herbst
Want to bring your students to Sioux Falls?

Claire Herbst

Talent Recruitment Coordinator, Sioux Falls Development Foundation

Legacy of leaders lost honored on 30th Anniversary with Mayoral Proclamation

April 19th marked the 30th anniversary of that fateful day our state and community lost eight men. Sioux Falls Development Foundation representatives Roger Hainje, David Birkeland, and Angus Anson, along with Gov. George Mickelson and four state officials: Roland Dolly, Ron Reed, Ron Becker, and David Hansen perished as their plane went down returning from a mission to retain the John Morrell plant and the jobs it provided.

The Development Foundation honored former leaders and Governor Mickelson, with comments from Dave Link and Jim Wilcox, colleagues of the men, during a private event. Mayor TenHaken named April 19, 2023, Economic Development Leadership Day with a Mayoral Proclamation.

Hainje was president of both Forward Sioux Falls and the Sioux Falls Development Foundation in 1993. Birkeland, an FSF II campaign leader, was Chairman of the Foundation; and Anson served as Foundation Vice Chair at the time. All were extremely involved in the early years of the Forward Sioux Falls program and served on the Joint Venture Management Committee. Board volunteers and Development Foundation staff stepped up after the loss, continuing the economic development legacy these men exemplified.

Historical Perspective – Roger Hainje

Economic Development Leadership Day mayoral proclamation

INTERN Sioux Falls welcomes first cohort to Sioux Falls with planned engagement activities

The Sioux Falls Development Foundation announces programming events to help employer interns connect with their peers.

“Connecting with others was critical for me as an intern,” says Claire Herbst, SFDF’s talent recruitment coordinator. “We developed programs to help younger talent connect with peers and immerse themselves into the Sioux Falls community.”

Programs include guest speakers with YPN and a scavenger hunt through downtown Sioux Falls to help interns feel at home within the Sioux Falls community.

Program dates include June 28th, July 11th, and July 27th.

For organizations interested in INTERN Sioux Falls programming, please contact Claire Herbst at claireh@siouxfalls.com.

Forward Sioux Falls partners to create South Dakota Trade Association

Recently, Forward Sioux Falls made the decision to contribute funding to the newly organized South Dakota Trade Association to better serve FSF investors wanting to participate in international trade. Prior to this campaign, international trade had been championed by the Sioux Falls Development Foundation with funding from FSF, SBA, SBDC, and the State of South Dakota. Two years ago, those responsibilities were transferred to USD and the Vermillion Chamber, but with the new support from the state, these efforts will now be handled by the South Dakota Trade Association.

South Dakota Trade will work closely with the business community to navigate international trade for South Dakota and has already secured a $175,000 grant from the U.S. Small Business Administration to expand South Dakota exports.

“South Dakota products and services are second-to-none and it is my great honor to work alongside Governor Noem, our members, our partners, and teammates to promote them abroad,” said Luke J. Lindberg, President and CEO. “South Dakota Trade will be a vital resource to our farmers, ranchers, manufacturers, and small business owners as they navigate an increasingly complicated global economy.”

The new organization will offer four programs:

  • Free and confidential business consulting for small businesses looking to export their goods and services.
  • Trade missions and reverse trade missions on behalf of the state to develop important relationships with foreign buyers and those looking to do business in South Dakota.
  • The State Trade Expansion Program (STEP) grant, which can reimburse a company for expenses related to growing a business overseas.
  • Export seminars and courses that will enhance companies’ export-readiness. Classes range from beginner to advanced and can often be covered by STEP grant funds.

“Ninety-five percent of the world’s consumers live outside of the United States,” said Joe Beck, newly elected board chair of the association.

Beck, who is also the executive director of corporate development at Viaflex, an exporter based in Sioux Falls, continued, “We are putting together a team and programs that will enable South Dakota to capture more value across all industry segments and aspects of the supply chain.”

South Dakota Trade is funded by a variety of partners across the state, including local businesses, trade associations, economic development organizations, the University of South Dakota, and the Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED).

In addition to Beck and Lindberg, South Dakota Trade’s board of directors will be comprised of four additional directors and two ex-officio members:

  • Vice chair: Andrea Thompson, Vice President, International Programs, Northrop Grumman
  • Vice chair: Holly Lien, Chief Marketing Officer, Pete Lien & Sons
  • Treasurer: Jeff Griffin, President & CEO, Greater Sioux Falls Chamber of Commerce
  • Secretary: David Kiesner, Director of Business Development, Millborn Seeds
  • Ex officio: Sheila Gestring, President, University of South Dakota
  • Ex officio: Commissioner, GOED

South Dakota Trade is a 501(c)(6) association that navigates international trade for South Dakota. The Association has offices in Sioux Falls and Rapid City. For additional information, please visit www.southdakotatrade.com.

Missouri couple grows retail careers with move to Sioux Falls

Nole Curry’s acceptance into a management training program came with a contract: He had to agree to be relocated for his first assignment.

“Once you’re in training, they let you give three preferences where you have an interest in going,” said Curry, now an assistant general manager at Menards.

“They realize if you go somewhere you like, you’re going to be a better employee.”

His top three choices would mean a move from Missouri – but that was the idea. He’d traveled through South Dakota on vacation, and he and his girlfriend, Katie Stricker, are big outdoors people.

Nole Curry & Katie Stricker

Coming through Sioux Falls, “we knew about Falls Park and some of the art downtown, and we had explored the town enough and read enough to know chances are we would love being around here,” he said. “We definitely knew we weren’t going to be miserable.”

But an assignment in Sioux Falls was far from automatic. Both Sioux Falls stores are among the top-performing locations in the company, Curry said.

“This area is hard to get into because people like to stay here,” he said. “But two weeks before my training was done, the west-side store posted for an assistant manager.”

He put in a request to interview immediately and was hired on the spot. He moved to Sioux Falls in October 2022, and Stricker followed less than two months later.

Nole Curry & Katie Stricker

“I love Menards. They’ve been super, super helpful with my move,” Curry said. “We’re the type of people who like to explore, and Menards has given us all that and more.”

Stricker took the first few weeks of her move to help set up their duplex in the Cathedral neighborhood.

“It’s been great. We absolutely love it,” she said.

“We wanted to get the house settled and cozy so we weren’t living in boxes, and then I got a little bored.”

He had such a good experience at Menards he suggested she apply at the east-side store.

“And I’ve now happily been with Menards three months,” she said. “It’s been amazing. I was a teacher for 15 years, so every aspect of retail is new to me, and everyone has been so helpful and kind.”

She also recently was promoted to assistant manager in the paint department.

“It’s starting to feel like a family,” she said. “Everyone says hello and is smiling, so it’s been a really good fit so far.”

Nole Curry & Katie Stricker

Their experience is a good reminder for others in the retail industry that a move to Sioux Falls can be a game-changer, said Denise Guzzetta, vice president of talent and workforce development for the Sioux Falls Development Foundation.

“Retail is huge in Sioux Falls, and as this couple has discovered, our retail industry provides such a positive experience and so many opportunities,” she said. “We encourage anyone looking to grow a career in retail to make a similar move and enjoy both the outstanding work experience as well as the quality of life we offer.”

Outside of work, Curry and Stricker already have gotten to know their neighbors despite moving in the winter.

“People in Missouri are nice. I don’t want this to sound like a dig on Missouri. But people here in Sioux Falls are so incredibly nice,” Stricker said. “The first week, I thought someone was playing a joke on us. Even our neighbors we’re just getting to know are so kind and willing to help. I don’t think I’ve met someone who is unhappy. Even grumbling about winter lasting so long, everyone here is legitimately so kind all the time.”

Curry is amazed that he has “only dealt with one angry customer at work,” he said. “Not digging on Missouri, but I had already dealt with two or three a month while I was training, and here everyone is so laid-back and low-key. The customers love to talk to us at work. It’s been great.”

Their 16-year-old dog “loves the snow and going outside,” he added.

Nole Curry & Katie Stricker

And they’ve embraced winter with their first trip to snowmobile races.

“We enjoyed that and enjoyed some hiking when the weather allowed,” Stricker said.

snowmobile races

“And we’ve really enjoyed the food experiences so far. I love burgers, so the Burger Battle was right in my wheelhouse, and it was amazing.”

Now, they even have some company from Missouri because former Menards co-workers also relocated to a home in Tea.

“They have a couple kids, so their lifestyle is different, and they were surprised how easy it was to find a place to live and a day care without even having to come visit,” Curry said.

Looking ahead, the couple already has bought state park passes and is looking forward to a year of hiking, kayaking, hunting and fishing.

“And it was a big draw having a river in the middle of town, plus having live local music options,” Stricker added.

Curry even has gone back to pursuing his private pilot license.

“That’s what Menards and this area has allowed us to do – some things I’m not sure we would have done, but it’s given us more options,” he said. “This town is 10 times the size of where we came from, but it does not feel that way at all.”

Ready to learn more about carving your own path in Sioux Falls? Visit siouxfalls.com, or reach out to deniseg@siouxfalls.com.

Talent Tours connect career-minded students with workplace visits

Students are stepping out of the classroom and into workplaces that represent potential career opportunities.

It’s part of the Talent Tours program organized by the Sioux Falls Development Foundation. In the past, the program has been geared toward students undecided about their career preferences. This year, there was an intentional effort to connect students with defined interests in fields with workplaces that might be a fit for them.

Talent Tours

“We’re working with them to really solidify their connections to our business community,” said Denise Guzzetta, vice president of talent and workforce development for the Sioux Falls Development Foundation. “We’re bringing them on-site to multiple businesses so they make that emotional connection.”

From law enforcement visits to tours of advanced manufacturers, the students are immersed in the workplaces during their Talent Tours.

Talent Tours

“I’m impressed with how well they interact and how enthused they appear to be here,” said Todd Thompson, production manager at Daktronics. “I always tell them to find something they enjoy doing for a job. A job doesn’t have to be a burden. It should be something you enjoy doing.”

And these students are seeing that. Many said Talent Tours confirmed their career direction. For a closer look at the program, click below.

Talent Tours

From Texas to South Dakota, family who braced for winter now embraces it

The Berger family got a full-on introduction to what a South Dakota winter can be like – and raves about their recent move anyway.

It all started when Travis Berger moved from Texas to Sioux Falls in February. He works in private equity and is a food scientist and chef doing product development for a local company.

While traveling here leading up to the move, “he was stuck in his hotel and got snowed in, and everything shut down,” his wife, Paige, said. “So there are people stuck in the hotel, and he literally hopped in the kitchen and helped feed everyone.”

Neither of them knew anything about South Dakota, and after several moves, they weren’t inclined to leave central Texas.

But after Travis came to Sioux Falls to interview late last year, “he kept saying, ‘Paige, the people are so nice.’ And I’m like, you know what, let’s do it,” she said. “And it’s true. What sold us are the people. Texas prides itself on Southern hospitality, nice people, manners, all that jazz. But South Dakota people kick Southern hospitality’s butt.”

The whole family of five – including 1-month Willa at the time – moved March 1. After buying their house through a virtual call, they’ve now moved in and are getting to know their neighborhood.

“We had just seen the house through pictures, and I am obsessed. I love it,” Paige said. “We lived in a nice neighborhood in Texas too, but here there are kids everywhere running around. It’s so safe. When we pulled up, kids were in everyone’s backyards and sledding. It was crazy. The neighbors were so nice immediately.”

Not only is their neighborhood like that, “the entire town is,” she continued. “I go grocery shopping, and it’s funny because when we lived in Oregon, for instance, people wouldn’t talk to each other. Here, at the grocery store even though I know no one, I might be there talking to strangers for 20 minutes. It’s welcoming. It’s warm despite the cold weather, and it’s a really, really nice culture.”

And speaking of the weather, they’ve embraced that too. Their home is minutes from Great Bear Ski Valley, so the kids already have been tubing.

Her oldest, 5-year-old Milam, starts soccer soon and then baseball, while 2-year-old Nila is registered for gymnastics.

“Our family is big in sports, so we caught the end of winter, which was really fun, and my husband and I are really looking forward to hunting season,” Paige said. “We don’t have any pheasants at all in Texas, and we can’t wait.”

While being mom to three young kids — and a new puppy, appropriately named Dakota — is her full-time job for now, she said she’s excited to connect in the Brandon Valley School District and become involved.

“Before in Texas, I worked with the school a bunch and coached and substitute taught, and I thought about running for school board, so I intend on being involved in the schools here as well as the churches,” she said.

The Berger family’s early experience is a great indicator of what awaits in Sioux Falls, said Denise Guzzetta, vice president of talent and workforce development for the Sioux Falls Development Foundation.

“So often, we see families choose to relocate for one spouse’s job, and the other spouse quickly discovers what a fantastic move it is for them too,” she said.

“Whether Paige chooses to work or volunteer or become civically involved, she’s going to find that same welcoming attitude she’s already experienced. And along the way, the whole family is going to see how family-friendly this community is, from our safe neighborhoods to our terrific schools to the attractions and amenities that add to the quality of life here.”

And in maybe the most promising sign so far: When Paige asked her son if he would miss the snow when it melted, “he was actually sad,” she said. “Because he thought it would be here 24/7.”

Ready to learn more about carving your own path in Sioux Falls? Visit siouxfalls.com, or reach out to deniseg@siouxfalls.com.

President’s report: Workforce, workforce, workforce

by Bob Mundt, President and CEO

For the past six years, the Sioux Falls Development Foundation has been challenged to provide the region with a workforce development strategy that will help our current companies recruit and retain workers and fill the workforce needs of companies we are recruiting to our region. I believe we have implemented a series of programs (13) that, in one way or another, have met that challenge.

Focusing on our middle schools, high schools, universities/tech schools and retraining opportunities, we have added to the pipeline. Internships and apprenticeships have brought new workers to our doorsteps, and our WORK Sioux Falls initiative has spread the word that jobs are available in Sioux Falls with amazing benefits and a superior quality of life. Even so, we continue to experience low unemployment and a constant need for more workers, triggering the question: Where have all the workers gone?

The article below from the Bank of America Institute may help explain what has happened nationwide since COVID-19 and the changing demographics of workforce development in Sioux Falls.

Chairman’s report: New year, new opportunity

By: Steve Kolbeck

With every new year, there seems to be new challenges which in turn bring new opportunities. I am honored to be chairing the Sioux Falls Development Foundation this year as we rise to meet these challenges. Previous leadership has placed us in a good position to capitalize on past decisions and be ready when we need to be.

Foundation Park has met or exceeded expectations providing new development, tax base and new jobs for the community. With companies like Amazon, FedEx, Lineage Logistics, Nordica, Tessier’s, Dakota Carriers, and our newest tenants – Scherer, Inc. and Muth Electric in Foundation Park South, we established a Tax Increment Finance District north of the tracks with the help of the City to fund the build out of Foundation Park North to accommodate CJ Foods North America beginning in 2024.

In 2022, we graded the entire 500+ acres of ground north of the tracks and have just accepted bids for the installation of roads, water, sanitary and storm sewers. These actions taken by the Foundation will allow the development of “build-ready” lots north of the tracks soon and a premier showpiece for prospects considering Sioux Falls for expansion or relocation. With the changes in interest rates, inflation and supply chain issues, these buildable sites make our location stand above the competition.

In addition, our workforce development efforts stand as a model for the region as we administer 13 specific programs to help our existing companies find workers, ranging from Career Connections in our high schools to our university and tech school recruitment through INTERN Sioux Falls, UPSKILL Sioux Falls, WORK Sioux Falls, and a host of talent recruitment efforts reaching potential workers in the 300-mile radius.

2023 will be a year with new challenges, but the Sioux Falls Development Foundation is meeting those challenges. We encourage all of you to join us through membership in the Foundation and through connecting with us if you have expansions in your future. We appreciate your involvement in Sioux Falls and the Foundation and thank you for being a part of our growing community.