From California to Sioux Falls, nurse who doubles as DJ calls move a dream come true

Ny Bradley will tell you her Sioux Falls move has been nothing short of a love story – on multiple levels.

“My now fiance, Donny, and I met seven years ago and were madly in love in Texas,” she began. “He decided he was going to go to trucking school and do well, and he went off and did that, and I was working as a nurse.”

Ny and Donny

Donny’s job led him to settle in Sioux Falls, but when he asked Ny if she’d be willing to move too, she said no.

“Sioux Falls is an excellent hub for truckers. The roads are very truck-friendly, and he’s right in the middle of the country, so he’s home every five or six days, which is unheard of for truckers,” she said.

Volvo Semi Truck

“It’s best for his balance, and I understood that, but I was only 25 or 26 years old and wanted to travel and learn music.”

Bradley’s path led her from her native Texas to Los Angeles, where she continued to work as a nurse and went to school for music production with training in audio engineering.

But the two stayed in touch and after reconnecting last year realized “we were each other’s person,” she said. “For both of us, it was something where there was no question.”

After visiting Sioux Falls twice, “it was enough for me to realize I loved it, to my surprise,” Bradley said. “I don’t feel a need anymore to experience the fast life and these big parties, not that Sioux Falls doesn’t have places for that, but I realized what I wanted was to be in a community where I felt connected. That’s why I love being here. I’ve been here like a month, but every time I visited, people were amazing and so friendly.”

Ny and Donny

It didn’t take her long to connect to a like-minded community. After posting a message on Reddit asking about the electronic dance music, or EDM, scene in Sioux Falls, a response immediately suggested she check out an event being held at Full Circle Book Co-op downtown.

She met the host, himself a transplant from New York, “and he said there isn’t much of a scene here, so we decided to partner in some way to bring forward more EDM here,” she said. “Me being a DJ and producer and him being in management event coordination, we just meshed, and we’re going to make it happen. I think a lot of people in Sioux Falls, especially the younger generation, will be interested in hearing electronic music and not having to go to Coachella or New York to hear something, so that’s what we’re going to do.”

Ny Bradley

Bradley also is far from leaving her nursing career behind. While music became her outlet working as a COVID nurse during the pandemic, she held onto a dream of being a pediatric nurse in labor and delivery or the neonatal intensive care unit.

“I’ve been in critical care and worked as a COVID nurse and did a lot of medical surgical pediatric, but in LA, every time I would apply, they would tell me I needed two years of NICU experience. Well, without getting hired, how would I get it?” she said.

While she moved to Sioux Falls without a job, she applied for two at Avera Health on the drive east.

“I applied to the mother-baby unit and the NICU, and I was offered both positions,” she said. “I’m now a NICU nurse, and I start in a few weeks. I’m over the moon. I can’t tell you how much I’m falling in love with Sioux Falls. I’ve had dreams where I’ve been a baby nurse, and now that dream is coming true. My family dreams are coming true as is finding that community where it feels like this is a great place to have kids or have a startup, depending on what I do with my music.”

In the meantime, look for her at the next House Dance Music Show at Full Circle Book Co-op on Nov. 18 when she’ll be DJing, beginning at 10 p.m.

Ny Bradley

In her free time, she enjoys meditating at Falls Park, where she’s inspired with ideas for songs, as well as discovering unique experiences like corn mazes. She lives just south of Sioux Falls in Harrisburg and is loving her shorter commutes.

“I’m used to it taking 45 minutes to go to work, and this is the best. It takes me no time,” she said.

Bradley’s experience in Sioux Falls might sound too good to be true, but it’s not outside the norm, said Denise Guzzetta, vice president of talent and workforce development for the Sioux Falls Development Foundation.

“Everything you’ve heard from Ny about her experience can be replicated and is reflective of what this community offers,” she said. “It is an outstanding place for health care, for trucking, for the arts and for those interested in starting a business and starting a family. It is as easy to get connected as Ny has found. We’re thrilled she and Donny will be starting their life together here and can’t wait to see how they continue to contribute to building our community for others.”

Ny and Donny

How does Bradley know the community is ready for her to put her unique spin on it? She thinks back to that first house show downtown, where she saw everyone from teenagers to people in their 70s dancing away.

“A man put his cane down and got on the dance floor. I didn’t even see this in Los Angeles,” she said. “It filled my heart with so much joy and confirmation that this is what I want. Sioux Falls ended up being literally everything I wanted, and I feel like one of the best things I can do is contribute something back.”

Are you ready to continue your career journey in Sioux Falls? Email to get connected, or visit to learn more.

Sioux Falls is the most affordable city in America

“After crunching the numbers, Sioux Falls, South Dakota, is the No. 1 most affordable U.S. city for working adults. The cost of living here is below the national average, which means your dollar will go further in Sioux Falls than, say, San Francisco,” the Reader’s Digest study says.

“And if that’s not enough to lure you to South Dakota’s largest city, know that the Empower study also looked at the best places to retire and named Sioux Falls the third most affordable city for retirees.”

DSU’s Griffiths: AI-driven workforce disruption is coming fast

In a matter of weeks, Dakota State University President José-Marie Griffiths will speak to U.S. senators about workforce and economic disruption.

But you can hear her thoughts on the topic sooner than that in Sioux Falls.

Dr. Jose Marie Griffiths

Griffiths will help lead off the WIN in Workforce Summit on Nov. 1 as part of the panel Talent Talk: Get To Know the People Changing Our Workforce Landscape. The annual event will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Sioux Falls Convention Center and will bring together thought leaders such as Griffiths for a look at what the future holds for talent development, attraction and retention.

“Clearly, we’ve got to talk about the role of technology, both the positive and negative, what you should and should not do with it,” said Griffiths, a leading authority on artificial intelligence and cybersecurity.

“It’s important to educate everyone about how these technologies work, and it’s becoming more important as AI is playing a role in so many people’s lives. The whole conversation around it has completely changed in the last six months. Many businesses are using AI without necessarily even realizing they’re using AI, and some are still thinking AI just began when actually it’s been around since the 1950s.”

The landscape is rapidly changing, however, and workforce will be disrupted because of it.

“Certainly within five years, maybe in three. It’s going to move quickly,” Griffiths said. “Everyone is concerned about it replacing jobs and how we’re going to retrain people who lose their jobs to something else. Some of these jobs will be doing very different things, and we’ll be learning how to work with technology rather than away from technology.”

While there will be the need to upskill in areas, Griffiths said the “power skills” – or what you might think of as soft skills – are going to be just as critical in facing the future.

“Your ability to communicate and adapt and work well and learn while doing, ask questions and be curious will be key,” she said. “It’s not about looking at your job as something with finality but looking at it as something with context and being open to working with different technology and systems and approaches. We’re all doing it right now. We’re just going to have to become a little more comfortable with change.”

For her own workforce needs at Dakota State, Griffiths said she has found success by casting out her recruitment efforts beyond her traditional geography.

“We’re targeting areas with people who have the qualifications we need and going beyond our normal range of locations,” she said. “Most recently, five of six people we brought in for interviews are from areas we wouldn’t have touched before. And additionally, we’re working closely with the Governor’s Office of Economic Development and sending people to trade shows related to cybersecurity, so we have a presence together and can both talk about the benefits of locating in South Dakota.”

She also has a message for business leaders looking to hire DSU graduates: Get engaged early and often.

“We have career fairs, but we also have employers regularly visiting campus. They might visit a couple classes and talk about the interesting things they do or host a pizza reception for students to meet them and chat,” she said. “It’s not enough to pitch them a job. We have to pitch them a career. We have to talk about the opportunities available to advance and the pathways that exist to do interesting things.”

It’s the kind of insight attendees can expect all day at the WIN Summit, said Denise Guzzetta, vice president of talent and workforce development for the Sioux Falls Development Foundation.

“Dr. Griffiths is the perfect example of the thought leadership and actionable advice you’ll take with you at this event,” she said. “Even in the last year, the conversation around AI has completely evolved, and it’s critical to tap into what forward-thinking leaders are doing today to get ready for tomorrow.”

About the WIN in Workforce Summit

Sessions at the WIN in Workforce Summit are eligible for nine SHRM and HRCI recertification credits. The Sioux Falls Development Foundation is recognized by SHRM to offer professional development credits for SHRM-CP® or SHRM-SCP® recertification activities.

Space is limited for this transformative event, so register soon here to reserve your seat.

Nancy Kerrigan previews keynote address at WIN in Workforce Summit

Olympic figure skater and author Nancy Kerrigan knows what it takes to achieve big goals and career growth.

She’ll bring that message to Sioux Falls for the WIN in Workforce Summit, produced by the Sioux Falls Development Foundation, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Nov. 1 at the Sioux Falls Convention Center.

Kerrigan’s keynote address, “Stronger Than You Think You Are,” will inspire and challenge the crowd to tackle talent attraction, retention and development with a fresh perspective.

We caught up with her for a preview of what you can expect.

What’s the core message you plan to deliver at the WIN in Workforce Summit?

Preparation and perseverance allow you to keep pressure in perspective and deliver maximum performance.

As you travel the country speaking, what are some of the needs you see businesses facing in terms of talent attraction, development and retention? What are some things leaders can do to address that?

The most important thing in creating an environment that allows for preparation and performance is a strong support system. Putting people in place to provide the tools necessary for success and showing how that works in reality is critical. Have a good team around you and trust them.

Many in the workforce today and tomorrow will find they must continually upskill to evolve their career. You also have evolved your career multiple times and likely continue to look at new avenues. What are some strategies you’ve found to be successful in positioning your own career for the future that might be helpful to others?

Letting go of the past and having curiosity. While I will always be “the skater” to the rest of the world, for me, I have to evolve to keep growing. So putting the past in perspective and being curious about new things is very helpful.

In addition to your professional life, you’re a mother of three children navigating their middle school, high school and post-college lives. What are some generational characteristics you’re noticing in them related to education and career, and how have you been guiding them?

All the technology that they have access to means they interact with people in a different way than past generations. But face-to-face communication is still critical in my opinion. So I try to counsel them in the area of interpersonal skills, which I still think is the most important thing we can learn because we still have to live with each other.

Your career will be remembered for many reasons but certainly for your resilience – a critical element for success in the workplace today. What advice would you give to those looking to address their own resilience or lead others toward stronger resiliency?

When you fall down, which we all do, get back up. I have been told that an elite skater falls 40,000 times in their career, which means they also get up 40,000 times! We are all stronger than we think we are, so if you prepare well, you can handle just about anything.

About the WIN in Workforce Summit

Sessions at the WIN in Workforce Summit are eligible for nine SHRM and HRCI recertification credits. The Sioux Falls Development Foundation is recognized by SHRM to offer professional development credits for SHRM-CP® or SHRM-SCP® recertification activities.

Space is limited for this transformative event, so register soon here to reserve your seat.

3rd quarter groundbreakings

With the change of the color of the leaves comes the change of season… Fall! Here at the Development Foundation, we associate fall with groundbreakings, and that’s been true over the past few months!

We hosted three groundbreakings during the third quarter of 2023, and we’re excited to help usher in new chapters of growth and success for each of the businesses and organizations who’ve held groundbreakings this year. Take a look below to find a recap of each one!

Northwest Elementary School

The Sioux Falls School District broke ground on the new Northwest Elementary School, being built near George McGovern Middle School. It will be completed in August 2025 and will hold 680 elementary students. The name for the school will be selected by a committee in early 2024.

L to R: Scott Lawrence, Steve Kolbeck, Dr. Jane Stavem – Superintendent of the Sioux Falls School District, Jeff Kreiter, Marc Murren, Kate Serenbetz, Carly Reiter, Dawn Marie Johnson, and Mayor Paul TenHaken.

River Greenway Phase III

The City of Sioux Falls celebrated the start of construction of Phase III of the Downtown River Greenway. The completion of the project will bring two acres of pedestrian access and recreation opportunities along the west side of the Big Sioux River along the upper reach of the Falls and many other quality of life amenities.

L to R: Don Kearney, Kayla Eitreim, Craig Lloyd, Steve Kolbeck, and Mayor Paul TenHaken.

State of South Dakota One Stop

Dream Design International hosted a groundbreaking to mark the start of construction on the new One Stop building for the State of South Dakota. The new building will house 12 state agencies that were previously located across Sioux Falls and will be completed by 2025.

L to R: Kumar Veluswamy, Mike Stanley, Andrea Smith, Scott Lawrence, Commissioner Chris Schilken, Commissioner Darrin Seeley, Steve Kolbeck, Hani Shafai, Secretary Matt Althoff, Mayor Paul TenHaken, Brad Wood, Deputy Commissioner Andy Gerlach, Deputy Commissioner Heather Perry, Secretary Melissa Magstadt, Cassie Pospishil, Cory Bleyenburg, Tom Hurlbert.

Leah Blom Headshot
Want a groundbreaking? Contact

Leah Friese

Director of Marketing and Digital Media, Sioux Falls Development Foundation

Chairman’s Report: Going Beyond

By Steve Kolbeck, Sioux Falls Development Foundation Board Chair

We’ve all heard the expression “going above and beyond.” It’s always been the tradition through Forward Sioux Falls, city projects, our educational systems, and our organization’s many programs and projects to be the best and take it one step further. To go beyond.

As the Sioux Falls Development Foundation nears eight years of developments in Foundation Park; and the half-way point of the eighth Forward Sioux Falls program, our organization is embarking on a strategic planning process to evaluate what we have done over the past five years and chart a course for the next five years. Borrowing from the recent celebration of the EROS Data Centers 50th anniversary, and their partnership with the Development Foundation for three decades, we have developed our theme for next year…GOING BEYOND.

Since those early years, the Sioux Falls Development Foundation, with the help from our partners and the Forward Sioux Falls campaigns, our region has the reputation of not just getting things done but doing them well. This has only been possible because of the willingness of municipal, business, and community leaders to go above and beyond what is expected. Donating literally millions of private dollars to partner with public funds to make things “just a little bit better” and to stand above what other communities are doing.

Two recent examples include announcements of the new skate park at 10th and Cliff and the Phase III of the River Greenway downtown. Both these projects could have been accomplished with just public dollars; but limited funds accounts for limited features. Without the addition of private dollars, these projects, and many others would be nice, but average. With the addition of private sector dollars, these attractions are now world-class and rank as some of the best in the country.

This same logic applies to the Development Foundation and Foundation Park. Without the help from the City, the State, the private sector and a general vision of what was needed to go beyond traditional parks, Sioux Falls was able to create South Dakota’s largest industrial park and only megasite. Without this, we would not have been able to create thousands of new jobs to date and nearly $600 million in new tax base for the City, the County and the school districts. Without this going beyond attitude, we would not be seeing the tremendous growth we now see downtown, the housing development, the population growth or the consistent retail and commercial growth we have experienced.

The Development Foundation is looking toward the next five years — to make sure that controlled, organized and smart growth continues. We will continue to go above and beyond, just like our EROS partners have done over the past 50 years. Just as EROS has their mission, we have ours and we will continue to look for new ways to grow our tax base, create quality jobs, and improve the quality of life for all.

Forward Sioux Falls: a look back and a look ahead

By Mike Lynch, Director of Investor Relations – Forward Sioux Falls

Those of us who have lived in Sioux Falls all our lives, or perhaps a long period of time, recognize that this community is special.

During the 1980s, business leaders saw the potential of how it could become an even greater city. There were opportunities to diversify the economy and take Sioux Falls from what was then a regional hub to a city of national prominence. To do this, however, there would need to be an ambitious marketing effort as well as recruiting both businesses and people to take us to that next level.

It was not always an easy road. Some community members felt issuing bonds to fund new projects was too risky and not fiscally responsible. Many with this perspective did not want Sioux Falls to grow. Local leaders recognized that in order to overcome this sentiment and advance our community, an organized and dedicated effort would be needed.

To have a significant impact, it was decided that a centralized focus with dedicated planning and resources would be required. As the business community had great respect for both the Chamber and Development Foundation, forming a partnership between the two and creating Forward Sioux Falls was the most appropriate way to meet these lofty goals.

The Chamber’s Evan Nolte and Development Foundation’s Roger Hainje began conversations with National Community Development Services (NCDS) Founder Howard Benson. NCDS was based in Atlanta and had facilitated successful economic development programs in both Atlanta and Denver. Creating a five-year program would allow adequate time to do the important work within each of the program initiatives.

From there, the first Forward Sioux Falls program was established and has to the present day, adhered to the following structure:

  • A new program is freshly imagined to ensure the business community’s most acute economic development and workforce needs are addressed.
  • Program initiatives are formulated.
  • The campaign is conducted, and funds are raised to fund the program.

Over the past three decades, there has been exceptional trust in the process. Serving as the Forward Sioux Falls governing body, the Joint Venture Management Committee (JVMC) oversees both programmatic and fiduciary elements.

Forward Sioux Falls is midway through our five-year program. We are well on our way to meeting our five-year goals, which include:

  • 4,500 new, direct jobs at above median wage added
  • $500 million in new capital investments
  • $250 million in new property tax revenues
  • Over 300 acres of land sold and developed
  • 300 existing companies assisted

The success of Forward Sioux Falls is made possible by the commitment from our investors who understand the program’s positive, collective impact and also how putting competitive differences aside results in a community-wide return on investment.

President’s Report: Focus on the Future

The mission of the Sioux Falls Development Foundation is:

To collaboratively create quality economic growth and workforce development to improve our quality of life.

We will accomplish this through our core values:

  1. Demonstrate integrity and accountability in everything we do.
  2. Provide relevant and creative solutions.
  3. Pursue the “win/win” in everything we do.
  4. Trust and respect our partners and ourselves.

This is the mission and the core values of the Foundation and the basis for our current strategic planning process. Since the inception of Foundation Park in 2015 and the subsequent success of the past years, Sioux Falls and Foundation Park have changed dramatically. With the addition of national brands including Amazon, Federal Express, Lineage Logistics and CJ Foods as well as regional brands including Nordica, Muth, Tessiers, Scherer and Dakota Carriers, Foundation Park and Sioux Falls is becoming a location of choice. Literally hundreds of millions of dollars in new tax base and thousands of good paying jobs.

All this was planned and envisioned eight years ago as the Development Foundation and community leaders discussed and implemented plans to make the vision a reality. Controlled and common-sense growth takes planning so as to create an organized process for growth.

Now in 2023, the Development Foundation is again beginning to plan for the future. We have begun the process of evaluating our strengths and weaknesses and determining a direction for our future. Our planning process includes evaluating the resources we have available to chart a course for the success of Sioux Falls and the Foundation well into the future. We’ll be reviewing our land strategy, sales strategy, prospect lists, workforce strategy, incentives and the next generation of business recruitment in the Sioux Falls region.

We know that Foundation Park was just the beginning. Sioux Falls will continue to grow and the Development Foundation will continue its focus on the future. We’ll work with all of our partners to coordinate and implement positive growth and address the challenges of the future. It’s the Sioux Falls way.

Foundation Park North welcomes Avera Health and Owens & Minor, infrastructure development underway

We’re closing out the 3rd quarter on a high note with the announcement of Avera Health and Owens & Minor as the newest tenants in Foundation Park!

The 23-acre site will be home to a shared facility for the two healthcare organizations. It will allow for greater efficiencies for Avera and closer service for other regional health care clients of Owens & Minor.

The Foundation’s long-term vision, strategy, and planning for infrastructure and improvements in Foundation Park has proved successful as this is the first tenant north of the rail line.

According to Joe McSweeney, a partner in the project’s developer, Brookwood Capital, the land is “really served with utilities, and it’s ready to go, and I would credit the Foundation with that because they anticipated the demand and had the vision to design roads and start roads and bring utilities, so when a tenant comes along, they’re ready to close on the land and have everything you need there.”

Hear more from the project’s partners here.

Below are more updates on Foundation Park’s infrastructure.

Foundation Park North – Street Construction

All the sanitary sewer, water main, storm sewer and drop inlets are installed along Sechser Avenue and Memory Lane. Soukup Construction has also begun placing cement stabilization along Sechser Avenue and Memory Lane.

Next, Soukup Construction will finish placing cement stabilization west on Memory Lane towards Marion Road. When the cement treatment is finished, they will begin placing the aggregate base course.

Foundation Park North – Trunk Sanitary Sewer

Lidel Construction has placed all trunk sanitary sewer along the railroad alignment to 259th Street. Now, they are installing 15” trunk sanitary sewer north along the Interstate alignment. Currently, Lidel Construction is about 1,500’ south of 259th Street.

Xcel Power Pole Relocation

Xcel Energy has relocated all power poles along 259th Street except for the far east pole. In addition, all but three (3) of the existing power poles have been removed. Xcel plans to wrap up their work by the end of September. John Riley Construction plans to finish the remaining grading work along 259th Street by late September or early October.

Upsize Existing Trunk Sewer (south of the RR)

The design is in progress and will be completed by the end of September for submittal to the City for review/approval.

Avera leaders to detail changing strategies to meet workforce needs

Despite a workforce of more than 20,000, every team at Avera Health essentially comes together in the same way every day.

It’s called Daily Line-Up, a daily huddle with a central topic, a question to get people talking and a daily prayer to provide a moment of fellowship.

“It’s a chance to come together, communicate and be reminded of our shared mission,” said Julie Lautt, interim CEO and chief financial officer. “But even traditions like these are being reimagined by hybrid departments as they look for new ways to engage both remote and in-office employees in these conversations.”

Julie Lautt Avera Health

The simple practice – and how it’s evolving – captures the spirit of workforce development today. It’s a blend of lifting up best practices while acknowledging even they often must evolve with the workplace’s changing landscape.

“Health care can be very hard work,” said Dr. Ron Place, who became CEO of Avera McKennan Hospital & University Health Center earlier this year. “We saw during COVID, locally and nationally, some people with long-term careers in health care chose to leave the profession. We need to think innovatively to support our workforce and harness technology to extend our workforce, especially in rural areas.”

Dr. Ron Place Avera Health

Both Lautt and Place will share some of Avera’s strategies at the upcoming WIN in Workforce Summit, produced by the Sioux Falls Development Foundation. The event will be from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Nov. 1 at the Sioux Falls Convention Center, featuring speakers from a range of industries.

For Avera, those strategies are a long list that starts with the system’s mission.

“We hope to show just how important it is to fully walk the walk when it comes to our people being the vital piece of our organization they truly are, as well as how we strive to live and breathe our mission every day,” Place said.

Other approaches Avera plans to share include:

  • The streamlining of HR processes, from simplified interview scheduling to reducing barriers for job applicants.
  • Working with education partners on creative ways to fill critical needs.
  • The creation of an internal staffing organization aimed at filling jobs and improving retention, with opportunities to place both temporary workers and traveling nurses.

Avera leadership also plans to address communitywide issues impacting workforce, including affordable housing, transportation and building bridges for new American, immigrant and refugee populations to access career opportunities.

“I see that new doors are opening all the time in working with our diverse populations, but that’s an area of challenge,” Place said. “At Avera, we want to be the employer of choice for diverse populations.”

At the WIN Summit, Lautt will be part of the opening session titled Talent Talk: Meet the People Changing Our Workforce Landscape.

Dr. Ron Place Avera Health

“Leading in health care takes innovative thinking. Avera also has a unique approach because of our dedication to rural health and workforce,” she said. “We had the foresight to raise our minimum wage to $17 per hour and to improve benefits, despite national health systems shifting in the other direction. We could see this people-centered industry needed a workforce investment, and it’s that kind of thinking that has made Avera a leader for over a century.”

It also has helped with retention. Avera has more than 1,300 employees who have been part of the organization for at least 25 years, and many spend entire careers there.

“We will have critical workforce areas we are focusing on for the future,” Lautt said, adding some of the strategies being brought forward include streamlining the hiring process and partnering with university and technical schools to ensure students choose and understand areas of opportunity.

“Leaders will need to focus both on culture-building of people in the office with them and for remote employees,” she added. “This will take fresh ideas and a continual focus to keep remote employees engaged with a mission that will need to stretch beyond our facilities.”

Place will be part of a panel called New Leaders, New Rules, New Culture that will allow him to share the leadership philosophy he brought to Avera McKennan.

“I challenge my leaders to build, sustain and know their high performers and foster individual development,” he said. “It’s important to empower employees to encourage creativity. Strong leaders give credit for success, yet they take on responsibility and ensure accountability for failure.”

They also underpromise and overdeliver, he added.

“Outcomes matter. While our intentions are important, it is our actions that are critical,” Place said. “I encourage my leaders to challenge assumptions. Things don’t have to be the way they’ve always been, and, in fact, it’s impossible to keep everything the same and continue to experience success and sustainability. It’s why standardization and innovation are both key.”

About the WIN in Workforce Summit

Sessions at the WIN in Workforce Summit are eligible for nine SHRM and HRCI recertification credits. The Sioux Falls Development Foundation is recognized by SHRM to offer professional development credits for SHRM-CP® or SHRM-SCP® recertification activities.

Space is limited for this transformative event, so register soon here to reserve your seat.

Sioux Falls, SD: 2nd best job market in America

Why work harder when you can work smarter? That’s the case for us here in Sioux Falls! Recently, SmartAsset ranked Sioux Falls as the second best job market in the U.S.

“Unemployment in Sioux Falls was only 1.8%, lowest studywide,” the article releasing the findings says. “The median income was slightly above average at $73,273, of which 16.9% generally goes to housing costs. Only 13.6% of the workforce works from home here, but the commute time for others is only 16.7 minutes. Over two years, workers saw a 20% increase in the median income, and 78% got health insurance through their employer.”

To learn more about the study and how other cities compared, click ‘read more’ below!

TenHaken on workforce: It’s time to think bigger

Here’s something Mayor Paul TenHaken thinks doesn’t gets talked about enough:

“It’s the fact that we’ve had a record number of people move here in the last two to three years, and we also are met with record low unemployment, and those two things don’t jive,” TenHaken said.

“Why is that?”

That’s among the many big questions leaders will ask and begin to help answer at the upcoming annual WIN in Workforce Summit, produced by the Sioux Falls Development Foundation.

The event will be from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Nov. 1 at the Sioux Falls Convention Center and will bring together thought leaders such as TenHaken to address the state of workforce development today and tomorrow.

He will help lead off the day on the panel Talent Talk: Get To Know the People Changing Our Workforce Landscape.

“It’s great that we have so many jobs available, and Sioux Falls is a great place to live and work, but we have a lot of employers struggling as a result of that. Anything we can do to shine a light I want to do it, and that includes summits like this.”

Employers should remember that many people in the record number who moved to Sioux Falls in recent years are still working for employers not based here.

“It’s created a new step that needs to happen with workforce,” TenHaken said. “It’s not just getting people to move here for a job or getting people to move here and then hopefully they work here. We have remote employees here who could become employees for Sioux Falls businesses if they took an intentional approach to connecting with them.”

But first, “we also have to realize we’re losing people to jobs all over the country that are still in Sioux Falls,” he continued.

“They’re using the trail system, they’re living here and enjoying the quality of life but working for a company out of Denver or Austin or Nashville, and that’s very much a thing. I think we can put our heads in the sand and ignore it or realize we have to look at ways to attract people who want to come live here but not necessarily work here. The end goal is let’s get them to live here, to keep working for their employer and eventually they want to switch jobs, and they’re in our market and have a good chance of filling a local job.”

TenHaken also sees workforce issues from the perspective of an employer.

“The city is absolutely not immune from this discussion, so when people ask us about what we’re doing in government to help with workforce, it’s very personal because we have the same challenge the private sector is having,” he said.

“We’ve tried to keep pace with the private sector in terms of compensation but also offer things like time off to volunteer and help get our employees active in the community.”

The city also has invested in office environments and equipment that make it more appealing for employees to be in the workplace and is beginning a marketing campaign next year to highlight itself as an employer of choice.

“We need to do a better job of telling our story and what it means to be a public servant,” TenHaken said. “We want to deepen even more what it means to be a public servant in Sioux Falls.”

The city offers some work-from-home options “when it makes sense,” he added. “It is a tool in our toolbox we can use in the right situations, but there’s also just a culture of being accommodating and flexible if you have to come in at 8:30 a.m. because you can’t drop your kid off until then.”

Despite the workforce challenges, “I’d much rather be in our situation than other communities,” TenHaken continued. “We’ve made the right investments in everything from quality-of-life assets to our police force and the right infrastructure. So if people give Sioux Falls a look, they’re hooked for the most part. People fall in love with this community once they’re here and even more once they’ve left and realize what they’ve left. So one of our biggest focuses is how do we continue to make this a very attractive and viable community.”

About the WIN in Workforce Summit

Sessions at the WIN in Workforce Summit are eligible for nine SHRM and HRCI recertification credits. The Sioux Falls Development Foundation is recognized by SHRM to offer professional development credits for SHRM-CP® or SHRM-SCP® recertification activities.

Space is limited for this transformative event, so register soon here to reserve your seat.

From ChatGPT to virtual reality, advanced manufacturer to share insight on ‘the future of work’

When it comes to “the future of work,” you might say Steven Tims lives the topic daily.

“We’re rapidly changing to a more technically focused workforce,” said Tims, the chief operating officer of Viaflex, a Sioux Falls-based leading manufacturer of innovative polymer film and sheeting solutions for agricultural, construction, energy, geomembrane, industrial, telecom and installation services.

“We have a lot of industrial manufacturing shifting to automation, which leads to new jobs for automation technicians, engineers and in business intelligence. We’ve focused a lot on modernizing our business, and we’re starting to recruit talent to support it.”

Viaflex in Sioux Falls SD

Tims will share his experience on a panel called, appropriately, “The Future of Work” at the upcoming WIN in Workforce Summit produced by the Sioux Falls Development Foundation.

The event will be from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Nov. 1 at the Sioux Falls Convention Center and bring together cutting-edge leaders such as Tims to share actionable insight around addressing workforce opportunities and challenges.

“I’m planning to talk a lot about ChatGPT,” Tims said. “We’ve embraced it fully. We’ve educated our team about where and how to use it. I use it daily, and we now have a council around AI at Viaflex that we’re beginning to use to ensure we’re taking full advantage of the technology available.”

Viaflex also has started to use virtual reality in employee training, leveraging that technology to save thousands in training and de-risk at the same time.

“You can virtually start up a machine very safely and simulate things,” he explained. “We can even use it to do a virtual plant tour, which is a great thing to have at a recruitment booth.”

With 450 employees and six locations across the U.S., the business that began as part of the former Raven Industries still has “a lot of startup energy,” Tims added. “We’re just trying to break through, and it takes awhile to change culture.”

Employee works at computer at Viaflex in Sioux Falls SD

He plans to discuss that at the WIN in Workforce Summit too.

After trying traditional advertising for job openings, Viaflex doubled down on referrals – tripling its referral bonus for employees, “and it’s going really well,” he said. “It’s really where our best talent is coming from.”

The company isn’t shy about its drive to recruit and retrain top talent either.

“We don’t do reductions in force; we do performance management,” Tims said.

“We do ‘A’ player salaries, but you have to perform, and we don’t care if we’re known as a company where every year the bottom 10 percent drop. We want it to be hard to get in here. We do great things for our team, we’re kindhearted people, but by dealing with people who aren’t pulling their weight, everybody else’s game goes up a little bit. So it’s this great recipe for success.”

Viaflex is a perfect example of the sort of business sharing its experience at the WIN Summit, said Denise Guzzetta, vice president of talent and workforce development at the Sioux Falls Development Foundation.

“This company truly blends a focus on people with a commitment to leveraging technology, and that’s why they’ve seen impressive growth and will continue to do so,” she said. “When you come to the WIN Summit, you’re going to experience an entire day of hearing from leaders like Steven who will challenge you to think differently, invest in new ways and see workforce gains follow.”

About the WIN in Workforce Summit

Sessions at the WIN in Workforce Summit are eligible for nine SHRM and HRCI recertification credits. The Sioux Falls Development Foundation is recognized by SHRM to offer professional development credits for SHRM-CP® or SHRM-SCP® recertification activities.

Space is limited for this transformative event, so register soon here to reserve your seat.

Workforce development leader takes stock of progress, weighs in on future needs

Dave Rozenboom views workforce development through multiple lenses.

As the president of First PREMIER Bank, he recognizes there are some areas of workforce that have to be addressed at a company level.

“There are certain things you have to own as an employer – compensation, benefits, culture – but then there are things that go beyond a company level and have to be addressed at a community level,” said Rozenboom, who also has served as a leader within Forward Sioux Falls.

“There also are things we need to work together on, and in many ways, I think we’ve done a really good job on that front as a community and now are in a position where we can look at what needs to be done next.”

The annual WIN in Workforce Summit, produced by the Sioux Falls Development Foundation, is an opportunity to do just that. The event will be from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Nov. 1 at the Sioux Falls Convention Center and will bring together thought leaders such as Rozenboom to address the state of workforce development today and tomorrow.

He will help lead off the day on the panel Talent Talk: Get To Know the People Changing Our Workforce Landscape.

We sat down with Rozenboom for a look back and ahead at workforce development – and a preview of what to expect at the WIN Summit.

Looking back on the time you’ve focused on workforce development as a community leader, what kind of progress have you seen the Sioux Falls area make?

Even looking back about six years ago, it’s amazing how things have progressed. At that time, I remember an effort between the business community and higher education to align around our shared needs for a prepared workforce, and today there have been a number of game-changing initiatives. Some clear examples certainly are the Build Dakota Scholarship program, an incredible success story that changed the conversation in our community to reflect that a two-year degree can be a great career path. The full-ride Build Dakota Scholarships supported by seed money from Denny Sanford and the state of South Dakota have been completely embraced by industry partners and have really created an unbelievable program. And then more recently, the South Dakota Freedom Scholarship created the state’s first need-based scholarship that fills a critical gap. Between those two programs, we have really helped create pathways to provide greater access to education.

I also think there’s much greater awareness in the community about the increasing diversity of Sioux Falls, and Forward Sioux Falls, through Sioux Falls Development Foundation programming, has done a lot to help employers connect with this future workforce. The Career Connections program for high schoolers is a very concentrated effort to bring students into workplaces and allow employers to tell their story.

First PREMIER Bank has been a strong supporter of Career Connections and other workforce development efforts. How are this and other best practices helping you as an organization?

We have definitely seen results from Career Connections. It’s new enough that the students who participated are still in high school or college, but we’ve had students from the program go on to take part-time jobs with us and gain valuable exposure to the banking industry. Within First PREMIER, we also find a lot of value in connecting our executive leadership with our first-generation workforce. We’ll organize a lunch and invite several first-generation team members and have them share their stories with our executive team. It’s a chance to learn about the challenges they have overcome and hear what they have to tell us about their experience as employees, as well as being a chance for us to reinforce their importance to our organization. I’d encourage any organization to do something similar. A lot of this is about education – whether you’re a student, an employee or in management.

Workforce development also is about retention. What are some examples of what you have done at PREMIER to keep top talent?

I think it started very early on with our founder, Denny Sanford, and continued through our CEOs, Miles Beacom and Dana Dykhouse. Denny said very early on that culturally we want to be a company that people want to be a part of. We’ve focused on our people being our most important competitive advantage, and I think that shows.

What gaps do you think still exist in the Sioux Falls area when it comes to addressing workforce needs?

I think we need to start connecting more dots – dots from the student to school counselors, parents and employers to the opportunities that are now present. We now have all the building blocks in place. We’ve removed a lot of financial barriers, the tools are now in place, and we need to help all involved learn what’s available and how to take advantage of it.

As a community, I think Sioux Falls really is in a position to go from being a place that benefited from rural-to-urban migration to one that benefits from urban-to-urban migration. We have a diversified economy with an array of jobs, an excellent education system, low crime compared to the national average, low taxation and an amenity-filled community for our size. For a long time, people were going from the Midwest to the coasts, and now I think people are coming from the coasts to the Midwest, so I think we have a tailwind in Sioux Falls.

About the WIN in Workforce Summit

Sessions at the WIN in Workforce Summit are eligible for nine SHRM and HRCI recertification credits. The Sioux Falls Development Foundation is recognized by SHRM to offer professional development credits for SHRM-CP® or SHRM-SCP® recertification activities.

Space is limited for this transformative event, so register soon here to reserve your seat.

Nancy Kerrigan to headline innovation-focused WIN in Workforce Summit

U.S. Olympic figure skater and author Nancy Kerrigan will headline a day dedicated to unlocking the secrets of talent and workforce development in Sioux Falls.

The annual WIN in Workforce Summit, produced by the Sioux Falls Development Foundation, will be from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Nov. 1 at the Sioux Falls Convention Center.

WIN in Workforce Summit

“The message here is that we all must be prepared to change,” said Denise Guzzetta, vice president of talent and workforce development.

“The whole nature of a summit is to take a big-picture look at who we want to be as a workforce community in five years, in 10 years. What industries and occupations are growing? What skills do they need, and how we are equipping them? What benefits do we need to look at that will truly move the needle for workers?”

Kerrigan brings an inspiring story of perseverance and adaptability that will set the tone for the day, Guzzetta said.

Nancy Kerrigan

“This event draws hundreds in person and virtually each year, and our attendees have told us they want to hear from a female athlete,” she said.

“We thought Nancy Kerrigan was the perfect choice to deliver a message about overcoming the odds and being open and willing to change within your own career.”

The theme of day will focus on innovation and technology, Guzzetta said.

“Even one year ago, we were not talking about artificial intelligence to the extent we are today. That’s how fast the business landscape can change,” she said.

“This is a day to explore the groundbreaking types of strategies that can revolutionize your approach to building a dynamic workforce.”

The summit is broken into three tracks:

  • Talent attraction.
  • Talent retention.
  • Today’s issues.

Topics include The Future of Work; Global, Diversified and Distributed Workforce; New Leaders, New Rules, New Culture; The Real Cost of Recruiting; CEO Talent Talks; and Today’s Economic Issues: Childcare, Inflation and Unemployment.

WIN in Workforce Summit

Throughout the day, you’ll get a chance to:

  • Engage and hear from leaders transforming our region and workforce landscapes.
  • Find out how technology is transforming the way and how people work.
  • Learn the new playbook for employee retention in the global and diverse workplace.
  • Hear from CEOs and seasoned business leaders about where and how they are investing in the workforce to develop and strengthen their organizations.
  • Understand why today’s biggest economic issues involving child care and inflation are different and how to navigate change in these unprecedented times.

There also will be networking opportunities throughout the day, including a lunch where attendees can talk one-on-one with members of Generation Z, the youngest generation in today’s workforce.

WIN in Workforce Summit

“You’ll be surrounded by like-minded professionals who are passionate about shaping the future of workforce,” Guzzetta said. “Expect engaging storytelling and thought-provoking discussions that you can immediately take back and begin implementing in your workplace.”

Sessions at the WIN in Workforce Summit are eligible for nine SHRM and HRCI recertification credits. The Sioux Falls Development Foundation is recognized by SHRM to offer professional development credits for SHRM-CP® or SHRM-SCP® recertification activities.

Space is limited for this transformative event, so register soon here to reserve your seat.

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