Sioux Falls is the 6th hardest working city in America

We work smarter, and harder

Welcome to Sioux Falls, SD, where our residents are among the hardest working people anywhere in the United States!

Recently, WalletHub ranked Sioux Falls as the 6th hardest-working city in America. Using factors like employment rate, work week hours, commute time, and community activism, the study confirmed that Sioux Falls a great place to work.

“In order to determine which cities outwork the rest of America, WalletHub compared the 116 largest cities across 11 key metrics,” the article publishing the findings says. “Our data set ranges from the employment rate to average weekly work hours to the share of workers with multiple jobs.”

To see the full methodology and how other cities compared, click ‘learn more’ below.

Virginia couple finds career growth, better lifestyle with move to Sioux Falls

Nick Kolb and Sidney Stone agreed: It was time to leave Virginia.

“The cost of living, congestion, traffic, it’s all outrageous,” said Kolb, 29, who was working as an assistant to a dispatcher at UPS balancing delivery routes at the time.

“The weather’s gross too,” added Stone, 27, who began her career as a patient access technician in a hospital and then became a supervisor at UPS. “I cannot put enough emphasis on how terrible it is to step out at 6 a.m. and not breathe because the air is so thick with humidity.”

While they both worked at UPS, they didn’t meet there. That happened thanks to some matchmaking on the part of Stone’s mother, who met Kolb through the fitness center where she worked.

“We both thought something needed to change,” Kolb said. “We hadn’t taken a trip together, and we like to be outdoors kayaking and hiking, so we wanted to go somewhere outdoorsy but not a hot attraction, so I said you’ve got the Black Hills and Mount Rushmore.”

Sidney Stone and Nick Kolb

He was familiar with this part of the country because his dad grew up in Minnesota. And even though the couple was traveling to western South Dakota, the best option was to fly into Sioux Falls and rent a car.

“So I started getting all these ads about Sioux Falls,” Kolb said.

He began reading about the city, its rankings for quality of life and career opportunities, “and I started throwing hints about South Dakota,” he said. “The cost of living is way cheaper. I figured she probably wouldn’t consider it, but since we were going out there anyway, I thought we should see what it has to offer.”

Stone was on board.

“So we decided to take one day of our vacation and drive around Sioux Falls and get a feel for the town and go downtown,” he said. “I had reservations about her liking it, but she really enjoyed it.”

Stone especially liked downtown Sioux Falls.

“And I was very skeptical at first from living on the East Coast,” she said. “But it just felt like home immediately. I can’t really put my finger on it, but there was so much to do and so much that interested us.”

While they headed to the Black Hills for their vacation, Kolb did some online searching and decided to send his resume in for an opening at Howe Inc.

“Within a week, they’d reached out and said they liked my resume and they knew I was in Virginia but would I ever come to Sioux Falls?” he said. “And I said it’s funny you’d ask that because I’m in South Dakota right now.”

Sidney Stone and Nick Kolb

They woke up at 3 a.m. and drove east across the state so he could make the job interview.

“And I woke up the following day with a job offer,” Kolb said. “I looked at Sidney said, ‘We can’t turn this down.’ And she said, ‘Let’s do it.’ So I accepted the offer, and a month later we moved out here in August of 2021.”

He’s now a commercial HVAC installer for Howe, which has helped him with on-the-job training and saw how his process skills from UPS translated to his new role.

“I love it,” he said. “The big change for me was I was used to a very repetitive workday, and now in commercial HVAC, every day is something different, and I look forward to it. I’m going into different businesses all around town and even out of state.”

Stone immediately began finding jobs too, first working in inside sales and then in human resources. She’s now a senior HR manager at Fleet Farm.

Sidney Stone and Nick Kolb

“I love Fleet Farm,” she said. “They gave me a really big opportunity, and they haven’t made me feel like it’s too much on my plate. I have my director’s ear whenever I need it, and when I have important questions, she’s always there for me. Having your boss actually be there, even if it’s virtual, to talk you through things is something I value so much. I love what I do and love the people I work with.”

The couple’s experience is a great example of the career opportunities and lifestyle early-career professionals find in Sioux Falls, said Denise Guzzetta, vice president of talent and workforce development for the Sioux Falls Development Foundation.

“This couple came to Sioux Falls with skills and early work experience, and Sioux Falls has delivered fantastic professional growth and mentoring,” she said. “They’re both going to be able to build their careers and professional networks here for years to come.”

Outside of work, “we’re big foodies, and we’ve discovered Sioux Falls has a great food scene,” Stone said. “And we’ve done The District, which was cool and reminded us of one of the venues in Washington, D.C.”

They’ve also done downtown First Fridays, concerts at Levitt at the Falls and explored Palisades State Park and Valley of the Giants hiking trail at Big Sioux Recreation Area in Brandon.

Sidney Stone and Nick Kolb

“We’ve already gotten a group of friends,” Stone said. “You don’t create friend groups that quickly on the East Coast. It’s just not a cultural norm.”

The same has been true professionally, she added.

“There’s such a great HR community here. In Virginia, the groups felt very exclusive, and here I’ve already joined two HR groups, and I didn’t think I would be able to get a foothold that quickly,” she said. “It’s only been a year, and it’s been a whirlwind. It’s amazing we were able to get this chance just by moving here.”

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

California family’s first impression prompts fast move to S.D., new business venture

A short stay in South Dakota was all it took to convince Jared and Katrina Smith to move east.

“We visited at the end of February and on the ride back home to California we decided to move,” Katrina Smith said. “From there, we just started packing and three months later we were headed here with our truck and trailer.”

Smith Family in front of Mt. Rushmore

They had come to South Dakota – Hartford, more specifically – to help settle the estate of Jared’s stepbrother.

“And we decided it would be in everyone’s best interest for us to buy the house and keep it in the family,” Katrina said. “He lived in Hartford, so we just decided to pick up where he left off.”

Talking with the neighbors, Jared said he quickly realized this community was different.

“I said to them that I didn’t know places like this still existed and that there were people like these – people who are still willing to get out of the car and help change a tire or help a neighbor cut a tree or just wave and say hi and smile instead of waking up in a bad mood hating the world,” Jared said.

“It was a short stay, but just that little time we were here was enough to say we did not want to go back to California.”

Smith Family in Mountains

They moved to Hartford in May and their first impression hasn’t wavered, Katrina said.

“I remember thinking this feels like a place I want to raise my kids,” she said. “Everyone is so, so friendly and that is something that doesn’t happen back home. There everyone looks at you sideways and wonders what you want, and here everyone I met was so humble. They’re just really welcoming. They talk to you. Everybody waves. It’s almost like a movie.”

As they were moving – he was in Hartford and she was flying in from California – the May derecho hit, and the sense of new community hit home.

“Jared called me and said you wouldn’t believe what just happened – all the neighbors are outside checking on each other,” Katrina said. “That’s when it really hit that we’re in a small town and everybody is open arms and willing to help.”

Then came the job search. Jared, who has a background in manufacturing, construction and maintenance, easily found a job at Central States Manufacturing.

“It was extremely easy to find a job – I have four offers before I even got here,” he said. “It was crazy. But I like my job. It has really good benefits.”

For Katrina, the move prompted her to take on small business ownership. She previously worked for a large health insurance company but was looking for a more flexible schedule that allowed her to use her skills in electrolysis.

She opened Zap That Electrolysis last month in a storefront in downtown Hartford next to City Hall.

Zap That Electrolysis Hartford SD

“It’s permanent hair removal,” she explained. “You literally go follicle by follicle, which is tedious, but it’s the only permanent method. It’s FDA-approved and recommended by a lot of physicians who are going to be doing surgery or grafting of some area where they need hair removed.”

She’s been surprised to see few offering or familiar with the service in the Sioux Falls area, she said.

“Back home it was so busy with wait lists,” she said. “I’m finding out people don’t know what it is here or know the benefits, so I’m trying to bring in the education portion of it.”

To connect with her business, click here.

The lifestyle also has been a huge benefit for their three kids, ages 11, 3 and nine months.

Smith Family in Sioux Falls

“The main thing is the kids can go outside and play,” Jared said. “You don’t see that much in California.”

In fact, concerns over drug use even in elementary school had prompted Katrina to consider home schooling.

“It’s so available at their fingertips and it’s so scary but here it’s just so different,” she said. “Our daughter has made friends, she’s gone to her first sleepover and she’s adapting very well. And our three-year-old loves it. She loves to be outside and back home we really didn’t have much grass.”

For fun, the family has enjoyed discovering all that nearby Sioux Falls offers, including Falls Park and Wild Water West.

“We really like it here,” Katrina said. “Hartford is a very small town, but Sioux Falls has about the same number as our town back in California. I like all the open land in Hartford but how we have everything conveniently close.”

The Smith family’s experience is increasingly common, said Denise Guzzetta, vice president of talent and workforce development for the Sioux Falls Development Foundation.

“We see so many people from the coasts, especially California, who are discovering they love the lifestyle here,” she said. “I’m not surprised at all that this family found so many career options, a welcoming place for business ownership and the quality of life they want for their children. We’re so happy they’re part of our growing Sioux Falls region.”

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

Couple from Detroit settles into Sioux Falls as son also chooses city for college

A job search and a college search collided in one place this year for a Detroit family: Sioux Falls.

Dr. Bart Miles and his wife, Jennifer Knightstep, have lived all over the country. She was born in California and spent much of her life in Michigan; he has been in the Detroit area since 2003.

The closest he came to South Dakota was as a student at Dordt Univeristy in Sioux Center, Iowa, in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

“I had friends in Sioux Falls, and at the time I was at Dordt, I’d come over once in awhile to go to a movie. Sioux Falls was significantly smaller, and I hadn’t been back since,” said Miles, whose family still lives in the Omaha area, where he grew up.

When he saw Augustana University was launching its social work program, he applied and interviewed to become an associate professor.

Dr. Bart Miles

“So for the first time in 30 years, I came back to Sioux Falls and saw it and really had a great experience,” he said.

When he returned to Michigan, he said: “Oh my gosh, Sioux Falls is so cool. You’re going to love it there,” Knightstep said. “We had traveled through Sioux Falls, but I hadn’t been to stay and visit. I really love South Dakota though, the Badlands, and whole state is just beautiful to me.”

The social work program is part of Augustana’s broader Viking Bold 2030 strategic plan. The Harriet Emily Scott Social Work Program at Augustana will include Bachelor of Social Work and Master of Social Work degrees.

Miles is helping develop the curriculum, with a plan to go through accreditation and fully launch the bachelor’s program in 2024, followed by the master’s program in 2027.

“The U.S. Labor Department says social work is one of the fastest-growing occupations and is projected to stay that way for another at least 10 years,” he said. “As Sioux Falls expands, there will be higher and higher demand.”

And while this Augustana program proved the right fit for Miles, the school also rose to the top of his son, Nic’s, college search.

Miles Family

“He knew he wanted a smaller school, maybe a private institution that was more personalized,” Knightstep said. “When he applied to Augustana, he didn’t tell them he was related to a faculty member. He wanted to see what happened on his own, and he did it. He loved it. He went on his first campus tour and said it was exactly what he was looking for in a university.”

Nic will be a freshman this fall studying biochemistry and botany.

And he won’t have far to go for a trip home. The family decided to begin life in Sioux Falls by renting a house not far from campus.

“We looked downtown, we could be downtown urban-living folks, but our dog decided she wanted a yard, so we found a nice little house near the university,” Knightstep said. “Everyone we’ve met has been so nice. The day we unloaded the U-Haul the neighbor across the street came over with a dolly and offered to help us move.”

She also has found a warm reception for her own business: Jen Knightstep Photographer.

She specializes in newborn photography and already has found clients through word of mouth in Sioux Falls.

newborn photography

“I had my first session here a week after we moved,” she said. “I had posted in a Facebook group that I was new in town and offering to photograph babies, and someone reached out and ended up being an ideal first client.”

She runs her business through jenknightstep.com.

“It’s a niche area of photography,” she said. “You can’t just pick up a camera and start shooting newborns. You need safety training, to know how to pose them and to know how to get them to sleep.”

newborn photography

The photographer in her also appreciates the landscape of Sioux Falls.

“We were just at Falls Park, and it was amazing. We don’t have anything like that in Detroit. Right here in downtown, 2 miles from my house, there’s a literal waterfall. It’s gorgeous. I can’t wait to start shooting here.”

Dr. Bart Miles and his wife, Jennifer Knightstep

In their free time, the family loves spending time outdoors.

Knightstep likes to go for morning jogs and recently joined a local running group. They’re both training for the Detroit marathon this fall.

“And I love biking and think I’m really going to enjoy that here,” Miles said. “I’m contemplating getting a road bike because there’s so much space for road biking.”

Dr. Bart Miles and his wife, Jennifer Knightstep

Their son loves it too, Knightstep added.

“He loves wandering around downtown and loves Falls Park, and I can imagine families with small children would love everything there is to do too,” she said. “You’re usually no longer than 10 or 15 minutes from anything in town. In Detroit, it could take an hour. Everything is close together, and yet there’s still good diversity whether it’s a Mexican mercado or great barbecue.”

The family is a wonderful example of how people from many stages of life find a fit in Sioux Falls, said Denise Guzzetta, vice president of talent and workforce development for the Sioux Falls Development Foundation.

“We could not be happier that this family has connected to our community in so many ways,” she said. “But that’s exactly what Sioux Falls offers – opportunities to grow something from the ground up, like this incredibly valuable social work program, build your own business, including as a solo-preneur and find an amazing place to go to college.”

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

Twin Cities business owner moves family to Sioux Falls with immediate positives

A spring break trip to South Dakota?

When Joe Brummel’s wife and two teenagers didn’t turn him down immediately, he knew the idea that had been brewing in his mind might have the chance to become reality.

“When COVID hit, we couldn’t help but notice that in the Twin Cities it was lockdown central and a lot of unreasonable considerations, and in South Dakota right next door, we kept hearing about a different approach,” said Brummel, who has lived in the Twin Cities most of his adult life.

“And so we just paid more and more attention to it.”

He’s the owner of two businesses – Strategic Retirement Partners, an SEC-registered investment adviser that helps employers set up group retirement plans and guides employees through using them – and Plan Sponsor Roundtable, an interactive education forum for employers that oversee and run retirement plans.

“I had built a team in the Twin Cities, and we were adding clients in the Upper Midwest, including South Dakota, and I realized South Dakota was growing, and there was an opportunity to do more here,” Brummel said. “I felt South Dakota was going to be best served by someone from my team being on the ground here, and it turned out that was me.”

But first, the spring break trip.

Instead of heading to Florida, he and his wife, RoAnna, and their high schoolers headed west.

Brummel family

“I started talking to clients and got great recommendations for places to go, and the family jumped on board,” he said. “So in March, we made a trip to the Black Hills and checked out the sights and had a ton of fun. Little did the kids know, but my wife and I were contemplating a move out here.”

Meanwhile, “the whole time we were on vacation, our son kept saying we should move to South Dakota, and we just looked at each other,” Brummel said.

Brummel family

They weren’t sure their daughter, who was heading into her senior year of high school, would feel the same, but that changed too.

“After we got home, we began having conversations with her, and she was telling us how at school things were difficult and she couldn’t wait to be done with high school and go on to college,” he said. “That gave us the confidence she’d be OK with a move, and when we told the kids what we were thinking, they said, ‘Yeah, let’s do it.’”

Brummel family

They officially made the move in mid-August, enrolling their kids at Bishop O’Gorman Catholic Schools and connecting with the Catholic Men’s Business Fraternity, which helped Brummel meet others early on.

“I got connected with helpful, awesome people,” he said. “Including a real estate agent and an attorney to help move my business. The school has been an excellent experience and made a huge difference for our kids, helping them integrate and making sure they got settled with the right classes.”

That’s not to say there weren’t some transitional challenges. Their house in Minnesota took longer to sell than expected, and they caught COVID-19 in the middle of the move. But now, even his daughter said “she has made better friends here than she had in high school in Minnesota,” Brummel said.

“It’s just great. Quite honestly the hidden secret about South Dakota is the quality of the people. They’re just authentic.”

His daughter just found a part-time retail job and plans to stay in South Dakota for college, attending SDSU. His son is looking for a summer job and also has made good friends already, he said. After renting while house-hunting, the family just moved into a home in Harrisburg.

Brummel family

“It took us some time to get a feel for the housing market, but we found a place with almost 2 acres and a private backyard, and we’re super excited,” Brummel said.

The next steps include getting more connected to the community, especially for RoAnna as a stay-at-home mom.

“She’s still meeting people, and that can be challenging,” Brummel said. “But we recently got connected with the Newcomers Club in Sioux Falls, and we met really great people through a couple different churches, so we’re grateful for that, and meeting new people really doesn’t seem very hard to do.”

Brummel also plans to hold an education session through his business in the coming months in Sioux Falls.

“This is considered a smaller market for something like that, and to my knowledge there’s never been any kind of fiduciary training program here like it in South Dakota, so it should be a completely new service,” he said.

“I have talked to a variety of local business leaders about this, and everyone seems to be excited that we are bringing it here.”

He’s also learned he’s the only Certified 401(k) Professional in the state, according to the Retirement Advisor University, which provides the training and certification for the designation.

“Specialists in just about every field tend to offer and do more than generalists, with better results to show for it,” he said. “This is a big reason I am excited to be in South Dakota now, to help companies here better manage their retirement plans and to improve results for their companies, leadership and employees.”

The family’s experience is indicative of many newcomers in Sioux Falls, said Denise Guzzetta, vice president of talent and workforce development for the Sioux Falls Development Foundation.

“We especially continue to see a Minnesota migration as families from the Twin Cities and beyond discover there’s a different life just a short drive away,” she said.

“They’re moving businesses, settling their kids in great schools, connecting with civic organizations and loving their new neighborhoods. We’re thrilled the Brummel family is finding the same experience.”

The culture of Sioux Falls and South Dakota immediately stood out and continue to, Brummel added.

“There are awesome people in Minnesota, but here the people are just different. I quickly felt at home having grown up on a farm in Wisconsin where there’s the same mentality in South Dakota that you help each other out, you do what you can and be a real person and do the right thing,” he said.

“I’m happy to say it wasn’t just a honeymoon feeling – the people here are great, and I think they are the best and most underrated part of South Dakota.”

Are you looking to make a move to Sioux Falls? Visit siouxfalls.com to learn more about the community, or email deniseg@siouxfalls.com to get connected to career opportunities.

Sioux Falls metro building homes at 5th fastest rate in the nation

Lately, headlines of housing shortages, inflation, and interest rates have homebuyers wondering if a slowdown will happen any time soon. If you find yourself in that boat, Sioux Falls might be the place for you! According to a recent report from Inspection Support Network, the Sioux Falls Metro is building houses at the 5th fastest rate in America among small metros!

“To determine the metros building the most homes, researchers at Inspection Support Network analyzed the latest data from the U.S. Census Bureau and Zillow,” the release said. “The researchers ranked metro areas according to the number of new housing units authorized per 1,000 existing homes in 2021. In the event of a tie, the metro with higher total new housing units authorized in 2021 was ranked higher.”

Learn more and view the full results below!

From Atlanta to Sioux Falls, couple with global history chooses S.D. after lots of research

Brian and Katherine Robinson began their move from Atlanta with this question: “Where do we not want to live?”

The couple, who’d spent 12 years overseas before moving back to the U.S., had found “Atlanta had gotten so big and had changed so much,” Brian said. “We thought about living overseas, but with COVID and the uncertainty, the U.S. is probably best for us. So we first blacked out all the areas we didn’t want to live.”

That left a large open space in the middle of the country, from Idaho to South Dakota. The Robinsons began their research from there.

Brian and Katherine Robinson

“Sioux Falls has a lot of good information about it online, there’s a lot of good vibe online about Sioux Falls, so we did a drive,” Brian said. “We came to Sioux Falls in August of last year and then went to Wyoming and Colorado to do a comparison.”

The more they thought about it, the move became clear.

“Sioux Falls is great because it’s big enough but not too big,” he said. “It’s a regional hub, so it has a lot of things a larger city would normally have but a city of 200,000 wouldn’t have. It has changing diversity, it’s growing, the economy is good, and people you talk to are really excited to be in Sioux Falls, so there’s a community aspect.”

They liked that it wasn’t a part of the country where they’d spent much time, “so for us it was another adventure,” Katherine said. “It came down to the in-person visits. We spent time downtown. It’s a very vibrant, exciting, warm, welcoming place, and I think that really did it for us. Being downtown, sitting at the Carpenter Bar, having a drink outside, it just felt really nice and hit a chord.”

Brian and Katherine Robinson

The Robinsons are able to do their work from largely anywhere. Katherine has spent a career in public health and works for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Brian’s retired from a diplomatic career in 2019 that took him to multiple continents. He now does health coaching and runs an online business sourcing and selling vintage clothing and decor.

“COVID allowed us a good solid number of months to soul search and figure out what’s important,” Katherine said. “We’re both in our early 50s, and as we enter this new phase, what is important and what do we really want? We don’t want the hustle and bustle of a big city and traffic. It was really about community and getting back to just living and being happy.”

They moved to Sioux Falls in January.

“We grew up in the South and did all our service overseas in the tropics or subtropics, so we never lived anywhere cold,” he said. “I don’t prefer the heat anyway, so to come here and have it chilly and cold, I kind of like it. It makes you think about weather in a different way. We check the weather every day and never did before, and it puts you more in touch with the natural environment because it has a larger impact on you day to day.”

They found a home in the McKennan Park neighborhood, which appealed to Brian’s affinity for historic preservation, and enjoy walking their neighborhood, visiting the park and frequenting nearby downtown restaurants.

Brian and Katherine Robinson

“We arrived during the Downtown Burger Battle, and we’re health coaches, so it’s probably not wise to have a burger every day, but we did have a chance to try a few of them,” Katherine said. “I realize it was a light winter, but we were prepared. If you’ve got the right equipment and clothing and attitude, you can live anywhere.”

Brian has joined the Founders Club of Startup Sioux Falls to connect with other entrepreneurs, and they’re both finding it easy to travel for work.

“The airport is great,” he said. “It’s a fantasy to leave your house and be at the gate in 20 minutes.”

The Robinsons are a perfect example of the many demographics of people being drawn to Sioux Falls, said Denise Guzzetta, vice president of talent and workforce development at the Sioux Falls Development Foundation.

“We are just thrilled to have them here and that they’re already becoming connected to the community,” she said. “We are seeing more remote workers at all career stages realize how convenient and enjoyable it is to work from their new home in Sioux Falls.”

Brian and Katherine Robinson

For the Robinsons, Sioux Falls has provided a warm welcome and multiple reasons to look forward to their future here.

“People are super friendly and very welcoming, and the amount of arts in the city is really refreshing and nice,” Katherine said. “I love the sculptures and the murals, the Washington Pavilion always has a million things going on, and I love that there’s a lot of outreach to the community and the youth.”

They also enjoy discovering “all the shops and small businesses being opened by recent immigrants,” Brian added. “That’s really exciting. When you think about it, few people in South Dakota have been here that long, so many of us are coming from the same background and moving in.”

Are you looking to make a move to Sioux Falls? Visit siouxfalls.com to learn more about the community, or email deniseg@siouxfalls.com to get connected to career opportunities.

Groundbreaking Season is Here

Our favorite time of the year: Groundbreaking Season

If your business is planning a construction expansion or a new facility in Sioux Falls, contact the Sioux Falls Development Foundation. Over the past six decades, the Development Foundation has hosted hundreds of groundbreakings.

We make it easy for you by providing you with a commemorative mini-shovel for display, bringing the gold shovels for the digging ceremony, inviting media and the business community, and helping you to prepare an agenda for the event.

Leah Blom Headshot
Want a groundbreaking? Contact

Leah Blom

Social and Digital Media Specialist, Sioux Falls Development Foundation

Affordable Housing Solutions breaks ground with strong public-private partnership

Building and construction season has begun, which means the Sioux Falls Development Foundation’s groundbreaking season has started as well.

Groundbreakings are special to the hosting businesses and organizations as they mark new chapters for growth and prosperity, but they also hold a special significance through the lens of Forward Sioux Falls.

Growth like Sioux Falls has experienced has been the vision of Forward Sioux Falls since its beginning. As our city grows, community leaders have managed growth with careful planning and consideration of many factors, including workforce and housing.

One recent groundbreaking celebrated the beginning of an exciting accessible housing project.

Affordable Housing Solutions (AHS) will be building six townhome/twin home units on South Sycamore Avenue. Each unit will be sold to an income-eligible buyer that meets the Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) income guidelines of being at or below 80% of the Area Median Income. The entire project is expected to cost $1.6 million, and will be complete by November 2022.

Affordable Housing Solutions Project Rendering

“There is such a need for affordable housing in Sioux Falls and the surrounding communities that adding home ownership opportunities for families who meet the required income guidelines can feel a sense of pride in achieving the American dream of home ownership,” Brent Tucker, Director of housing Development for AHS, said. “Building affordable housing developments in existing neighborhoods brings a positive impact on the surrounding neighbors.”

The project was supported by the City of Sioux Falls Accessible Housing Advisory Board (AHAB), a cooperative effort between the City of Sioux Falls and Minnehaha County. One function of the AHAB is to oversee the distribution of HUD grants, such as the Home Investment Partnerships (HOME) program.

The HOME program allocates funds to expand the supply of safe, sanitary, and affordable housing for very low-income and low-income families (source: City of Sioux Falls). As AHS brought forth this qualifying project, the AHAB partnered with AHS to provide $240,000 in HOME funds.

“Addressing our housing challenges will continue to happen through a steady drumbeat of innovative programs, partnerships, and ideas,” Mayor Paul TenHaken said. “Collaborating with our non-profit housing partners is an integral aspect of our 2026 Housing Action Plan, and we are so appreciative of Affordable Housing Solutions and their local lending partners for making these homes available to families in our community.”

HOME grants also require a 25% non-federal match from local resources. AHS received $53,000 from Wells Fargo and $90,000 from First PREMIER Bank, demonstrating the ways our community continues to invest in the future of Sioux Falls.

“We are blessed with a strong and growing economy in Sioux Falls, but it is also important for us to acknowledge some of the challenges that come with that,” Dave Rozenboom, Forward Sioux Falls Cabinet Co-Chair and President of First PREMIER Bank, said. “Workforce development, childcare and affordable housing are some of the pressing issues we are currently facing as a community. In each case, there is no single answer or magic bullet, but rather the solutions are found by people and organizations working together to do their part – one project or initiative at a time. In this case, a couple of businesses in the private sector (First PREMIER and Wells Fargo) were able to partner with the non-profit sector (Affordable Housing Solutions) and the public sector (City of Sioux Falls and HUD) to turn this project into reality. No one of us could have done it on our own, it took each of us doing our part.”

Thanks to strong public-private partnerships like this, Sioux Falls continues to benefit from the growth we are experiencing. Coupled with the initiatives of Forward Sioux Falls, we will keep working to add jobs, grow businesses and enhance our region’s quality of life.

SFDF launches workforce marketing campaign

In September 2021, the South Dakota Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED) awarded the Sioux Falls Development Foundation a $50,000 grant for workforce recruitment marketing.

The grant comes on the heels of the SFDF’s first workforce marketing campaign, WORK Sioux Falls. Using insights from that campaign, this campaign will be purely digital and video ads. The ads will be targeted geographically to Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska, North Dakota, and California to labor forces in healthcare, cyber/tech, and building and skilled trades.

OVERVIEW OF MEDIA PLACEMENT STRATEGY

The goal of the marketing campaign is to inform out-of-state job seekers that South Dakota businesses are hiring with competitive pay and great benefits. The SFDF has been working with a South Dakota advertising agency to develop a media strategy, along with digital and video ads to showcase Sioux Falls as a great place to live and have a career. Below is a sampling of the ads that started running April 10, and will be running through the rest of the year.

FREEDOM WORKS HERE ADS

In addition to the static display and banner ads above, a video ad was also created and will run in the same target markets. You can view it below:

“It’s no secret that workforce is one of the biggest challenges for businesses right now,” said Bob Mundt, President and CEO of the Sioux Falls Development Foundation. “As the leading organization dedicated to improving the economy of Sioux Falls, we’ve been proud to offer innovative workforce programs, but this grant funding gives us the opportunity to do even more, and that’s something we’re really excited about.”

This program was made possible by funding from Forward Sioux Falls, and we look forward to sharing the success after the campaign is complete.

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Forward Sioux Falls logo

 

Forward Sioux Falls is a unique, innovative program designed to grow and improve the Sioux Falls region. Created through a joint venture between the Greater Sioux Falls Chamber of Commerce and the Sioux Falls Development Foundation, we work to outline strategic initiatives to grow jobs, businesses and quality of life.

In Sioux Falls, Michigan native by way of Colorado finds happier, healthier move

Joel Kaskinen claims a “wanderlust spirit” – and with good reason.

The Michigan native’s early career ideas spanned from elementary education to speech, language and hearing and finally to public relations and communications before a passion for higher education became his direction.

“I was an RA and orientation leader during my time at school and decided I can do communications working anything and I’m going to put that skill to use in higher education,” he said.

“I just wanted to move out of Michigan and go somewhere I’d never been and do something totally different.”

He applied to graduate schools nationwide, from New Mexico to Boston, until USD contacted him from a job application portal where he’d submitted an application.

“They had some graduate assistant positions they were looking to fill and saw my profile and reached out,” he said. “I flew to Vermillion to check things out. It was a small town, not really what I was looking for, but I had great faith in the people who had reached out to me, and I loved the campus and the students and said I’m going to try it. Why not?”

That was in 2016. To be honest, he didn’t love everything about the experience. But he found what became the most important thing.

“The thing I loved about USD and Vermillion is it brought me my closest friends,” Kaskinen said. “My closest friends are here. Everyone I hold nearest and dearest I met at USD.”

And that’s why, after leaving South Dakota for nearly four years working in higher education in Colorado, the 28-year-old came back.

“I was going through some mental health stuff,” he shared. “And I wanted to be with people who are going to uplift me and fulfill me. So I came to Sioux Falls.”

In Colorado, he’d experienced tragedy three times – losing three students he worked with to suicide in a year.

“It really kind of broke me in terms of my morale and my spirit,” he said. “I didn’t feel like the community I was living in supported mental health. I didn’t feel like I had the resources I needed. I wanted to support the students, and that weighed heavily on me. I faced my own suicidal ideation and self-harm, and it led me to leave.”

Since coming to Sioux Falls early last year, “it’s been incredible,” Kaskinen said. “It’s really easy to make connections here, and I already feel like I’m integrated into the community and into this city.”

He also has found a job that is bringing him both fulfillment and healing.

Kaskinen is the community engagement coordinator for Lost & Found, a nonprofit whose mission is suicide prevention in young adults.

“I love my job because it’s really impactful and purposeful,” he said. “It’s something I hold near and dear. I turned my pain into my passion. We have lot of work to do and growth to make happen, but I do think we have opportunity for growth and movement.”

Just as important, he now feels part of a community that care about mental health, he said.

“I was living a shell of the person I am,” he said.

“I was isolated in my apartment and lost that luster for community, and being here in Sioux Falls – totally uprooting myself and distancing myself – has helped me be able to share my story. Being around a community that supports mental health fosters and perpetuates this vulnerability that allows me to feel comfortable sharing, and honestly it’s helped heal me and realize my work is important and impactful.”

Additionally, he now sits on multiple task forces and coalitions in the city and is helping with communications and social media for a new professional women’s soccer team coming to town.

“I feel like I can always find a friend,” he added. “Whether it’s in line for a beer at Fernson or walking through the Pavilion, it’s easy to find a friend. And honestly, it’s the thing I was most nervous about. I had my close circle but knew I couldn’t always hang out with them. But I’ve gone to events, networking, the Young Professionals Network, and I’ve made good friends.”

His experience is one that others can replicate in Sioux Falls, said Denise Guzzetta, vice president of talent and workforce development for the Sioux Falls Development Foundation.

“Community, career and cause is the mantra for this generation, and Sioux Falls delivers it,” she said. “We couldn’t be happier that Joel is healthier and happier in Sioux Falls. He’s absolutely right that the support system exists here for your career development, your personal growth and your social life. We can’t wait to see how he continues to help build our community.”

While at USD, Kaskinen would spend the occasional weekend in Sioux Falls but said he has been happily surprised by all he has discovered since moving here.

“This is the biggest city I’ve lived in, and there’s an abundance of opportunities, whether it’s a show at the Pavilion or State Theatre or Orpheum, last summer I started going to free concerts at the Levitt, I’m a huge runner so the trail system is awesome, and the River Greenway is something I love to do,” he said. “And I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of new food and drink and my new fun cultural options. I love that too.”

Are you looking to make a move to Sioux Falls? Email deniseg@siouxfalls.com or visit siouxfalls.com to get connected to opportunities in your field.

Dallas couple drawn to Sioux Falls by work, friends

He’s from Kansas; she’s from Indiana.

They met in Dallas, Texas.

And as of the past few weeks, Sioux Falls has now become home.

“It really is a community,” Preston Schraeder said. “We felt that even when we were visiting.”

Preston and his wife, Sherree, discovered Sioux Falls through their friends Tyson and Nikki Ellenbecker.

“Tyson was one of my roommates in dental school at Creighton,” Preston said. “And his family is based in South Dakota, and his uncle has been an owner in Southwestern Dental for about 20 years. Tyson had always said such great things about Sioux Falls, and then it became less joking about it and more thinking it was an option to move here.”

Preston and Sherree Schraeder, and Nikki and Tyson Ellenbecker

As someone without a family history in dentistry, Preston had to grow his own practice. He followed college friends to Dallas, where he met Sherree, who works in medical equipment and supply distribution.

“I went to the University of Texas in Austin for college and didn’t want to leave after graduation,” she said. “I just loved it so much, the weather was great, and I had a job lined up after school, which took me to Dallas where I met Preston.”

But after several years, they determined the Dallas area wasn’t where they saw their future.

“We felt maybe there were better opportunities, specifically for Preston, outside of Dallas,” Sherree said. “There were things that maybe weren’t ideal long term as a place to plant our roots.”

Still, “for us to finally come to the decision that Sioux Falls was a good place for us took a journey,” she continued.

They visited with their good friends several times and got to know the Ellenbeckers’ friends.

“With all the couples we’re friends with, usually one person in the marriage is from here or went to college here and they’re moving back,” Sherree said.

“A lot of them are between 30 and 40 and starting families, and they’ve come back here for a reason, and they like it, and we like these people. So I feel like we’re making a good decision. We’re moving where we have friends, and they’ve created a small community around them, and all those people have been very welcoming and excited we’re moving here.”

The move solidified when Preston unexpectedly had the opportunity to purchase Riverview Dental, where he’s now seeing patients at 2425 W. 57th St.

“My goal is to have a very traditional family practice,” he said. “It has a great patient base already, and we were very lucky to retain almost every staff member. I walked in, and it was perfect, it was what I wanted to create, so it’s nice to not have to go through the growing pains because it’s here and ready to go.”

As a medical hub, Sioux Falls becomes a natural fit for a wide variety of professionals, said Denise Guzzetta, vice president of talent and workforce development for the Sioux Falls Development Foundation.

“No matter what your career stage or specialty, you’re going to find a fit here,” she said.

“And for someone like Preston in dentistry, when you consider our growing population, the demand is going to be there. And for Sherree, whether she chooses to work remotely or locally, her skills are going to be in demand whenever she might want to consider her opportunities.”

Sherree is still in the process of moving from Dallas and said her early impressions about life in Sioux Falls are positive.

“I was surprised by how many restaurants and boutiques are downtown,” she said.

“I feel like every time we drive through, no matter what the temperature, people are outside walking around. And I don’t think COVID has caused any places to shut down. It seems like it’s alive and well, and that’s really nice to see. It’s a little smaller than Dallas, but I think there’s a lot here and everyone really loves living here.”

Preston agrees.

“It’s amazing how courteous and kind people are,” he said. “Texas is great and has Southern appeal, but it’s also a big city, and people are moving in from everywhere, and sometimes you get a little lost. It’s crazy traffic. You don’t feel that here. But at the same time, we go downtown and there are great restaurants, and it really does provide.”

For now, they’re glad to have found an apartment and are house hunting in south Sioux Falls. Sherree anticipates it won’t be long before their two dogs are making themselves at home on the city recreation trail.

“We lived near a walking path in Dallas and used it all the time, so I anticipate they’ll be running around Sioux Falls in no time,” she said. “We’ve been given really great recommendations. Everyone’s suggestions have been so helpful, so it makes us feel right at home.”

Sioux Falls’ Estimated Population Surpasses 200,000

A city of 200,000

The following is a news release from the City of Sioux Falls.

Upon another strong year of construction, strong job growth, and improvements within our community’s quality of life standards, Sioux Falls continues to see its population increase.

The population of Sioux Falls now is estimated at 202,600, a growth of 6,750 people over the last year. This 6,750-person increase over the past 12 months means the city grew at a rate of 3.45 percent.

Historically, Sioux Falls has averaged a 4,280-person annual increase for more than a decade (2.40 percent annually). In 2020, the city’s population grew by 5,100 (2.7 percent).

The population estimate is calculated by Planning and Development Services, based on a variety of data points from the U.S. Census Bureau and local building permit information.

Move from Idaho leads to Crumbl Cookies manager going ‘all-in on Sioux Falls’

This was the deal: Move his family to Sioux Falls, open a couple of cookie shops and move on in a few years.

Colby Wilson and his wife, Janessa, had never been to the city before when the topic came up last winter. He was a project manager for a health system in Idaho; she was moving toward nursing school.

But when his childhood friend Brock Stokes approached him about helping expand Crumb Cookies to Sioux Falls, he was ready to listen.

“I had been in college at Utah State where Sawyer Helmsley started Crumbl in 2017, and I knew him from playing baseball growing up, so I had kept my eye on Crumbl, and I knew they had something going, and I wanted to be a part of it,” Wilson said.

“Brock told me he had just franchised some locations in Sioux Falls and was looking for someone to manage them, so after talking about what Sioux Falls had to offer, it got us really excited, and my wife and I decided to pursue the opportunity.”

They visited for the first time in early May before making a final decision.

“We wanted to be in the community and go to church and see what it would be like to live here, and we absolutely loved it,” he said. “It was a lot of fun on Phillips Avenue, and we had an opportunity to attend a local church and got to know some folks who were super friendly. Good food, good people, we couldn’t stay away.”

They moved in July and opened Crumbl Cookies at the end of the month to record crowds.

“As soon as the store opened, this community was so fantastic,” Wilson said. “Let’s just say Sioux Falls loves our cookies. It was absolutely insane.”

And the Wilsons soon realized they loved Sioux Falls enough to buy a house right away. They’ve moved into a west-side neighborhood near Roosevelt High School and have connected to the community in a big way.

“We’ve got season passes to the zoo and spent a ton of time there, the Pavilion, Butterfly House & Aquarium. We have a membership at Sanford Wellness, so we spend a lot of time at the pool,” he said. “I’ve started to do a little cycling – I’ve been a runner in the past – and there’s a fantastic trail system, and we love dogs. The dog parks here are absolutely fantastic. And we have two small children, so it’s been fun having access to so many parks.”

They’ve also established a tradition of Sunday breakfast at the Phillips Avenue Diner, explored SculptureWalk and toured holiday lights.

“It’s been tough being away from family, but so quickly we’ve gotten friends and people we consider family,” Wilson said.

The family’s experience is one shared by many others, said Denise Guzzetta, vice president of talent and workforce development for the Sioux Falls Development Foundation.

“We hear this continually – once families discover Sioux Falls, they become connected to this community easily and in many ways,” she said.

“In Colby’s case, it’s especially fun to see he moved for a role in the retail industry and is experiencing such a good fit. We have so many outstanding retail opportunities, whether you’re looking to be an owner/manager or grow your career on the culinary or customer service side. You don’t hear as much about people relocating for these roles, so Colby is an example of why it’s absolutely something for retail professionals to consider.”

It has been so busy at Crumbl, Janessa has been helping out there while still exploring options for nursing programs.

“She wants to pursue an advanced nursing degree, and there are tons of options,” Wilson said. “Pick a university, and they’ve got a good program. It’s just tailoring to our schedule and how quickly she wants to go through a program.”

The coming year will bring new developments on the cookie front, too, as the Wilsons are helping open the city’s second store at Dawley Farm Village later in the year.

And as for the original agreement – spending two or three years in Sioux Falls – that could be changing too.

“We truly are enjoying it so much that my wife is starting to talk about five- and 10-year plans and committing to this community,” Wilson said. “We’re all-in on Sioux Falls. We’ve dug ourselves into the community as quickly as possible. We love it.”

Sioux Falls has an overall “A” Niche grade

Sioux Falls is among the best cities to live in according to Niche.com based on crime, public schools, cost of living, job opportunities, and local amenities. Niche bases their rankings on data from the U.S. Census, FBI, BLS, CDC, and other sources.

Sioux Falls ranked 53rd with an overall “A” Niche grade. Factors include:

A Good for Families

A- Jobs

A- Public Schools

A- Nightlife

A- Commute

B+ Housing

B+ Cost of Living

B+ Diversity

B Health & Fitness

B- Outdoor Activities

C+ Weather

C+ Crime & Safety

Click “Learn more” below for additional information.