Your Future STEM Summer Day Camps at Augustana University

The Sioux Falls Development Foundation will host its second annual “Your Future STEM Summer Day Camps” at Augustana University on June 26 and 27.

The Your Future STEM Summer Day Camps will welcome over 200 middle school students on campus for an immersive, project-based learning experience. Under the guidance of experienced educators and industry professionals, the students will delve into various fields, including biology, computer science, construction, engineering, healthcare, and manufacturing.

These camps, a part of the popular Your Future STEM project-based programming series specifically designed for middle school students, enhance their awareness of high-paying, high-skilled STEM-related careers that are crucial to the overall health of the Sioux Falls economy and region.

Since 2019, the Sioux Falls Development Foundation, a key player in the region, has forged partnerships with 16 regional school districts to bolster STEM awareness. This initiative supports the burgeoning employment needs in healthcare, computer and management occupations, financial services, and construction sectors, all of which are experiencing double-digit growth.

Denise Guzzetta, the Vice President of Talent and Workforce for the Sioux Falls Development Foundation, emphasizes the importance of STEM jobs in our economy. She states, “STEM jobs are here to stay. They play a vital role in our economy today and will continue to be important into the future due to high growth and the need to replace retiring workers.”

INTERN Sioux Falls: A Summer of Growth and Exploration

The INTERN Sioux Falls program is back for its second summer, offering a unique opportunity for interns in Sioux Falls. From June 4 to July 31, the Sioux Falls Development Foundation will host six events designed to immerse interns in the vibrant Sioux Falls community and showcase the exciting opportunities awaiting them.

These meticulously planned events facilitate networking among interns and their peers from various employers across the Sioux Falls community.

The program kicked off on June 4 with a “Lunch & Learn with YPN” event, which aimed to foster peer connections and provide information about diverse opportunities available to young professionals.

On June 13, in partnership with the Sioux Empire United Way, the INTERN Sioux Falls team demonstrated the community’s philanthropic spirit. Interns assembled 200 hygiene bags for the Bishop Dudley Hospitality House, making a tangible difference in the lives of Sioux Falls residents.

The INTERN Sioux Falls team will host a private networking event for interns at the Birdcage on June 18, during which they can cheer on the Sioux Falls Canaries.

On July 9, interns will have the opportunity to explore downtown Sioux Falls through a scavenger hunt, leading them to various landmarks, businesses, and locations.

July 17 will feature a networking lunch at Startup Sioux Falls, where interns can learn about business resources available to entrepreneurs from the Startup Sioux Falls team. They will also have the opportunity to learn how to best utilize LinkedIn and receive a free professional headshot.

The summer program will culminate on July 23 with a grand event at the Sioux Falls Development Foundation. This event will bring together all interns and business professionals to celebrate the successful completion of the summer internships.

The INTERN Sioux Falls program is more than just a summer internship; it’s a journey of exploration, growth, and community immersion. Through a diverse range of events and experiences, interns gain valuable professional insights and forge lasting connections and memories that will stay with them long after the summer sun sets over the plains of South Dakota.

To learn more about the INTERN Sioux Falls program, click here.

Superbowl Champion Turned Culture Advocate Leads WIN in Workforce Summit 2024 on September 24, 2024

We are excited to announce that Ben Utecht, former NFL player turned award-winning songwriter and culture advocate, will be the keynote speaker at the WIN in Workforce Summit 2024 on September 24, 2024, at the Sioux Falls Convention Center.

Utecht’s journey is a testament to resilience and transformation. From a successful career in the NFL, including a Super Bowl victory with the Indianapolis Colts, to a life-altering brain injury, Utecht’s story is one of overcoming adversity. This unique opportunity to learn from his journey, at the WIN in Workforce Summit 2024, is sure to inspire and motivate all attendees.

Despite the challenges posed by his injury, Utecht channeled his passion into music, becoming an award-winning songwriter and culture advocate. His songs have touched many hearts and have earned him recognition in the music industry.

Utecht’s influence extends beyond his music career. He has become a beacon of hope, advocating for a positive and inclusive culture in the workplace. His keynote, Believe in Culture, at the WIN in Workforce Summit 2024, will ignite a sense of optimism and possibility in all attendees, showing the power of culture in driving organizational success.

For more information on WIN in Workforce, click here.

Tickets for the event are now available for both individuals and groups. We encourage early booking to secure your spot and take part in this unique opportunity to learn from one of the most influential figures in team dynamics and leadership.

Join us at the WIN in Workforce Summit 2024 for an enlightening experience that promises to reshape how you view your workforce. Secure your tickets today and mark your calendar for an event you won’t want to miss!

Talent Thursday with Bailey Sprinkel of EmBe

Talent Thursday is a weekly social media livestream event that spotlights talent and workforce in the Sioux Falls area by sharing the stories of young professionals in our community.

For Thursday, May 16, 2024, we caught up with Bailey Sprinkel of EmBe. She shared about the organization’s work in the Sioux Falls community, from childcare, to youth programming, to aquatics, and women’s leadership. Additionally, she discusses EmBe’s hiring needs and the types of positions they are hiring for.

Talent Thursday is held weekly on Thursdays at 3 p.m. CT on the Sioux Falls Development Foundation’s Facebook page. Follow here: https://www.facebook.com/developsf

Talent Thursday

POWERED BY:

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.

Talent Thursday with Jessica Boddicker of Jans Corp

Talent Thursday is a weekly social media livestream event that spotlights talent and workforce in the Sioux Falls area by sharing the stories of young professionals in our community.

For Thursday, May 9, 2024, we caught up with Jessica Boddicker of Jans Corp. She shared about the variety of job opportunities and types of construction projects their local, family-owned business has available.

Talent Thursday is held weekly on Thursdays at 3 p.m. CT on the Sioux Falls Development Foundation’s Facebook page. Follow here: https://www.facebook.com/developsf

Talent Thursday

POWERED BY:

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.

East Coast couple finds early-career opportunities with Sioux Falls move

Think people don’t move across the country because of a humorous YouTube video?

Meet Steven Munoz and Ashley Neely, who didn’t even know about South Dakota until they saw Gov. Kristi Noem dressed as a dentist in an ad for working in the state on YouTube.

“I barely knew Mount Rushmore was here,” Munoz said. “I didn’t know any of the towns.”

But he and Neely knew they wanted to be together. After meeting in college, they were dating long-distance – he in New York and she in Connecticut – and liked the idea of a fresh start, even if it did mean halfway across the country.

Steven Munoz and Ashley Neely

“I was looking to get out of New York because it’s expensive to live there and would have taken me years to buy a house,” said Munoz, who went to tech school for an auto diesel program.

Neely, who was working for a private school in marketing and development, originally learned about the South Dakota videos from her sister.

“It was motivational and upbeat and kind of piqued our interest,” she said. “He started looking into it first, really pounding the pavement looking for a job, and then I said I’ve got to get going.”

Steven Munoz and Ashley Neely

None of it took long. Munoz first reached out in South Dakota in September and by November was part of a technical apprentice program at Cummins in Sioux Falls, learning to work with diesel engines and generators.

“It’s a six-year program where they get you all learned up and you start working on generators,” he said. “It all moved really fast.”

Neely applied for a couple of jobs and soon was hired as the marketing and communications coordinator for Boys & Girls Clubs of the Sioux Empire.

But first, they visited last fall.

Steven Munoz and Ashley Neely at Falls Park In Sioux Falls SD

“I figured we should before I move 1,500 miles, and we really liked the town,” she said. “We just explored for a long weekend, we visited the Falls and did a lot of sightseeing and visited places for apartments, and it just felt really comfortable here. Everybody was kind, and I was like, this is different. We noticed there wasn’t even a lot of road rage compared to where we come from. I realized I was really calm driving the whole time!”

He moved to Sioux Falls in November, and she began her new role in January.

“It really was an excellent hiring process and made me excited to be here because it gave me insight into how people operate here, and I’ve had a great time getting to know the kids and the families we serve,” she said.

They’ve moved into a roomy apartment in Harrisburg.

“I love it,” Munoz said. “We’re in a town house, we have a garage, which is super nice, and it’s affordable, which is really nice.”

They estimate that “what we have for a home here would have been double or close to triple on the East Coast,” Neely added.

The couple’s experience is a great example of what awaits other young professionals in Sioux Falls, said Denise Guzzetta, vice president of talent and workforce development for the Sioux Falls Development Foundation.

Both of them have met friends through their jobs who have helped them learn more about the area. In their spare time, they’ve enjoyed the Great Plains Zoo and checking out area antique stores.

Steven Munoz with Giraffe

“And we’ve been driving around a lot of the different towns,” Neely said. “We went to Canton, we went to Tea, he learned about Flandreau on a job, so we went there and one weekend and saw bison. I want to do more downtown because there are a lot of cute little shops and bars to go to.”

While they got engaged last year, they haven’t set a date or place yet. But in looking at their future, both say they’re feeling positive about the move west.

“The other day, he joked there was a job opportunity in Orlando – because I’m a huge Disney person – and I actually said: ‘I like my job. We’ll stay here,’” Neely said.

For Munoz, who loved his job from the start, “it was nice to hear” his fiancee feels the same, she said.

She already knows where he stands too.

“He’s ready to stay in South Dakota forever.”

To learn more about building your career in Sioux Falls, reach out to deniseg@siouxfalls.com.

Talent Thursday with Karen DeLange of Alternative HR

Talent Thursday is a weekly social media livestream event that spotlights talent and workforce in the Sioux Falls area by sharing the stories of young professionals in our community.

For Thursday, April 25, 2024, we caught up with Karen DeLange of Alternative HR. She shares about trends their firm is seeing and how employers can stand out to attract top talent.

Talent Thursday is held weekly on Thursdays at 3 p.m. CT on the Sioux Falls Development Foundation’s Facebook page. Follow here: https://www.facebook.com/developsf

Talent Thursday

POWERED BY:

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.

Talent Thursday with Kim Bennett of Aerostar

Talent Thursday is a weekly social media livestream event that spotlights talent and workforce in the Sioux Falls area by sharing the stories of young professionals in our community.

For Thursday, April 11, 2024, we caught up with Kim Bennett of Aerostar. With a national and global presence in the aerospace and defense industry, she shares about the types of roles they are currently hiring for, and how they are approaching talent retention.

Talent Thursday is held weekly on Thursdays at 3 p.m. CT on the Sioux Falls Development Foundation’s Facebook page. Follow here: https://www.facebook.com/developsf

Talent Thursday

POWERED BY:

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.

From Virginia to Sioux Falls, new housing leader focuses on improved affordability

She was too young to realize it at the time, but the woman now tasked with helping improve access to housing in the Sioux Falls area once was homeless herself.

“I just remember camping a lot for a summer,” said Larissa Deedrich, who recently moved to Sioux Falls from Virginia to become the new executive director of the Sioux Falls Housing and Redevelopment Commission.

Larissa Deedrich

“My dad had taken a new job as a police officer in Illinois, and it wasn’t until I was in my 20s that my mom said we were homeless that summer. We’d camped the whole summer while he worked to try and save up money for a security deposit.”

Deedrich’s own passion for serving others led her to a career in affordable housing, first at a housing authority in Illinois, then leadership positions in Wisconsin and Virginia.

“I feel like stable housing is the first step in helping someone go down that path of self-sufficiency,” she said.

“If you’re always in crisis mode, if you don’t have a stable place to lay your head at night, everything else takes a back seat: your health, your job, your family. Trying to find a place to stay is crucial.”

Deedrich brings with her a record of collaboration to provide stable, affordable housing options and complementary programming to help with financial literacy and stability.

Larissa Deedrich talking on phone in office

“I was at a housing conference, and an executive recruiter talked to me about Sioux Falls and said: ‘I think it’s right up your alley. They’re looking for an executive director who is innovative and wants to create community partnerships and grow programs.’ It was a hard decision, but we’d done so much in Virginia, and it was stable, and I wanted to take on another agency and grow the same process.”

As she considered the community, the vibrancy of Sioux Falls stood out, she said.

Larissa Deedrich in meeting

“I met a lot of local community leaders, and what clinched it for me was that everyone knew we had to work together,” Deedrich said. “I’ve been in communities where that’s not always easy, and everyone here has a plan to support each other and work together to reach our goals, and that’s what I really liked about the community.”

Sioux Falls Housing helps people find stable public housing, while at the same time its Affordable Housing Solutions arm is developing more accessible housing in the Sioux Falls area.

Larissa Deedrich in front of Sioux Falls Housing and Redevelopment Commission sign

“We’re not just talking about very low or even low-income families,” Deedrich said. “People who are teachers, first responders, people who can’t necessarily go into the homes being built for $650,000 but need workforce housing, and that’s really what we want to grow and develop in Sioux Falls.”

Deedrich and her husband, Curt, moved to Sioux Falls as she began her new role earlier this year. For now, their three dogs are with them, and the goal is to find a home that also accommodates their two horses.

Curt, a small-business owner, is looking for a commercial space to grow his sign business.

“He’s originally from Illinois and is excited to come back to the Midwest and be in a community with a lot of great options for business. It’s very vibrant, and we like the ambiance,” she said.

“One of our favorite things to do is go to the Washington Pavilion. We’ve seen a couple shows, we like the nightlife in the downtown area, and that’s a lot of fun.”

The Deedrich family made a strong choice in moving to Sioux Falls, said Denise Guzzetta, vice president of talent and workforce development for the Sioux Falls Development Foundation.

“It’s a big move to come to a new community as an established career professional, but I think Larissa already is seeing why innovative leaders are so impressed when they discover Sioux Falls,” she said.

“And soon, Curt will also discover what a fantastic place this is as a small-business owner and how many resources and relationships you’re able to access.”

Also critically, Deedrich’s work in accessible housing is key to the community’s broader goals, Guzzetta said.

“We’re committed to Sioux Falls becoming a place where you have even more options for where to live,” she said.

“That means an increased focus on workforce housing so that you’re able to become a homeowner or find a fit in an apartment that meets your household’s needs, fits your budget and allows you to continue to grow here. We’re taking a collaborative approach as Larissa said, and we’re excited to welcome her to our community.”

To learn more about growing your career in Sioux Falls, email deniseg@siouxfalls.com.

Summit League Championships delivers slam-dunk for workforce development

In between the basketball games at the recent Summit League Basketball Championships, some points were being scored in the name of workforce development.

The Sioux Falls Development Foundation hosted multiple events to connect students attending the tournament with reasons to consider Sioux Falls for the next step in their education or careers.

From an alumni panel to networking events, students made connections and took away a new perspective on the community.

Click below for a look at what happened:

Weekend at the Summit 2024

Enhancing Economic Growth through Strategic Talent Development in Sioux Falls

In an era of unprecedented economic growth and diversification, the Sioux Falls Development Foundation is proactively aligning its workforce and talent development strategies with the evolving needs of the region. Our deliberate focus on pivotal occupations and industry sectors represents a comprehensive approach to bolstering a dynamic and diversified marketplace.

Targeted Engagement with Key Growth Sectors

Looking forward to 2027, our strategic initiatives are concentrated on sectors experiencing significant growth within the Sioux Falls MSA. These sectors are vital for cultivating a well-rounded economic environment:

  • Business and Finance Operations
  • Computer and Mathematical Occupations
  • Educational Services
  • Healthcare Practitioners and Technical Occupations
  • Management, Construction, and Extraction Occupations
  • Transportation and Materials Moving Occupations

It is noteworthy that roles in these areas typically offer remuneration exceeding the regional average annual wage, as indicated by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics for Q4 2023. This emphasizes the critical importance of these sectors in enhancing the socio-economic fabric of our community.

Initiatives Tailored to Immediate and Long-term Talent Needs

Our programming is designed to address both current and future talent requirements:

  1. Connecting Talent to Opportunity: Initiatives such as Career Connections and INTERN Sioux Falls are pivotal in linking employers with the emerging workforce, facilitating direct access to significant employment and internship opportunities in key sectors for our high school and tertiary education students.
  2. Enhancing Skills for Contemporary and Future Needs: The UPSKILL Sioux Falls program is pivotal in addressing the immediate demand for skilled labor across critical industries, including construction, healthcare, and transportation, by offering reimbursement for eligible training expenses. This initiative is essential for meeting current industry needs and elevating the workforce’s skill level.
  3. Cultivating a Future-Ready Workforce: Our Your Future STEM initiative targets students in grades 5-8, aiming to spark interest in STEM careers early. This is part of our strategic vision to prepare for long-term talent needs, especially in the expanding bio and life sciences sectors.

In April 2024, the introduction of a new Talent Development Advisory Board will strengthen the connection between employers, educational institutions, and students. This initiative is designed to align educational pathways with workplace demands, ensuring a workforce that is not only prepared for the future but also ahead of industry trends.

An Invitation to Collaborate

As we forge ahead with our talent and workforce development initiatives, we extend an invitation to you to participate in this vital journey. Your engagement and support are crucial to our collective success and the sustained economic prosperity of our community.

For organizations looking for more information about our talent and workforce programming, please reach out to Denise Guzzetta at deniseg@siouxfalls.com.

Celebrating Our Continued Excellence: SHRM Recertification Through 2026

We are thrilled to announce that the Sioux Falls Development Foundation has once again been honored with the SHRM Provider Recertification, extending our commitment to excellence in employee training through 2026. This prestigious re-endorsement from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) — the world’s largest HR member association — underscores our unwavering dedication to the advancement of human resource and workforce professionals.

Empowerment Through Education

At the heart of our mission is the belief in the transformative power of education. “Education empowers individuals and enables them to advance professionally in their careers,” states Denise Guzzetta, Vice President of Talent and Workforce. Recertification empowers our Talent and Workforce team to persist in offering valuable professional development credits crucial for the ongoing education of HR and workforce professionals.

Continuing Professional Development Opportunities

Year-round, the Sioux Falls Development Foundation is committed to facilitating opportunities for growth and learning. Through our array of webinars for virtual training and the annual WIN in Workforce Summit, we provide indispensable in-person and peer networking opportunities. These platforms not only enrich professional knowledge but also foster connections among workforce professionals keen on maintaining their continuing professional development.

Join Us at the WIN in Workforce Summit on September 24, 2024!

Mark your calendars for the WIN in Workforce Summit on September 24th. This event promises to be an enriching experience for all attendees, offering unparalleled insights into the latest trends and strategies in workforce development.

For more information and to register for the WIN in Workforce Summit, click here.

Let’s continue to grow together, embracing the opportunities that lie ahead with the support of our SHRM certification. Here’s to advancing our professional journeys with confidence and excellence!

Talent Draft Day 2024 returns on March 22

Join Us for a Landmark Event: Talent Draft Day Returns to Ignite Futures and Forge Connections!

Mark your calendars! Due to overwhelming enthusiasm and success in past years, the Sioux Falls Development Foundation is thrilled to announce the return of the Talent Draft Day on March 22, now in its groundbreaking fourth year. This signature event has become a pivotal moment for both aspiring young professionals and forward-thinking businesses in the Sioux Falls region.

What Makes Talent Draft Day Unmissable?

Talent Draft Day is not just an event; it’s a vibrant ecosystem designed to bridge the gap between the workforce of tomorrow and today’s employment opportunities. This year, we’re rolling out an even more immersive experience, tailored to spark curiosity, ignite ambition, and foster meaningful connections:

  • Hands-On Technology Demonstrations: Experience the future of work with live demonstrations by leading employers and educators. Dive into the world of skilled and professional trades through engaging role plays and interactive sessions that bring career possibilities to life.
  • Speed Networking Extravaganza: Accelerate your networking with rapid-fire sessions that connect students directly with top employers. Discover apprenticeships, internships, and career paths you never knew existed in a fast-paced and dynamic setting.

This is your golden opportunity to align with the future of your industry, share your vision with eager young minds, and potentially meet your next star employee or intern.

Talent Thursday with Minnehaha Country Club

Talent Thursday is a weekly social media livestream event that spotlights talent and workforce in the Sioux Falls area by sharing the stories of young professionals in our community.

For Thursday, March 14, 2024, we caught up with Bret Coad, the Chief Operating Officer for the Minnehaha Country Club. He shared about summer and seasonal opportunities, and detailed how working for the Club can be a great way to build soft skills, relationships with community and business leaders, and more.

Talent Thursday is held weekly on Thursdays at 3 p.m. CT on the Sioux Falls Development Foundation’s Facebook page. Follow here: https://www.facebook.com/developsf

Talent Thursday

POWERED BY:

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.

Talent Thursday with Children’s Home Society

Talent Thursday is a weekly social media livestream event that spotlights talent and workforce in the Sioux Falls area by sharing the stories of young professionals in our community.

For Thursday, March 7, 2024, we caught up with Haley Sanow of the Children’s Home Society. She shares about the various aspects of programming provided by the Children’s Home Society, their investment in their employees, and the current roles they are recruiting for.

Talent Thursday is held weekly on Thursdays at 3 p.m. CT on the Sioux Falls Development Foundation’s Facebook page. Follow here: https://www.facebook.com/developsf

Talent Thursday

POWERED BY:

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.