By Kurt Loudenback, President, Grand Prairie Foods, Inc.
2022 has been a year of resiliency and recovery. Our community has emerged stronger and more resilient as we have dealt with some crazy economic challenges over the last 2 years. Despite all of the headwinds we have faced, The Foundation has had another good year of land sales, prospect development and connection between workforce candidates and our members. We are collectively in a good spot to take advantage of continued interest in our state and region while addressing the need for expanding a skilled workforce.
Through various partnerships with both the public and private sectors, the Foundation is positioned to provide valued services to our members, our clients, and our community. Board identified priorities including business retention and expansion, business attraction, and workforce and talent development remain key focus areas. Foundation leaders created a plan centered around these areas three years ago and we have been executing on strategies and programs developed to address these needs.
Partnerships with existing companies looking to grow in the Sioux Falls region have increased dramatically. The Foundation’s Business Retention & Expansion initiative has paid dividends with several expansions. Additionally, the Foundation continues to work with the City of Sioux Falls on expansion projects and infrastructure developments.
Our Business Attraction efforts have resulted in land sales in Foundation Park and Sioux Empire Development Park 8; and we have implemented new and creative marketing techniques to promote the area. Our partnership with local brokers to tap into their national networks has created additional interest from companies across the country.
We have implemented new programs to identify and attract talent to the region and build up our talent from within. Many of our events are both in-person as well as virtual, allowing us to expand our reach far beyond our borders. Our WIN in Workforce Summit in October brought nearly 800 HR professionals, educators, and industry leaders together to share new ideas and best practices for successful talent recruitment, development, and retention. Talent Tours, Talent Rebound events and Talent Draft Day incorporate both in-person and virtual formats, resulting in hundreds of connections between local employers, high school, and post-secondary students to promote the benefits of living and working in Sioux Falls.
We will continue to employ these strategies and programs in 2023 and will continue to have success in growing our region. While these are challenging times in growing our workforce, we believe our efforts will have far-reaching effects on the future growth and sustainability of our region.
The message that Sioux Falls and South Dakota are the best place to own a business, raise a family, and be a young professional are becoming clear. In 2021, Sioux Falls welcomed 7,000 new residents. People are choosing to relocate here because of the quality of life that our community offers: great schools, parks, dining and entertainment, and economic opportunity. In 2023, we’ll be sharing that message with new prospects and potential residents.
It has been a pleasure serving as the Chair of the Board during 2022 and I leave this organization in good hands. Thanks to all of you who have made the Foundation the great economic engine that it is. The Board of Directors and leadership team appreciate your support and hope to continue serving you as members of the Foundation. THANK YOU and have a prosperous 2023.