I’ve asked myself the question several times about how such a strange year could be such a good year. While the Development Foundation has experienced the same challenges as most in 2020, I have been proud of the way City, State, civic and business leadership has stepped up to the challenge. Despite the environment, many of our businesses and our city have seen significant growth and the Development Foundation has moved forward with several key initiatives while also responding to the business community and the challenges of COVID. While I certainly understand that several sectors of our economy including retail, restaurants and hospitality are still feeling the pain, I believe recovery and renewal is on the way.
In 2020 the Development Foundation continued to market, promote and develop Sioux Falls and has been successful in selling over 165 acres in our industrial parks, creating over 1,300 jobs and expanding the tax base of the region. Work continues on grading of additional land to create build-ready sites and working with our partners to finance and construct needed infrastructure. Our work with Corson Development Park has concluded and we now look to begin the development and build out of North Foundation Park. In addition, we have worked with our existing industries to assist with expansion plans and in accessing assistance through the PPP program, the CARES Act, and State programs to get through these difficult times.
Our talent and workforce development efforts continue as we have adapted to virtual recruitment strategies gaining access to over 80 universities, colleges and tech schools to recruit new talent. In addition, we have created a talent pipeline through STEM Initiatives in our area middle schools, Career Connection in our high schools, and various talent recruitment for our higher education contacts. Over 6,000 contacts have been engaged through our Talent Development programs connecting with over 80 businesses.
We will continue to respond to the needs of the business community in building Sioux Falls and look forward to a great 2021. Thank you to all our Forward Sioux Falls investors, Foundation members and community partners for making our progress possible. Your commitment is appreciated.