Talent Talks - The Sioux Falls Advantage

The Sioux Falls Advantage

This month’s Talent Talks delves deeper into the “why” behind the tagline The Sioux Falls Advantage and how our community’s ability to navigate and respond to change is supported by a strong foundation.

At the Sioux Falls Development Foundation (SFDF), we recognize our community’s resilient nature is a key advantage, especially during this uncertain time. It equips us to address our economic and workforce challenges. And it is one of our goals to help communicate that position of strength through the lens of attracting and retaining a workforce that meets our community’s needs.


  Read More

Virtual approach to workforce development connects talent with employers

It is not as easy to walk in for a job interview, start an internship or shadowing – but in some ways, the latest way Sioux Falls is connecting students with employers is just as personal.

The Sioux Falls Development Foundation has stepped up big in the last couple months, hosting and coordinating a series of virtual talent talks that are bringing college students together with employers who will have jobs for them.


  Read More


Talent Talks: Connecting Talent & Businesses Virtually

This month’s edition officially kicks off a new style of sharing more personalized perspectives for leaders within our community. Starting with Mark Cotter, Director of Public Works Administration for the City of Sioux Falls, and then Michelle Klobassa, Senior Architect for TSP, Inc., to Alex Deeter, a recent graduate of Southeast Tech and a newly hired civil technician for DGR Engineering, we dive deeper into how their interests have contributed to many community projects, such as the restoration of The State Theater on Phillips Avenue. 

We are also introducing new ways for us to support your employment efforts. Over the last few weeks, the talent engagement processes for businesses has shifted from in-person to virtual meetings via webinars and other technology tools. In the process, our businesses and our educational institutions have efficiently demonstrated the ability to adapt, to be nimble and to be continually supportive of our community.

In doing so, the Sioux Falls Development Foundation has also pivoted to enhance its talent programming initiatives to solidify the connectivity between talent and employers, to employ technology to engage our future workforce, and to continually share the most current and relevant best practices for workforce with all of our community partners. 


  Read More


Early career spotlight: Emerging engineer earned debt-free education thanks to Build Dakota

Alex Deeter’s career started in a fourth grade classroom. Then he decided to learn something new himself and enter an entirely new career field – civil engineering and land surveying.

A Nebraska native and Concordia University graduate, he moved to Sioux Falls after graduation to teach at Sioux Falls Lutheran School. While he liked kids and teaching, his summer job in construction also held appeal.

“My grandpa was a contractor, so I was always around the construction industry and that ultimately pulled me away from teaching,” he said. “My dad is a teacher. He teachers physics and chemistry, so I like that too, which is partially why I like civil engineering. There’s a lot of math and physics involved. So land surveying is kind of a perfect match. I get to be outside when it’s nice or inside using my math background and be connected to the construction side of things.”


  Read More


Executive profile: For Public Works leader, building a career has meant building a city

In one moment, as a kid, Mark Cotter made a choice that led to a career.

One of his five siblings brought home a book of college majors, and as a young Cotter flipped through it, he made an instant decision.

“It said roads, bridges, pipelines,” he said. “And I told my sister, ‘That’s exactly what I want to do.’ And I went into civil engineering. It was honestly that simple. I went to college and never looked back.”

Growing up on a farm outside Chester, S.D., he had been inspired by what he saw happening around him.

“When you grow up in the country, you’re watching your neighbors work the fields, combine, harvest and you’re around a lot of large equipment. And I was drawn to it and wanted to find a way to still be in it,” he said.


  Read More

From sixth graders to chemical engineers: Workforce development STEM program connects kids with careers

Call this a formula for workforce development success: The Sioux Falls Development Foundation and POET teamed up recently to provide a memorable lesson for Brandon Valley sixth graders.

The program included a lesson on POET itself, the careers available there and a hands-on activity that introduced concepts of chemical engineering.

“It’s an excellent way to get kids exposed to careers and opportunities out there and tie that to what they’re doing in school,” said Bob Mundt, Development Foundation president and CEO, who rolled up his sleeves and helped students through the hands-on activity.

“I was amazed how the kids took to it and took to their roles and responsibilities,” he said. “This is early-stage workforce development – it’s not for next week – but five to 10 years from now, we’re still going to need them entering fields like this.”


  Read More