Talent and workforce team kicks off talent programming initiative to assist Sioux Falls businesses

by Sioux Falls Development Foundation
Published 05/20/2019
Originally Published by Sioux Falls.Business

The Sioux Falls Development Foundation has started to play a little matchmaker – pairing students and their colleges with businesses interested in giving them a look inside the workplace.

The talent tours are facilitated the Development Foundation to introduce students to opportunities in growing industries such as finance, health care and advanced manufacturing.

“We intend to act as a facilitating arm in connecting some of our innovative and enduring business partners with post-secondary students who are studying in Sioux Falls and the surrounding area,” said Sara Gillis, director of talent and workforce development.

Tours are scheduled as desired in response to interest from member companies and educational institutions.

“This program provides student professionals with the opportunity to learn about career pathways, job differentiators and industry growth from the business leaders themselves, all within the walls of the company’s physical space,” said Denise Guzzetta, vice president of talent and workforce development. “Today’s employment market is all about culture alignment, and our programming helps to do just that.”

Small groups of 15 or fewer students allow “for the richest discussions and the most robust learning opportunities,” Gillis said.

Howalt+McDowell Insurance, a Marsh & McLennan Agency LLC company, hosted one of the first talent tours recently at its downtown Sioux Falls office.

“It was so fun, and it was such an innovative idea,” chief innovation officer Kira Kimball said.

“We’re a firm believer we need to think creatively about recruitment. And it’s so affirming that the Development Foundation sees how what we’re doing is adding value.”

The students spent 90 minutes visiting the firm, hearing from executives and learning what jobs are available as well as what skills are necessary to be successful at the firm. Howalt leaders also talked about the firm’s culture and commitment to community relations.

“We got some nice notes from students after, and they were very engaged,” Kimball said.

Avera also has hosted students, and MetaBank is planning to host a tour this fall.

“I believe that this program provides a wonderful opportunity to be a talent pipeline to our colleges and universities in the surrounding area,” said Kathy Thorson, community bank president for MetaBank. “The Sioux Falls Development Foundation is a very forward-thinking organization that invests in our future growth, and the talent tour definitely contributes to this,” Thorson said.

Feedback from students taking the tours has been excellent, Gillis added.

“They shared that the tours provide exactly the type of professional development opportunities that they as college students are seeking at this juncture in their lives,” she said.

“Students remarked that they appreciated the understanding of the full gamut of career paths available within a given industry, as well as the importance of alignment between a company’s job culture and a student’s career goals.”

Businesses interested in hosting a tour can contact Denise Guzzetta, vice president of workforce development at the Sioux Falls Development Foundation, at deniseg@siouxfalls.com.

What’s next

June will be a busy month for workforce development with the launch of the online Workforce Information Now, or WIN platform, offering ongoing updates and connections to a wide variety of workforce development resources.

At noon June 21, the Sioux Falls Development Foundation will host its next Recruitment Council meeting to launch its technology engagement platform to support best practices for businesses.

“Our new platform, WIN.SiouxFallsDevelopment.com, will enable us to communicate most efficiently with all valued partners and help to achieve top-tier placement as one of the 10 best cities for early career professionals by 2021,” Guzzetta added.