Building a breakthrough talent strategy starts with connecting here – SiouxFalls.Business


February 23, 2022

This paid play is sponsored by the Sioux Falls Development Foundation.

Whatever your industry, there’s likely talent out there ready to support your business – if you know where to look.

“We understand that workforce is a common and important challenge for our business community,” said Denise Guzzetta, vice president of talent and workforce development for the Sioux Falls Development Foundation. .

“Our approach is to try to turn this challenge into an opportunity by helping companies find the talent they need now and in the future.”

The Sioux Falls Development Foundation takes a multi-faceted approach to achieving this, beginning before students graduate from high school and continuing throughout their college experience.

Career Connections

When a student is exposed to work opportunities while still in high school, it can make a strong impression that resonates long after graduation.

The Development Foundation launched Career Connections in 2020 as a pilot program. It is designed for the 30% of high school students who have few or no post-secondary plans, serving as an introduction to industries and careers in the Sioux Falls area.

Beginning with 59 students rotating through five organizations, the program quickly grew in popularity with educators, businesses, and students, reaching over 400 students who chose from 38 businesses in 2021.

“The response has been tremendous from our community. Our partner organizations see the value in investing time and resources to expose them to the career and educational paths available to them in the Sioux Falls community,” said Guzzetta.

One such partner is Graham Tire, where students learn about opportunities in the automotive industry.

“We need workers,” said chairman David Mickelson. “This program paved the way for high school employment, which is what we needed to do.”

The data behind the program is encouraging. Career Connections helped 72% of high school graduates plan for post-secondary education and employment after graduation.

Lincoln High School seniors Abshir Ibrahim, Kishmar Eberline, Aleyda Callejas Cruz, Christina Furula, Alfred Toe and Junior Meselu are some of the many students connected to the university through their participation in the Career Connections program.

“Use the opportunities that you get that other people wish they had, because maybe one day you’ll give them one,” Cruz said, speaking about what the Career Connections program means to her.

Cruz plans to study business at Southeast Technical College.

Ibrahim, inspired by his visit to LifeScape, applied and was accepted into the University of South Dakota nursing program.

“Working directly with teachers and students allowed us to identify barriers and apply resources and help students immediately,” Guzzetta said.

The Career Connections program is available at six of the largest high schools in our community. The program is looking to expand next year to help define more career and educational pathways for students after graduation. To learn more about participation, email [email protected].

Connect to college

As students progress through their college education, the Development Foundation continues to connect them to Sioux Falls and the career opportunities available here.

When the pandemic started in 2020, the Development Foundation innovated and transitioned from in-person to virtual programming perfectly.

Digital enhancements included establishing a strong presence on Handshake, the largest online college network dedicated to underserved students and alumni. This platform has simplified the process of communicating and engaging with administrators, faculty, and students.

“We’ve enabled multiple ways to help organizations connect and engage talent using Handshake, from programs, internships and job opportunities,” Guzzetta said.

The Sioux Falls Development Foundation’s Handshake Network has grown to over 2 million students in less than two years.

For in-person experiences, new approaches to internships are becoming an innovative way for companies to build relationships with future employees.

In the fall of 2021, the Sioux Falls Development Foundation, the Greater Sioux Falls Chamber of Commerce, and the City of Sioux Falls collaborated and launched a micro-internship pilot program with Dakota University’s Beacom School of Business. South.

For eight weeks, the Sioux Falls Development Foundation helped 30 highly motivated and talented juniors and seniors find placements. Students engaged in intensive learning projects and experiences in financial services, construction, land development, manufacturing, government, and nonprofit organizations to apply their knowledge to work experiences practical and real.

“Internships are increasingly becoming the norm for students of all ages. Internships are evolving into year-round experiences for students,” Guzzetta said. “We are only at the beginning of these experimental experiments, seeing the demand increase every day for micro-internships and projects.”

The Sioux Falls Development Foundation plans to build on the strong internship program this year, with more SHU students and a new cohort from Augustana University to help small and medium-sized businesses attract talent what they need.

“Now is the time to connect, so we can start attracting talent to your organization that will help meet your workforce needs today and in the future,” Guzzetta said. “We are making a difference for both students and businesses, and we are well positioned to build on this success.

To connect with the Sioux Falls Development Foundation Workforce Program click here or email [email protected].

College students tout immersive internships at Sioux Falls organizations

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