Jan. 9, 2015 - VOL. 50 No. 4

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Chair's Column

Addressing the workforce dilemma

By Dana Dykhouse
2014-15 Chair of the Board

Keith Severson
Dana Dykhouse
2014-15 Chair of the Board

Happy New Year! A new year is full of hope and possibility as we reflect on the past and lay the groundwork for an even stronger future. Though if you´re one of the many businesses struggling to find the right employees to expand your business or conduct your daily operations, the new year might not seem so bright. Workforce remains a challenge for many of our Chamber members. I´m encouraged, however, by recent announcements at the state level about the Build Dakota scholarships and additional planning efforts your Chamber is undertaking that we will continue to find ways to address this issue.

Later this month, Market Street Services will return to Sioux Falls to assist us in conducting a competitive assessment of our community where it is today and where we were five years ago, as well as comparing Sioux Falls with peer and aspirational communities. Market Street Services was last in Sioux Falls as part of our 2009-10 Future Sioux Falls planning process, which laid out an economic development strategy for our community. A number of strategies included in that blueprint were part of the Forward Sioux Falls 2011-2016 case statement and program.

Workforce is a systemic issue, and our state and our community are laying the groundwork for a balanced approach to tackle this challenge by addressing what we can do now – and looking at what are our future needs might be. In addition to the competitive assessment, and with your help, Market Street will create a workforce analysis for Sioux Falls. They will help us develop a strategic workforce action agenda that will give us the steps we need to take in order to get the job done, including shorter-term attraction and training strategies as well as longer-term educational and training strategies. We want to develop programs to address today´s needs and prepare for tomorrow´s success.

Because 2015 brings us closer to the start of the next Forward Sioux Falls program, Forward Sioux Falls 2016-2021, Market Street Services´ work will dovetail nicely into planning for the next successful phase of our joint venture. You´ll continue to hear more about these efforts in the coming months.

Your Chamber of Commerce is starting off 2015 with a host of activities and events to make a positive impact on our members and the Sioux Falls area. This time of year we conduct our usual popular events – Business Sense Workshops, our annual Good Morning Sioux Falls Legislative Breakfast and the Chamber-sponsored 62nd Annual Sioux Empire Farm Show. These activities represent opportunities for our members – to volunteer, to be educated on a variety of topics, to be engaged in the legislative process and to pay homage to the state´s largest industry, agriculture.

We also head to Pierre to represent the voice of business at the state legislature for the duration of the legislative session. You can read more about all of these activities throughout this issue of the magazine. Your investment in the Chamber is one way to have a voice in how we shape the future of Sioux Falls - thank you.

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