Forward Sioux Falls unveils action plan aimed at workforce development

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It's clear the population of Sioux Falls continues to grow, along with its economic growth. There are warning signs that this growth may not be sustainable unless steps are taken to enhance the workforce availability and skills.

Forward Sioux Falls has raised more than $25 million since its founding in 1987 to enhance Sioux Falls economic development efforts and improve the quality of life.

Recently, they worked with the consulting firm 'Market Street Services' to conduct a six-month study to assess where the Sioux Falls region is, in terms of both the workforce and education needs.

What it found through the study -- an extremely tight labor market is causing thousands of positions to remain unfilled in our region. Many of them are in lower-skill and lower paying jobs.

Many workers have been left 'under-employed' because there are fewer employment opportunities at the higher end of the skills spectrum.

Various initiatives were identified to solve this issue over the next few years.

"Identifying and advancing priority programs to support targeted workforce needs in the region. In other words, we need to get to work on our highest areas of need and begin to make progress as soon as practically possible in those areas," said Rob Oliver, Augustana University President.

The other initiatives include developing a cradle-to-career coalition in the area, designing a talent marketing campaign and an online talent portal.

The key to success -- community involvement.