GSDC Earns the Trophy!

So proud! Our GSDC Team won the trophy for the inaugural St. Cloud Downtown Movers and Shakers challenge - most average steps per person! Congrats to the other companies that participated - let's keep moving!   Bremer Bank, Capital One, Gaslight Creative, GeoComm, Granite Equity Partners, Mahowald Insurance, Netgain Technology, Rinke Noonan, United Way of Central MN, St. Cloud Area Family YMCA

Posted on August 11, 2017 .

St. Cloud Infrastructure Wins Big!

 The Minnesota Public Facilities Authority has approved a grant of $6.6 million to the City of St. Cloud to help pay for wastewater treatment improvements.  A news release from the MN Department of Employment and Economic Development is below and more info at this address:   https://mn.gov/deed/newscenter/press-releases/?id=304770

For Immediate Release
July 31, 2017

Contact: Shane Delaney, 651-259-7236
 shane.m.delaney@state.mn.us

PFA Awards Funding
for Three Projects
~St. Cloud, Afton and Greenbush investing
in water infrastructure improvements~

ST. PAUL – The Minnesota Public Facilities Authority (PFA) has approved funding packages totaling nearly $16 million for water infrastructure projects in St. Cloud, Afton and Greenbush.

“These projects will enhance local water resources and the communities they're in,” said Shawntera Hardy, who chairs the PFA board and is commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development. “This is a wise investment that will not only protect public health and the environment but also encourage growth in the local economy.”

Funding was approved for the following projects:

St. Cloud, $6.6 million
The grant, awarded from the PFA’s Point Source Implementation Grant Program, will help pay for $24.3 million in wastewater treatment improvements, including an upgrade that will reduce the discharge of phosphorus. Remaining funding will come from local sources and potentially a low-interest loan when the PFA finalizes its loan list this fall.

Afton, $8.7 million The funding will help pay for a new wastewater and stormwater treatment and collection system to serve the downtown village area. The funding includes a $5.7 million grant from the Point Source Implementation Grant Program. In addition, two low-interest, 20-year loans for $2.2 million and principal forgiveness grants for $748,000 were approved from the Clean Water Revolving Fund. The low-interest loans will save taxpayers $365,000 compared with what they would have paid for market-rate loans of the same amount.

Greenbush, $601,957 The Roseau County city will use the money for a new water main, seven fire hydrants and 23 gate valves along Highway 7. The PFA is providing a $472,723 principal forgiveness grant from the Drinking Water Revolving Fund and a $129,234 low-interest loan, also from the Drinking Water Revolving Fund. The 1 percent, 20-year loan will save the city $22,040 in interest costs compared with what it would pay for a market-rate loan of the same amount.

The Minnesota Public Facilities Authority provides financing and technical assistance to help communities build and maintain infrastructure that protects public health and the environment and promotes economic growth. Since inception in 1987, the PFA has financed $4.5 billion in public infrastructure projects in communities throughout Minnesota. Read more at the PFA website.

-30-

Upon request, the information in this news release can be made available in alternative
formats for people with disabilities by contacting the DEED Communications Office at 651-259-7161.

Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development
Communications Office
Phone 651-259-7149 or 1-800-657-3858 ∙ TTY 1-800-657-3973
http://mn.gov/deed
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Posted on August 2, 2017 .

Historic First National Bank Recognized by Finance & Commerce

The historic First National Bank building in St. Cloud has been recognized by Finance & Commerce as a top project in 2016.  We are fortunate to enjoy the beautifully restored space every day as we work to make the Greater St. Cloud region even more vital!  Our congratulations to Inventure Properties for their success and this recognition!  Read the article HERE.

Posted on July 31, 2017 .

Career Paths with no College Education

In this era of high technology manufacturing, four years and a bachelor's degree is hardly the only smart path to take. Only 22 percent of jobs in our state require a bachelor's degree or above.

In recent decades, our society has developed a powerful cultural bias that a four-year college degree is optimal for everyone, and that any other path to a career is second-best, “for dummies.”  Of course a four-degree remains an excellent choice for many. But it’s increasingly clear that our educational system’s single-minded focus on four-year colleges is failing many of our young people. It is also placing our society’s future prosperity in jeopardy.

In actual fact, young people who choose alternative pathways like a two-year associate’s degree, an apprenticeship or an occupational certificate can often land in-demand, well-paying jobs fast, avoid crippling debt and look forward to a secure future.

Our state’s manufacturers, for example, struggle to fill two-thirds of the available jobs, according to Minnesota’s Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED). The problem will grow worse as baby boomers continue to retire. This skills gap will severely hamper the ability of Minnesota’s economy to grow unless we address it with urgency now. The solution is hiding in plain sight. We must do better at informing students, and their parents, about all their opportunities as they make post-secondary plans.

Many are likely to find the benefits of a non-four-year path enticing. Apprentices and students in some technical college programs can begin earning money in their occupation at age 18. The “learn and earn” model enables them to pay for their education and begin their careers with little or no debt as young as age 20. Those entering in-demand fields can generally expect several job offers before they finish training. Many have impressive earning potential. Unfortunately, many young people never learn about attractive opportunities like these, because of our society’s “college for all” mantra, which rests on a number of myths.

About half of Minnesota high school graduates enroll in a four-year college. But only 36 percent of full-time, first-time students at the state’s public four-year institutions graduate in four years from the school where they started. Fifty-five percent finish in five years. Less than two-thirds have completed their degree after six years.

Where can students and parents find the information they need to evaluate all their postsecondary options? A paper from DEED — “What to Know Before You Owe,” is available online and lays out a great initial decision making strategy. Families can also consult DEED’s remarkable online “Graduate Employment Outcomes” tool, which shows how many Minnesota graduates are finding jobs from a broad range of majors and at what wages. Another online tool from DEED, “Occupations in Demand” includes information about careers that don’t require postsecondary training.

The Center of the American Experiment, a public-policy institution in Minneapolis, has launched a new project titled “Great Jobs Without a Four-Year Degree: What It Means for Students, Parents and Employers.” The project’s mission is to ensure that students and parents know about the many exciting, fulfilling paths to career success.

Going forward, our society needs to re-emphasize the importance of honoring and respecting all career paths and particularly those who choose alternative career paths for the vital contributions they make to our communities.

Our state’s future prosperity, and the well-being of many of our young people, depend on it.

Posted on July 25, 2017 .

AgriGrowth partnering on labor

The Greater St. Cloud Development Corporation recently attended the “Regional Workforce Strategies: Partnerships and Tools” event held by AgriGrowth. The focus of this event was to inform local Agricultural producers and businesses on the shifting demographics of Central Minnesota’s workforce.

Topics covered at the event included information on how the Millennial workforce differs from previous generations in the workforce, advice on how to better communicate the numerous career opportunities found in the Agriculture sector to students, and the steps employers must take in order to attract highly-skilled individuals to the Agriculture sector.

One of the highlights of this event included an interactive poll portion where employers present at the event were encouraged to provide real-time feedback to a series of questions. Employers were asked if they were taking steps to reach out to elementary and high-school students to share information about Agricultural-related careers. Employers were also asked if they were creating initiatives to adjust their workplace culture, benefits package, or scheduling practices to better attract and retain highly-skilled employees.

The underlying message of this event was that employers in the Agriculture sector must be proactive in their talent recruitment initiatives. Millennials represent the largest generational wave of talent entering the workforce since Baby-Boomers. As a result, employers who are not crafting initiatives and internal policies designed to attract and retain this new wave of talent, run the very real risk of experiencing future struggles in maintaining a highly-skilled workforce.

For more information about AgriGrowth and their workforce initiatives, please visit http://agrigrowth.org

Posted on July 25, 2017 .

We Congratulate Bret Weiss on Star Tribune Leadership Award!

The following is a news release provided by GSDC investor WSB:

Bret Weiss Recognized with Leadership Award

The Star Tribune has recognized Bret Weiss, CEO and President of WSB, with a Leadership Award.
 
The award derives from staff survey answers regarding confidence in the CEO of WSB. Weiss is genuinely honored. “I want to thank the staff at WSB for their confidence in me and for this recognition. It is easy to be a great leader when you have talented and committed staff to execute the direction of the company. I am very fortunate to lead this amazing company!”
 
The newspaper reached out to learn about who helped shape his leadership style. Click the link below to read more.
 
Star Tribune Leadership Award – “Bret Weiss, CEO of WSB, is The Ideas Guy
 
The Star Tribune also recognized WSB as a Top Workplace for a fifth consecutive year, ranking the Minneapolis-based firm #9 among mid-size companies in Minnesota. A link to the online listing can be found at:

Star Tribune Top Workplaces
 
Clients are looking for consultants that are consistently improving in every measurable way – staff, benefits, products, services, talent, expertise, and customer service, and WSB continues to grow in each of these areas to meet client needs and staff potential. 
 
President/CEO, Bret Weiss, looks forward to the Top Workplace results. “We strive to be a great place to work to live up to our clients’ expectations.” Weiss notes how being a Top Workplace positively impacts client relationships. “We want to justify their confidence in hiring us and want them to be proud of the company with which they are working. Our clients have choices, and we think that who we are and how we treat others is equally as important as how talented we are as consulting professionals.” 
 
The Top Workplaces special section, including the article on Weiss’s Leadership Award, is currently online and was published in the Star Tribune on Sunday, June 25th. 
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Posted on July 25, 2017 .

We Congratulate and Celebrate Chris Coborn!

We extend our heartfelt congratulations to GSDC founding investor Chris Coborn,who has been named to the Twin Cities Business 2017 Hall of Fame. Each year, Twin Cities Business recognizes the accomplishments of Minnesota executives who have made lifetime contributions to the state’s economy and to our greater community. The 2017 awardees will be recognized on July 26 at the Hyatt Regency in Minneapolis. More info at www.tcbmag.com. Coborn's

Posted on July 25, 2017 .