It All Started With an Internship

Hands down, the most impactful experience in my career development journey came in the last quarter of my senior year at St. Cloud State University. It was 1980 and the final requirement for attaining my undergraduate degree in Urban Affairs (now Community Development) was to complete an internship. I had the good fortune of being selected by then Mayor Al Loehr to intern in the St. Cloud Mayor’s Office during the summer of 1980.

However, between the time I was offered the internship and actually started it, Mayor Loehr lost his re-election bid to a newcomer to local politics. In the final hour, Sam Huston submitted his filing to run for Mayor. Sam owned the local Harley Davidson dealership and had never run for elected office. The headline in the newspaper the following day read “Sam Who?” Sam won the election.

That set the stage for an incredible internship experience. I was now an intern in Mayor Huston’s office with his newly appointed administrative aide (a patron and former employee at the Harley shop) as my immediate supervisor. In addition to being up-close-and-personal to substantial shake up in the organization, my tenure as an intern included bearing witness to the highly controversial and contentious debate on a two lane versus four lane 10th Street bridge replacement. Although seemingly more mundane, I was given an assignment to research alternative solid waste disposal for municipal waste. The report I authored helped light the path that ultimately led to the City’s introduction of a recycling program at the household level the following year.

My post-college career path was in financial aid administration and a short stint in the banking industry. But then, seven years after completing my internship in the Mayor’s Office, I was invited to make a return to city hall and fill the position of Administrative Aide in the Mayor’s Office (the position I reported to as an intern). I accepted, and it led to my 13 year tenure as St. Cloud Planning Director followed by nearly 12 years as Sartell City Administrator. For the past 5 years I’ve had the honor and privilege of serving the GSDC as its President.

I have long been an advocate and proponent for offering internships. Over the course of the past 5 years at GSDC, we’ve hosted 10 interns – including three whose home countries are China, Chili and Nigeria - who’ve brought tremendous value to the work of our organization. And in today’s fiercely competitive talent acquisition environment, we know firsthand how internships can be your competitive advantage!

An upcoming July 19 best-practices seminar at SCSU, St. Cloud Total Internship Management Workshop presented by Intern Bridge, will show you how internships can support your talent acquisition efforts, and we encourage you to attend.  Here’s a link to info and registration:  St. Cloud Total Internship Management Workshop.

Professionally, I would not be where I am today had I not had that internship experience 38 years ago.  While a lot has changed since that time, the mutual benefits of internships for students and employers has not.

Patti Gartland

GSDC President

P.S.  Meet our current intern, Alvaro Plachejo , a graduate student in the Applied Economics master’s program at SCSU!

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Posted on June 28, 2018 .

Total Internship Management Workshop July 2018


Internships are Your Competitive Advantage!

Everyone knows the value of internships, but does your organization run a strong intern program that maintains a pipeline of highly qualified candidates for full-time roles?  Internships and other forms of experiential education help students make a seamless transition to the world of work and are a perfect vehicle to increase retention rates, complete short-term projects, and identify future hires.

On July 19th, St. Cloud State University, Granite Equity Partners, the Initiative Foundation, the Greater St. Cloud Development Corporation, the St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce, the Anderson Center, the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John's University will welcome Dr. Robert Shindell from Intern Bridge, the nation’s leading research & consulting firm to share a newfound approach to internships based on in-depth research and proven strategies. In this full-day, highly interactive and participatory workshop, participants will learn how to:

  • Effectively implement an impactful internship program;
  • Utilize software to manage your intern projects and programs;
  • Identify future hires through a no-strings-attached 12-week interview;
  • Create and maintain a pipeline of highly qualified and educated full-time job candidates;
  • Increase your organization's brand awareness on university and college campuses; and

This workshop has been accredited by both HRCI and SHRM-PDC and by attending you will receive six (6) CEU Credits! 
We invite you to join us on July 19th at St. Cloud State University for this amazing opportunity to maximize your internship and entry talent acquisition programs.
St. Cloud Total Internship Management Workshop 
July 19, 2018 | 8:30am – 3:30pm | St. Cloud State University
Registration Link -

Posted on June 26, 2018 .

Free webinar / Human Resources: Your Strategic Partner in Business Success

Free webinars are one way GSDC is supporting regional employers in talent recruitment and retention.  Join us for our next webinar on July 10, Noon to 1:00 p.m.  Particulars are below.

July 10

 Noon to 1:00 p.m.

 What you will learn: Every human resources function plays a strategic role in the success of your business. Learn how to leverage this key resource in your organization.

 Register at:

Find more info, including past and upcoming webinars below and  HERE .

Posted on June 26, 2018 .

What do Pets and Brewing Hops Have in Common?

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Our GSDC Innovation Award!  Each year we recognize great ideas that have resulted in significant advances in for-profit companies and non-profit organizations. Awardees receive a beautiful trophy and $1,000.  To date we've given out 18 awards!

For what?

Everything from a pet safe facility at a shelter for victims of domestic abuse to a start-up hops farm.  This year we are presenting four awards:  One award to an emerging for-profit company, one award to an established for-profit company, and one award to each of two non-profit organizations.  Check out our  previous award winners and more info about the award criteria: Award Recipients and Criteria. 

What's the problem?

Without nominations there are no awards.  And, we know you know of some worthy candidates. Perhaps you serve on the board of a non-profit that is doing some innovative things.  Or, maybe one of your vendors or customers has improved a system, process or product.  Heck, cast off that Midwestern humility and nominate your own organization! We've made the process quick and simple.  Download the questions and when you are ready, use the link to nominate or apply.  Thank you!

Contact Sonja Gidlow at
or 320-252-5203 (direct).

Posted on June 22, 2018 .

Join Us for Two Upcoming Workplace Well-Being Webinars

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Wednesday, July 11
Physical Well-Being:  Chronic Disease Prevention and Treatment through Lifestyle Interventions

Time: 11:30 am to 12:30 pm

Topic Presenter:  Dr. Joel Baumgartner of Rejuv Medical
To Register:  Go to and enter your email and this Webinar ID: 655-875-835
Dr. Joel Baumgartner is a board-certified physician with a specialized fellowship in non-surgical orthopedics and sports medicine. He earned his medical degree from the University of North Dakota School of Medicine, and completed his family practice residency at the University of North Dakota. Dr. Baumgartner completed his advanced training in sports medicine with a fellowship in primary care sports medicine at Hennepin County Medical Center. He utilizes the latest in diagnostic and treatment technology to better treat musculoskeletal injury and pain. As an international speaker, he instructs both physicians and those in the medical industry on pain evaluation, diagnosis and the latest treatment options. Dr. Baumgartner has authored two books on Prolotherapy and PRP technique, He is also a contributing author on the subject of pain management for a variety of other popular publications. 

Tuesday, August 7

Social Well-Being:  Decoding the 8 Typical Team Personalities

Time: 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm

Topic Presenter: Sarah Prom, VITAL WorkLife
To Register:  Go to and enter your email and this Webinar ID: 329-567-907

Sarah Prom is a licensed Professional Counselor and a Certified Transformative Mediator. She has over 10 years of counseling, coaching and mediation experience.  Sarah has trained mediators nationally and internationally and she has expertise in the areas of team development and facilitation, workplace stress, conflict management, and workplace training.

We encourage you to promote group participation – “broadcasting” in a break room, conference room, etc. for many to join. You may also forward this email to others in your organization.  We look forward to having you join us!

Posted on June 22, 2018 .

We Congratulate these GSDC Investors in the News!

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CentraCare Health/St.Cloud Hospital for receiving high ratings by Consumer Reports for coronary artery bypass surgery and aortic valve replacement surgery.  Read About It Here

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St. Joseph-based Brenny Specialized, which received a Platinum Safety Award by Great West Casualty as part of Great West's Annual National Safety Awards program. Well done!  Read About It Here

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Falcon Bank for their recent growth and service to our communities! Read About It Here

Posted on June 22, 2018 .

St. Cloud Area's Workforce Growth Surpasses All Other MN Regions

According to the latest St. Cloud Area Quarterly Business Report, the labor force in the St. Cloud area grew 3% over the year ending April 2018, which is a much faster rate of growth than any other city in Minnesota. Consequently, the Talent Corp at Greater St. Cloud Development Corporation (GSDC) designed a Job Seeker Survey to better understand the needs of those people who remain unemployed despite this rapid workforce growth. The purpose of this survey was to explore the types of support that these job seekers need and the ways in which the GSDC can better help prepare them for gainful employment. To review the detailed results of the survey, please click here:  Job Seeker Survey

Posted on June 22, 2018 .