GSDC Launches Portal to Market Greater St. Cloud Region

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October 25, 2017                                                                                                             

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

The centerpiece of a comprehensive marketing campaign, GreaterStCloud.com is launched to be an informative resource about living, working, job openings and more in Greater St. Cloud, Minnesota

 (ST. CLOUD, Minn.) – The Greater St. Cloud area’s many advantages as an excellent place to live, work and conduct business are about to get a lot more attention with a broad audience, thanks to a comprehensive marketing campaign that was launched on October 25, 2017.

The centerpiece of the effort, developed and funded by the Greater St. Cloud Development Corporation (GSDC), is an extensive online community portal at GreaterStCloud.com. The website is a wide-ranging source of information, videos, photos and blog posts about the Central Minnesota communities that make up Greater St. Cloud. Included is information about quality of life, education, health and wellness, entertainment and more.

“Greater St. Cloud encompasses several neighboring communities, all of which have their own sources of information for government, schools, chambers of commerce, jobs and so on. But until now, people interested in our area couldn’t find everything in one place. Now they can with GreaterStCloud.com,” said GSDC President Patti Gartland.

GreaterStCloud.com also emphasizes job availabilities and economic development opportunities:

A link to the revamped and enhanced Greater St. Cloud JobSpot site provides information about the area’s job openings, which are automatically updated daily to ensure visitors to the website have a complete, accurate resource for local jobs. Currently, there are more than 5,000 job openings listed.

The GSDC’s existing economic development website is also linked to GreaterStCloud.com. Business owners and entrepreneurs will find information about financing, square footage costs, land availability and other data and services specific to the area.

Gartland said year-round digital marketing, targeted advertising and media relations are all part of the GSDC’s program to attract more young workers, families, businesses and others to relocate to Greater St. Cloud.

“We’re not marketing the website, we’re marketing the region,” she said. “By driving people to the website, we intend to inform and persuade them that Greater St. Cloud is where they will want to be.”

Project funding was provided by the GSDC and the following organizations: CentraCare Health, Bernick’s, Country Hearth Natural Breads, Coborn’s, Initiative Foundation, Park Industries, ATS, Granite Equity Partners, Microbiologics, US Bank, Clear Path Consulting, the Central Minnesota Community Foundation, the J.A. Wedum Foundation, Pilgrim’s and Marco. This portal was also made possible through the support of GSDC investor cities of Becker, Cold Spring, St. Cloud, St. Joseph, Sartell and Sauk Rapids, along with Benton, Sherburne and Stearns counties.

 

Website and marketing campaign development were led by the Greenfield Communications public relations and advertising agency, working in conjunction with the GSDC’s staff and volunteer marketing committee, DAYTA Marketing, Meta 13 and Gearbox Functional Creative.

Much of GreaterStCloud.com contains links to existing websites related to government, tourism, education, chambers of commerce and others.

“This effort would not have been feasible if all these organizations didn’t already have so much great information out there,” said Gartland. “They’ve made it possible for nearly everything you’d ever need to know about Greater St. Cloud to now be found at GreaterStCloud.com.”

The Greater St. Cloud Development Corporation, a private collaboration of more than 260 regional business and community leaders within Benton, Sherburne and Stearns counties, was formed in 2011 to lead economic development for the benefit of the Greater St. Cloud region.

 

Posted on October 26, 2017 .

New St. Cloud Downtown Council Executive Director Named

 Jolene Foss begins her role as DTC Executive Director on December 1

Jolene Foss begins her role as DTC Executive Director on December 1

The Greater St. Cloud Development Corporation (GSDC) congratulates Jolene Foss as she embarks on her new role as Executive Director for the St. Cloud Downtown Council (DTC) and the Downtown Alliance Foundation.  We had the pleasure of working with Jolene when she was an assistant with the St. Cloud DTC in 2014 and look forward to partnering with her once again when she begins her new role on December 1st.

For the past 5 years, we have hosted the St. Cloud DTC in our GSDC office suite.  We collaborate on revitalization and redevelopment initiatives that benefit downtown St. Cloud.

Welcome Jolene!

Posted on October 24, 2017 .

GSDC Announces 2017 Innovation Award Recipients

St. Cloud, Minn., October 2, 2017 – The Greater St. Cloud Development Corporation (GSDC) announces the 2017 recipients of their Innovation Awards.  A strategic focus of the GSDC is to foster and promote innovative thinking among area businesses and organizations. The GSDC Innovation Award recognizes St. Cloud area for-profit and non-profit organizations employing innovation to solve problems and create opportunities.

Two for-profit awards will go to Mighty Axe Hops and Cybermation.  The recipients of the two non-profit awards are Talahi Community School and Jugaad.  Each awardee will receive $1,000. The organizations will be recognized at the upcoming meeting of all GSDC investors on November 30. 

Mighty Axe Hops has been selected for the for-profit emerging company award.  The award recognizes the company’s state of the art hops harvest facility and leadership in the developing hops industry in Minnesota.  The company is located in Foley, Minn.  More information can be found at www.mightyaxehops.com.

Cybermation will receive the for-profit established company award for creating custom technology systems that enable people with disabilities to communicate and control their environment.   The company is located in Waite Park, Minn.  See website at www.cybermation.com .

 Talahi Community School has been selected for one of two awards for non-profit organizations for the construction of an adaptive playground.   As the first of its kind in Minnesota the playground allows children who are adaptive to play on playground equipment.  Talahi School is in the St. Cloud Independent School District 742.  More information can be found at https://www.isd742.org/Domain/9 .

Jugaad will receive the award for a non-profit organization for its Jugaad Leadership Program.  The program prepares minority students and professionals for community engagement and leadership.  Learn more at http://www.jugaadlp.org/ .  Jugaad is located in St. Cloud, Minn.

The GSDC Innovation Awards are led by the GSDC Innovation Corps, the focus of which is to support new technologies, products, markets and companies in the greater St. Cloud, Minn.  region.


 About the Greater St. Cloud Development Corporation

The Greater St. Cloud Development Corporation is a non-profit (501c3) collaboration of nearly 250 regional public and private organizations in Central Minnesota.  Its mission is to lead economic development for the benefit of the greater St. Cloud region.  The GSDC is funded through business investor contributions, personal contributions, and grants.  All actions are self-governed by the organization’s investors, boards and various committees.  Learn more at www.greaterstcloud.com.

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Posted on October 2, 2017 .

GSDC Takes Aim At Local Skilled Workforce Gap

By Mike Wimmer, GSDC Intern

The Greater St. Cloud Development Corporation (GSDC) continues its focus on addressing area workforce concerns. The GSDC recently completed two listening sessions with representatives from local construction, skilled trades, and transportation employers. These initial listening sessions were designed to learn about ways the GSDC can best assist area employers in addressing their workforce concerns. Greater St. Cloud employers have voiced concern over the tight labor market negatively impacting the construction, skilled trades, and transportation industries.

Seven employers took place in the initial two meetings including W. Gohman Construction, Park Industries, Brenny Transportation, KJ Construction, Viking Coke, SCR, Sysco, and Strack Companies. As a part of GSDC’s Skilled Worker Initiative, employers voiced support for an increased emphasis on marketing careers in transportation, construction, and the skilled trades in area high schools. Employers also expressed an interest in seeing GSDC create a Social Media plan aimed at promoting key careers and positions to area youth and to allow area employers to share best practices with each other. If you are an area employer in the construction, skilled trades, or transportation fields and would love to have your voice heard on this subject, please contact Gail Cruikshank.

Posted on August 29, 2017 .

CareerONE Program Helps Area At-Risk Youth

By Mike Wimmer, GSDC Intern

What do you think of when you hear the words “summer” and “youth”? For many of us, we think of bike rides, swim lessons, spending time with friends, and freedom from homework. What we may not think about is the difficulties summer can bring for area at-risk youth. Career Solutions (formerly known as Stearns-Benton Employment & Training Council) has developed the CareerONE program aimed at helping area at-risk youth excel both in and out of the classroom. Since 2000, the CareerONE program has provided Central Minnesota youth, ages 14-17, realistic and positive work readiness skills in a safe, nurturing, and learning-rich environment. This program also helps prevent participating youth from regressing academically when are away from the classroom over the summer months.

Thanks to support from CentraCare Health and the United Way of Central Minnesota, the CareerONE program was able to provide services to 100 youth in St. Cloud. An abbreviated, two-week long camp also helped serve 20 youths in Cold Spring, and 10 youths in Paynesville this summer. Every year the program strives to improve in order to better serve area youth and help them achieve success in all facets of their life. Read more about the CareerONE program here. To view a short video highlighting some of the activities participants were able to engage in, please see below.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E8oRMbrZ4EU&feature=share

Posted on August 29, 2017 .

Welcome to the Neighborhood!

I was born and raised in St. Cloud, MN. My family lived 4 blocks south of Tech High School and 1 block east of South Junior High. Growing up, I spent hundreds of hours at Eastman Park (skating at Lake George, swimming at Municipal Pool), South Junior High (tennis courts), and Southside Park (playground) which was recently and appropriately renamed “Haws Park.” I had the good fortune of working alongside longtime City of St. Cloud Parks Director Larry Haws when I was Planning Director for the City of St. Cloud.

Over the course of time, the ‘Southside neighborhood’ I so fondly remember from my youth has gone through a multitude of changes – some of which have not been for the better. “A troubled neighborhood” is probably one of the softer descriptions used. High levels of crime, deteriorating property conditions and an air of lost hope seem to prevail. That is until just recently when the community celebrated the opening of the Richard C. Wilson Community OutPost (COP House) right in the heart of the Southside neighborhood. This first-in-Minnesota innovation has, deservedly, attracted great media attention and coverage, such as this article in the Minneapolis Star Tribune: St. Cloud Opens New Police Community Outpost, First-of-Its Kind Program in Minnesota.

Through the efforts of the Greater St. Cloud Public Safety Foundation, a deep and broad cadre of community and city leaders embraced the concept of the Community OutPost House and forged ahead to bring it to fruition. Bravo! Bravo! In addition to being an exciting new addition to and game changer for ‘a troubled neighborhood’, it is yet another phenomenal example of the power of collaboration, collective impact and what it means to truly be stewards of place. And that makes me think of Wendell Berry.

Wendell Berry is an American novelist, poet, environmental activist, cultural critic, and farmer. His writings focus on place and its importance, and his concern for a societal trend of disconnection and self-focus. Arguably, this trend has been in play for a long time, not only in the broader south-side neighborhood I grew up in, but across many sectors of our community and society.

The Richard C. Wilson Community OutPost is an inspiring example of how our community is working to turn the tide on this trend as it creates and strengthens community through personal connections and relationships. 

I am reminded that seven years ago community leaders identified a need for a new approach to regional economic development and created the Greater St. Cloud Development Corporation.  I think Wendell Berry would be impressed and encouraged by how leaders from all sectors of our greater community are steadfast in their commitment  to solving our most challenging community issues through collaboration and collective impact.  

If you haven’t gone to the COP House yet or been to Haws Park recently, please make it a point to do so. I know you’ll be ‘wowed’ and feel a strong sense of pride. And, if you’re wondering how you can help ensure the COP House is able to maximize its impact to the neighborhood and the broader community, consider a contribution through their gift registry at Target:  St. Cloud COP House Gift Registry.   

                Great things are happening in the Greater St. Cloud community. Thank you for all that you individually and collectively do to make this region an amazing place to live, work and engage!

Patti Gartland, GSDC President

Posted on August 29, 2017 .

We've Got Robots!

A recent article by Mark Muro of the Brookings Institute, Where the Robots Are, illustrates the number and incidence of industrial robots by metropolitan statistical area (MSA) as of 2015.  In our region, there are 3.1 robots per 1,000 human employees in our St. Cloud MSA as compared to 1.4 per 1,000 in the Twin Cities area.  See how St. Cloud compares to other MSAs in the nation with this link:  Where the Robots Are,

Posted on August 29, 2017 .

From the GSDC Board Chair, Brian Myres

August, 2017

As summer is winding down and school is starting, most of us are turning to the 2018 budget cycle, business planning and preparing for ending 2017 on a positive note.  As investors in the GSDC, you should be aware that the staff, corps leaders and officers are diligently going through that same process of budgeting, planning and getting ready for the year ahead. 

Additionally, as I mentioned in the June letter, we are beginning the strategic planning refresh which will guide our next three to five years of work.  We will be very focused on the local challenges of talent recruitment and retention, industry sector opportunities and emerging trends in our region that will impact our regional economy going forward.  Stay tuned as we reach out in the coming months to seek your input into this process as we continue to help drive economic growth in the region.

As we think about the future, it is also important that we reflect upon what got us to today and to be thankful to those that helped us achieve that success.  One person that really worked hard to found the GSDC, get us through some early challenges and to drive our talent corps is Marty Moran.  Marty and his wife Asha own ClearPath Consulting and have been great contributors to not only the success of the GSDC, but also the Community Pillars, the YMCA, United Way and numerous other organizations in our region.  Marty and family have recently moved to Greenville, North Carolina and will be greatly missed, but their legacy of building our community will last for years.  Please join me in thanking Marty for all his contributions to our organization and wish him well in his new endeavors.  Life is about legacy and leaving this place better than we found it, and Marty Moran exemplifies that.

Cheers,

Brian Myres

GSDC Board Chair

Posted on August 29, 2017 .