Learn About the Employment Capacity Building Co-hort Workforce Solution

By Gail Cruikshank, GSDC Talent Director

At GSDC we are proud to support the Employment Capacity Building Cohort (St. Cloud ISD742) and WACOSA in helping prepare students and community members with disabilities for gainful employment in our community.

 A growing and thriving community considers all of its potential workforce – including often untapped community members who are eager and willing to be employed.

 This video showcases many of the partners in our greater St. Cloud region working together to engage workers with disabilities:


 For more information about how this program will benefit your company, contact me at gcruikshank@greaterstcloud.com or 320-257-4753.

Posted on December 18, 2018 .

WELCOA Offers 1-Day Workshop in St. Cloud for 7-Benchmarks Certification

We are excited to announce that  WELCOA (Wellness Council of America) will be in St. Cloud conducting a one-day session on their "7-Benchmarks of America's Healthiest Companies/Beginner Series" on January 30, 2019.  The benefits of attending this session include:

  • Access to the most current, best-in-class 7-Benchmarks curriculum available

  • Certification in the 7-Benchmarks/Beginner course upon completion

  • Opportunity to network with other well-being professionals

  • Earn CEUs from Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM)

  • Complimentary annual WELCOA membership for 2019

 The certification provides all the information and tools needed to create and implement a highly effective, sustainable well-being program in your workplace.  We believe so strongly in the certification that we make this foundational training accessible and affordable for organizations of all sizes and across all sectors in Greater St. Cloud.

Wednesday, January 30
8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
(lunch provided)
Kelly Inn
100 4th Ave S, St Cloud, MN 56301

There is no cost to attend this one-day session but seats are limited to 25 and registration is necessary using this link (first come/first served): 


Please contact me with any questions or assistance needed.  We look forward to having you join us on January 30!  

Sonja Gidlow,  Ed.D
Director of Strategic Initiatives and Communication
320-252-5203 Direct
Greater St. Cloud Development Corporation
501 W. St. Germain Street, Suite 100
St. Cloud, MN 56301
320-259-0300 Main

Posted on December 18, 2018 .

Skilled Workers Initiative to Expand in 2019

In 2018, under the leadership of Joan Schatz, Co-President of Park Industries and founding GSDC invesor, the Talent Corps focused on engaging in activities that increase awareness of skilled careers in our region and created the Skilled Worker Initiative. The goal of the initiative is to educate the future workforce on careers that require a two year degree or less, highlighting career path opportunities and potential careers in these fields. Last January, Park Industries hosted more than 40 Career and Technology Ed (CTE) teachers and Counselors from St. Cloud ISD 742 for a professional development day.  They received an on-site introduction to careers at Park Industries (engineering and manufacturing), W Gohman Construction (construction project currently underway at Park Industries) and Brenny Transportation (primary transportation vendor for Park Industries). The event showcased each of the three industries and concluded with a panel of employees highlighting their career path and educational path needed to achieve their role. This tour was duplicated in May with 26 students from ISD 742 attending.

Joan Schatz, Co-President of Park Industries, speaks to CTE teachers and Counselors from St. Cloud ISD 742

Joan Schatz, Co-President of Park Industries, speaks to CTE teachers and Counselors from St. Cloud ISD 742

Beginning in 2019, founding GSDC investor Mike Gohman, President of W Gohman Construction, will take over leading this initiative. The focus will continue on construction, transportation and manufacturing careers with emphasis in automation.  If you are an employer in these selected industries who would be willing to host a tour and/or engage with students in the classroom setting or would  like to learn more about the Skilled Workers Initiative, please contact Gail Cruikshank, Talent Director.

Posted on December 18, 2018 .

A Rising Tide Lifts All Boats

By Brian Myres, GSDC Board Chair

 I want to use this year-end opportunity to thank our GSDC investors and partners for your ongoing support of our collective work to improve the economic environment for our businesses and greater community.

 Our accomplishments have been many. Since our inception in 2011, GDP has risen 16.3%, there’s been an increase of more than 12,500 jobs and wages have increased more than 20% – all right here in Greater St. Cloud, where we are outpacing the state and nation.  At GSDC we certainly can’t take credit for all this great news, but it’s also not just a coincidence. We’re out there every day working with you to improve the regional economy and the quality of life of our communities.

 In the past 12 months alone, we met with more than 90 local businesses about retention and expansion, launched a regional portal to support talent retention and attraction, and invested resources of time and energy in a regional skilled workers initiative. 

 In 2018 the GSDC Board of Directors refined our structure and priorities to serve you even more powerfully. That included identifying these four strategic imperatives, which investors strongly affirmed in April:  Engage Leaders, Expand Talent, Grow Business and Shape Tomorrow.  You will be hearing more about our strategic imperatives in the months to come, but in summary, here’s what they will mean for our community:

 Engage Leaders

We bring community leaders together so that your combined thinking and resources have a greater impact on our region’s success than would a few people acting alone.

 Expand Talent

We invest heavily in retaining and attracting skilled, innovative and diverse people, to support business retention, growth and attraction.

 Grow Business

We create economic development strategies, harness resources and provide tactical assistance to help start, retain and expand strong businesses.

 Shape Tomorrow

We invest in our region’s many strengths and help enhance its wellness, inclusivity, environmental stewardship and more, creating a healthier and brighter future for you and your employees.                                           

No individual company or organization has the resources, expertise or contacts to do these things on their own. That’s why we’re here. The GSDC works for you.  

We’re excited to leverage this momentum in 2019 and beyond.  I welcome any and all inquiries about how you and your company can join us in this important work through investment and engagement. 

Finally, wishing you a blessed holiday season and prosperous New Year!

 Brian Myres   

GSDC Board Chair

(320) 260-6681


Posted on December 18, 2018 .

TEDxStCloud 2018 Earns Net Promoter Score of 79! = "Excellent/World Class"

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TEDxStCloud 2018 received rave reviews, and we are especially proud of the Net Promoter Score generated by anonymous reviews by attendees: 79! But, what does that mean?

"General NPS Benchmark. Given the NPS range of -100 to +100, a “positive” score or NPS above 0 is considered “good”, +50 is “Excellent,” and above 70 is considered “world class.” Based on global NPS standards, any score above 0 would be considered “good.”" Source.

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Here are a few of the comments shared in the reviews:

  • This experience was incredible! The speakers just kept getting better!

  • I enjoy the evening completely and am looking forward to what's in

    store for next years event! Thank you to everyone involved in bringing

    this great event to St. Cloud!

  • TedXstCloud is such an awesome engaging, interactive, and

    meaningful event! I have been so blessed to attend the past two and

    intend to continue as long as I'm around!

  • I would like TEDx to continue in St Cloud. It was a great event!

  • It was an enjoyable experience to listen to local speakers share ideas

    worth hearing.

  • Loved it. Having local speakers who are pioneers for our community, is

    priceless. They spoke freely and openly and invited new perspectives.

  • I have never attended a local event and seen such a diverse crowd.

  • It was so well put together! Love being at the Paramount too. It felt

    larger than St. Cloud. Great job!!

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Watch www.TedxStCloud.com for info about the 2019 event on October 10! Contact Sonja Gidlow at sgidlow@greaterstcloud.com for information about getting involved and/or being a sponsor in 2019.

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Posted on December 17, 2018 .

So Much to Savor

By Patti Gartland, GSDC President

As the holiday season approaches I find myself reflecting on all that has transpired throughout the year.  At GSDC we are dedicated to supporting our investors – and our greater St. Cloud region - with services and resources that strengthen business growth and economic prosperity for all.

While our founding strategic plan has served us well for the past seven years, our board of directors spent much of 2018 refreshing that plan to reflect our aspirations through 2024. The process included research, analysis, focus groups and your input.  We appreciate the time you took to reflect and comment on our work.  The final, approved version of our 2019 – 2024 Strategic Plan can be found here: Strategic Plan.  We are in the process of aligning our resources with the new plan for 2019 – exciting, indeed!  More on this to come in 2019.

Several new investors and advocates joined us in 2018, including corporate investors Arvig, Blattner Energy, Great River Energy, and St. Cloud ISD 742.  Advocates include Boys & Girls Club of Central MN, Blue Moon Design, Central MN Mental Health Center, Custom Catering, Great North Labs, Hire and Inspire, iiW, ProStaff, Prudential Advisors, RBC Wealth Management, and Spectrum Reach.  And, Granite City Real Estate, Greenfield Communications, REM Central Lakes affirmed our work by increasing their annual investments.  Similarly, founding investor Stearns Bank rejoined at a higher level of investment, as well.  This level of engagement reflects the exceptional commitment of our business community to a vibrant quality of life for our region – and we are grateful.  (click for a complete list of our investors)

Similarly, our Board of Directors has some new faces, including Presidents Robbyn Wacker and Annesa Cheek of St. Cloud State University and St. Cloud Technical and Community College, respectively.  Joining them is Willie Jett, superintendent of the St. Cloud Area School District and Caryl Turnow, executive director of the Central Minnesota Community Foundation.  In order for our collective impact approach to economic development to be successful, we need thought-leaders from all sectors around the table.  The willingness of these leaders to engage in our work demonstrates their understanding of and commitment to our region’s vitality – for the benefit of all.

In terms of projects, services and partnerships that benefit our investors and the greater community, 2018 has been a productive and satisfying year.  The highlights are many, including the SCSU Winter Institute, our GSDC Well-Being and Talent Summits and webinars, Quarterly Business Report, advancements in and increased utilization of www.GreaterStCloud.com (our regional portal), Select USA Foreign Direct Investment, business retention and expansion visits and assistance, responses to business attraction inquiries, downtown St. Cloud improvement initiative, St. Cloud Regional Airport economic impact and optimization study, our Innovation Awards, Tour of Manufacturing, skilled workers initiative, and TEDxStCloud – to name a few, but certainly not all.  Granted – we’ve got a top-notch GSDC team, but none of this would be possible without the support and engagement of you – our investors and partners.

We’re not a team that rests on our laurels, though – and plans are underway for many great things to come in 2019.  On that note, be sure to save the date of April 11 – our annual meeting.  It will be an evening Octennial celebration.  Watch for invitations to come.  In the meantime, on behalf of our GSDC Team, we wish you a safe and festive holiday season!

Posted on November 12, 2018 .

Community Code Program Offered Through St. Cloud School District

ISD 742 Community Code Program

One of the 2019 – 2024 strategic priorities for the GSDC’s ‘Expand Talent’ imperative is to strengthen the interface of business and education to better meet talent needs in the region. And we’ve identified an excellent opportunity for putting that priority into action!

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 Hour of Code is a world-wide movement that the St. Cloud Area School District 742 is participating in and taking it a step further by offering Community Code. Through community member engagement, the St. Cloud Area School District 742 strives to demystify technology by showing students how technology is powering innovation in Central MN. Students and the broader community are given hands on experience while exploring the power of computer science, starting in kindergarten, through this program.

 At the core of the Community Code program is community engagement. And who better to engage than you and your employees! This is an excellent opportunity to expose and engage with students and their parents to cultivate career path interests that are aligned with your company’s talent needs and opportunities. And, awareness of your company and its powerful brand in and commitment to our region are amplified through your company’s participation.

 Further information about the Community Code program can be found bit.ly/communitycode742. Angie Kalthoff, Technology Integrationist at ISD 742, is leading this wonderful effort and we encourage you to reach out to her to learn more about how you can get engaged in helping shape the hearts, minds and passions of our youth.  Angie can be reached atangela.kalthoff@isd742.org  or 320-370-8123.

 Many of the Community Code events will take place during Computer Science Education Week, December 3-9, 2018. As such, recruitment of community member volunteers needed to make this exciting program happen requires volunteers to sign up as soon as possible. 

Posted on November 12, 2018 .

UPDATE: Exclusive GSDC Investor Event Yields success

We received the following good-news comment about the Professionals In Transition event we held earlier this year. The original blog is below.

“We had the great opportunity to participate in the Professionals in Transition event.  Through this event we were able to hire Ann Thelen.  Although Ann had no formal banking experience she did have all the skills and talents needed to be a leader.  We knew we could train the needed banking skills but a true leader has intrinsic skills not as easily trained.  Ann has brought a level of professionalism to our St. Cloud location that has been inspirational the group of relationship bankers she supervisor. “ Paula Capes, Business Development Manager, Falcon National Bank


Professionals in Transition

As much as our region is experiencing exceptional growth unfortunately we have also witnessed some consolidations, business sector changes and simply downsizing.

The people impacted by these changes have established families and careers here.  They have the desire to remain in our region.  We WANT them to stay in our growing region.

To this point, GSDC has created a model that has worked exceptionally well in connecting these talented employees with employers seeking their skill set.  To date GSDC has hosted two events for Pilgrim’s (formerly GNP) and two events for Capital One.  These events are an exclusive opportunity for GSDC Investors to meet and network with these individuals in hopes to secure a potential new career opportunity or obtain some helpful connections in their search for new employment.

GSDC is very proud to coordinate these opportunities and will continue to do so as we are asked to help secure this top talent within our region.

For more information about these networking events please contact Gail Cruikshank.

Posted on May 1, 2018 by Gail Cruikshank.

Posted on November 12, 2018 .