GSDC Skilled Worker Initiative

In 2018, under the leadership of Joan Schatz, Co-President of Park Industries and GSDC investor, the GSDC Talent Corps focused on 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 engineering and manufacturing careers at Park Industries, construction careers at W Gohman Construction and transportations careers at Brenny Transportation.

 The event showcased each of the three companies and concluded with a panel of employees highlighting their career paths and the educational requirements for their respective roles. This tour was replicated in May with 26 students from ISD 742 attending.

 Beginning in 2019, GSDC investor Mike Gohman, President of W Gohman Construction, is leading the initiative. The focus continues on careers in construction, transportation and manufacturing, with an emphasis in automation. Our goal in 2019 is to host multiple employer tours for students and K-12 faculty throughout our region, in addition to supporting area schools in the classroom with projects, industry educational support and mentorship.

 If you are an employer in these industries and are interested in hosting a tour and/or engaging with students in the classroom though our Skilled Workers Initiative, please contact Gail Cruikshank, Talent Director at or Mike Gohman, President, W Gohman Construction at 

Posted on February 27, 2019 .

Connecting College and University Students with Area Businesses

GSDC is partnering with the St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce to help students at St. Cloud State University secure employment during their time in college and upon graduation.  Through a partnership with Dave Harris, Dean of SCSU Business School, part time job opportunities are showcased to students on a quarterly basis through an SCSU introductory general business course.  Job openings are also being shared with students at St. Cloud Technical and Community College. This linkage allows students to learn about local employers and immediate job opportunities, as well as gain insight into local career and employment options upon graduation.  These connections serve to retain the talent found at our local colleges and universities in our region.  Employers wishing to learn more about this program can contact Gail Cruikshank at

Posted on February 27, 2019 and filed under JobSpot.

Use Internships as Your Competitive Advantage


 A strong intern program can provide an employer a pipeline of highly qualified candidates for future employment. Internships and other forms of experiential education introduce students to the workplace and can facilitate seamless transitions to employment.  They can help increase employer talent retention rates, complete short-term projects, and identify future hires.

GSDC has joined with regional employers, educators and community partners to bring and focused internship program, Intern Bridge, St. Cloud for a second year. On April 16th, St. Cloud State University will host Dr. Robert Shindell from Intern Bridge, a leading research and consulting firm.  The one-day presentation will share the latest, most effective 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 amazing internship program;

•      Identify future hires with the only no-strings-attached 12-week interview;

•      Create and maintain a pipeline of highly qualified and educated full-time job candidates;

•      Increase your organizational brand awareness on college campuses;

•      And much, much more!

More information and a link to registration is at

This workshop has been accredited by both HRCI and SHRM-PDC and attendees can receive six (6) CEU Credits. 

Posted on February 27, 2019 and filed under JobSpot.

Apollo High School Implements Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) Program

In the St. Cloud schools/ ISD 742, Apollo High School is working to bolster the number of students entering manufacturing and engineering careers.  To this end, the GSDC and Central MN Manufacturers Association (CMMA) have facilitated connections between Apollo High School and the Society of Manufacturing Engineers.

Apollo High School is working directly with local employers and the SME to ensure that manufacturing education offered to students aligns with the technology currently used in the workforce.

Apollo High School is also one of three Minnesota schools selected by United States federal agency, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), to participate in the NASA HUNCH program.  The HUNCH program will provide high school students educational experiences with NASA projects.

Posted on February 27, 2019 .

Employers and Students have epic encounters

EPIC Logo.png

A newly launched initiative, Exploring Potential Interests and Careers (EPIC), hosted an experiential learning event for high school students at the St. Cloud Technical and Community College on February 22, 2019.

The event provided students hands on, interactive experiences that simulated activities of a variety of careers.  A “career cluster wheel” from the Minnesota Department of Education was used to determine the offering.

Approximately 2,300 students from 24 area schools attended. More than 100 employers showcased industry careers through demonstrations, games and hands on activities.  Over 140 volunteers contributed their time and support to help make this event an EPIC success! Here more details about the event from GSDC Talent Director Gail Cruikshank in her interview with Jay Caldwell from WJON by clicking HERE.

The event organizers include St. Cloud Technical and Community College, St. Cloud State University, Rasmussen College, Partner for Student Success, St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce, Junior Achievement of the Upper Midwest, Central Minnesota Manufacturers Association, MN Department of Employment and Economic Development, Career Solutions and the Greater St. Cloud Development Corporation.

Plans are underway to hold the event annually and expand the number of schools, students and businesses participating.  In the meantime, support is being provided to schools in creating in-school EPIC events to enable more students and educators to explore careers and build partnerships with local employers.

Posted on February 27, 2019 .

Minnesota House Transportation Finance and Policy Committee to Visit St. Cloud Region

On February 22, members of the Minnesota House Transportation Finance and Policy Committee will be in Central MN to learn about and discuss transportation issues.  At a recent meeting of the I-94 West Coalition, Representative Frank Hornstein, Committee Chair, requested GSDC President Patti Gartland’s assistance in making arrangements for the Committee to visit our region.

 In the morning on February 22, New Flyer, the largest transit bus and motor coach manufacturer and parts distributor in North America, will host a private tour of New Flyer’s St. Cloud operation for Rep. Hornstein and committee members.

In the afternoon, a hearing of the committee will be held at the St. Cloud City Hall, during which the community will have the opportunity to provide input on regional transportation needs and priorities.

 Planning for this visit is underway.  Watch the Greater St. Cloud Development Corporations Face Book page for announcements and updates.

Posted on January 31, 2019 .

The Whole is Greater Than the Sum of Its Parts

By Patti Gartland, GSDC President

It was the philosopher Aristotle who coined the phrase, “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts”. And nothing could be truer as we reflect upon the news of two legacy companies in our region that are now one: Mathew Hall Lumber and Simonson Lumber.

The announcement shared by the Hall Family (see below) provides a warm and characteristically inspiring transition forward for the two companies that are now one and also for our broader community. The story of Mathew Hall’s immigration to Central Minnesota from Germany in 1882 is, in most ways, a typical migration story.  Hall, along with his father and brothers, were seeking better economic opportunities in America.

Like Mathew Hall, Nels Simonson’s journey was similar. As suppliers of lumber and building materials, both have been instrumental to the establishment and growth of our greater St. Cloud communities for more than a century.  I can only imagine the community transformations the Hall and Simonson families witnessed from their respective, yet similar, vantage points.

The GSDC is particularly grateful for Mathew Hall Lumber’s active support and engagement in the work of the GSDC over the past eight years. Through the leadership of Loran Hall, the company has been a founding and stalwart investor in the Greater St. Cloud Development Corporation. 

While we remain saddened by Loran’s untimely passing, and will remember Mathew Hall Lumber with deep gratitude, we look forward to welcoming Simonson Lumber Company into the GSDC investor family and continuing our partnership in making our region the best possible place to live, work, and engage (and build). Congratulations to all!


 Thank You for a Wonderful 129 Years

 To the Central Minnesota Community,

 Mathew Hall, his father and brothers migrated from Germany in 1882 to look for better opportunities in America. When he arrived, Mathew began working for Lt. Gov. Charles

Gilman, who gave him lumber in exchange for wages. Gilman encouraged him to open his own lumber yard. When he had built up a small supply of materials, Mathew rented and later purchased two lots in Downtown St. Cloud to start his business. Mathew Hall Lumber is still in the same location 129 years later.

 “The key to Mr. Hall’s success is his perfect honesty. When he was a boy, I would have trusted him with every cent I had in the world; and the years have proved that I was justified in my faith,” explained Charles Gilman, 1915.

 In 1948 Mathew retired and his four sons, Herb, Al, Ervin, and Marc, took over the business. Mathew remained active in the company until his passing in 1958. Mathew’s sons were planning to sell the business until Mathew’s grandson Jim (Pauline) Hall developed a plan to purchase Mathew Hall Lumber in 1967. After running the business for more than 30 years, Jim’s children took over in 2000; the late Loran (Bonnie), John (Nancy) and Dan (Julie).

 On January 31, 2019 Simonson Lumber purchased Mathew Hall Lumber and will continue to operate at the current locations. Simonson Lumber was established in 1913 with their first St. Cloud location in 1927. They are a family owned business with a long history similar to Mathew Hall Lumber.

 As we close one chapter of our lives and open a new one, we want to thank everyone for their

hard work and dedication to our business. Central Minnesota is what made this company great. Over the last 129 years we have been a staple of St. Cloud, one of the greatest. That will always live on in each and every person that has stepped foot through our doors. Even though the name will change the memories will always be here.

 We would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to the community for a wonderful 129 years.

 Thank you,

 The Hall Family

Posted on January 31, 2019 .

We Congratulate Marie Pflipsen!

Marie Pflipsen is a former GSDC intern and current Economic Development Director for the City of Becker.  Marie received the 2019 Emerging Professional of the Year award from the Economic Development Association of MN!

EDAM President Mat Brown presents Marie Pflipsen with the 2019 Emerging Professional of the Year award

EDAM President Mat Brown presents Marie Pflipsen with the 2019 Emerging Professional of the Year award

Posted on January 31, 2019 .