• Engage Leaders: Higher Works Collaborative – a New GSDC Investor!
  • Grow Business: Federal Reserve Survey
  • Expand Talent:
    • Minnesota Works to Expand Access to Childcare
    • Tools for Successful Recruitment and Retention in Manufacturing
  • Shape Tomorrow: Ramadan Mubarak! “Accommodating Muslim Employees During Ramadan” by Hudda Ibrahim
  • Insights and Inspirations: New MSP Airport Rolling Delivery Droid

Engage Leaders: Higher Works Collaborative – a New GSDC Investor!

Higher Works Collaborative (HWC) was developed in 2017 as a response to our growing community. The Mission of Higher Works Collaborative is: To bring a holistic approach that bridges the gaps and meets the needs of our BIPOC community. Our Leadership team, who identifies as African American of Slave descent, is built of dedicated people that work directly with the community. We have over half a century of combined experience working with and in our clients culture. We are successful at this work because of those many years of experience, professional training, and schooling that provide structure to the work that we now perform.

As is with the History of people of color in this country, we have been able to do a whole lot with very little. That is no different with Higher Works Collaborative. Whether it is through crisis management, entrepreneurial education, administrative support, school supplies, etc.

We have based our growth and development on academically researched practices of running and maintaining a nonprofit. Additional training and education has come from publicly available sources like the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits. Our greatest source of preparation has been the many years of working with our stakeholders and learning from our community about the needs they have and the most effective ways to bridge the many gaps between the needs and the resources available.

Our major areas of focus are: Transportation, Education, Employment, Housing, Health/Wellness and the Arts. Each of these divisions has its own set of programs to address the specific concern. HWC offers a variety of educational programs for both personal and professional growth. Courses include life skills and life management planning, basic computer education, tutoring and mentoring, financial basics, and beyond.

HWC programs are designed to support and nurture the whole individual. Access and exposure to the arts are vital not only to achieving a full, well-rounded life but also to the creation of a strong, vibrant community. HWC has created programming that connects individuals of all ages with music, art, theater, dance, athletics, nature and more.

We offer certified credit counseling classes, job search and resume writing workshops, tutoring for all ages, and life coaching. We host community events such as Kwanzaa, MLK Community Celebration, JuneTeenth and the Black Excellence Showcase. The core of what we do is educate and connect because an informed people is capable of anything as long as they know that anything is possible.


Pastor James Alberts 11, CEO and Founder; Natoyia Alberts, Co-Founder; Buddy King; Director of Operations




Grow Business

Federal Reserve Survey

Help the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis better understand how your organization has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic by taking this 5-minute survey.

This survey will assist the Federal Reserve to understand how the local, regional, and state economy has been impacted and will provide guidance while they shape monetary policy to help businesses weather today’s economic shock.

All responses are anonymous. Findings from the survey will be shared with partnering organizations such as the GSDC, local Chambers of Commerce, economic development organizations and other business organizations. The Federal Reserve conducted a similar survey of 476 area manufacturers and released the results in February– read the summary article from that survey HERE.

Additionally, the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis has a real-time COVID-19 dashboard using daily and weekly data sources to more accurately assess economic developments in real-time. To view this dashboard, click HERE.


Expand Talent

Minnesota Works to Expand Access to Affordable Childcare

April 7, 2021: “St. Paul On Monday, Department of Employment and Economic Development Commissioner Steve Grove and Department of Human Services Commissioner Jodi Harpstead were joined by staff of the Minnesota Children’s Cabinet and child care advocates and providers at a roundtable to discuss challenges providers have faced during the pandemic and the importance of high-quality, affordable child care in Minnesota’s economic recovery.

DEED also announced last week that the Small Business Development Centers at DEED will partner with First Children’s Finance to provide statewide assistance to help child care businesses.”

Read the full press release.


Tools for Successful Recruitment and Retention in Manufacturing

Vye, in partnership with the GSDC, has developed a robust resource around the topic of recruitment and retention in the manufacturing sector. The resource was built using insights from a recent roundtable discussion, as well as additional survey research and third-party data. Information in the ebook was designed for the manufacturing sector, but much of the content is relevant across all sectors. Here’s what you can expect to learn from the digital ebook:

Chapter 1: The state of recruitment and retention in the manufacturing sector, based on research insights.

Chapter 2: Methods to identify your ideal talent audience, key things to include on your career pages (with examples), and direction for ways to distribute job postings where your target audience will find them.

Chapter 3: Tactics to build your employer brand, common competitive benefits offered in the manufacturing sector, and insight on regional brand opportunities.

Chapter 4: How to use technology to automate the recruitment and hiring process, and ways to build empathy into your retention strategy.


You can access this valuable resource on either our GSDC website or on Vye’s website: You can access the free resource here. 

Questions or feedback? You can connect with Gail Cruikshank, Talent Director at GSDC (gcruikshank@greaterstcloud.com) or Clare Richards, Marketing Manager at Vye (clare@vye.agency)

Shape Tomorrow

Ramadan Mubarak! “Your turn: Accommodating Muslim Employees During Ramadan” by Hudda Ibrahim

From April 12 – May 12, Muslims will be fasting from sunrise to sundown. Hudda Ibrahim, CEO of Filsan Talent Partners, a GSDC investor, wrote an article for the St. Cloud Times titled: “Your Turn: Accommodating Muslim Employees During Ramadan”. If you’re not sure what Ramadan is or why it’s an important part of the Islamic faith, read this article to learn more and to learn how to be a good employer to your Muslim employees.

Insights and Inspirations

New MSP Airport Rolling Delivery Droid

(Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN – April 8, 2021) “The mobile food ordering and delivery service at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP) is on a roll thanks to a new ambassador that barely sees eye-to-eye with most kids and doesn’t speak a word. Yet, it invites double-takes, smiles and pointed fingers from travelers as it rolls by on its delivery missions.

In partnership with AtYourGate, MSP ASAP has unleashed a rolling droid, called a gita (jee-tah), as part of a pilot program that enhances contactless food ordering capabilities in Terminal 1.

“There is convenience and safety for customers to be able to order food from their phones or laptops, and within 15 to 30 minutes, the gita rolls up and opens its cargo doors for the customers to grab their order,” said Eric Johnson, director of commercial management and airline affairs for the Metropolitan Airports Commission, which operates MSP. “It’s fun and whimsical, but there is also a purpose behind the technology for customers to feel more confident in avoiding queue lines and having their order delivered.”

The rolling droid uses visual sensing technology to follow the AtYourGate delivery staff member to reach their customers at their gate or elsewhere in Terminal 1. Order demand and locations factor into when and where the gita is dispatched. It can carry a hefty order of up to 40 pounds in its cargo bin.

“We see gita as the first step towards introducing robotics as an innovative and safe new option for passengers who shop and dine while at MSP,” said AtYourGate Co-founder Chris Hartman. “Plus, the surprise and delight moments created when guests meet gita for the first time provide a terrific opportunity for the AtYourGate team to promote the MSP ASAP experience.” 

MSP is the fourth AtYourGate U.S. airport to launch the delivery droid, which is manufactured by Piaggio Fast Forward.

MSP ASAP launched in November 2020 in partnership with both AtYourGate and Grab. Customers can order delivery from 16 food venues as well as from North Loop Market, which offers packaged food, drinks, electronics and travel accessories. The same program also allows customers to order for pick-up as well, to limit time in queue lines and enhance social distancing. 

MSP’s award-winning concessions program features 125 restaurants and shops; 80 have opened in just the last five years. The program has received the ACI-NA Richard A. Griesbach Award of Excellence for Overall Concession Program and was honored with Best Overall Airport Offering for the Americas handed out in 2019 by the Moodie Davitt Report FAB Awards. In 2020, MSP was named to the ACI’s Director General’s Roll of Excellence in Airport Service Quality, after winning Best Airport in North America (in its size category) for four straight years.”   

Click here to see video of the MSP Rolling Delivery Droid



Contact Our Staff Team

Patti Gartland, President
pgartland@greaterstcloud.com | 320-260-2442

Leslie Dingmann, Business Development Director
ldingmann@greaterstcloud.com | 320-493-9003

Larry Hosch, Business Development Director 
lhosch@greaterstcloud.com | 320-761-4570

Gail Cruikshank, Talent Director 
gcruikshank@greaterstcloud.com | 320-260-6775

Amelia Barkley, Communications & Program Specialist 
abarkley@greaterstcloud.com | 320-292-9296