• Engage Leaders: A Cornerstone of Minnesota’s Economy, Offering a Wealth of Employment Opportunities
  • Grow Business: GSDC congratulates Two gBETA Greater MN St. Cloud alumni!
  • Expand Talent: GSDC supports community workforce challenges with Resources and Tools
  • Shape Tomorrow: TEDxStCloud2021 – Embrace
  • Insights and Inspirations: 2021 Virtual Conversation on Race – Tonight, October 5 at 6PM

Engage Leaders

Manufacturing: A Cornerstone of Minnesota’s Economy, Offering a Wealth of Employment Opportunities


For the first time ever, Governor Walz has proclaimed the entire month of October as Manufacturing Month. Manufacturing is Central Minnesota’s second largest employing industry, providing nearly 40,000 jobs with an average annual wage of more than $57,500, well above the region’s overall average of $48,500. Manufacturing also accounted for 11.4% of statewide employment and provided 14% of the state’s gross domestic product in 2020, so it’s clear that the health of Minnesota’s economy is closely tied to the strength of the manufacturing industry.

Contrary to some of the myths about manufacturing, it is not going away. In fact, 86,500 manufacturing job openings are expected in the state of MN by 2028, as older workers retire. It’s important work in a safe, clean, high-tech environment. Some plants are among the most state-of-the-art and sanitary environments you can find. High-tech machinery and workplace standards are designed to protect safety and well-being. Robotics and automation, artificial intelligence and 3D printing are among the technologies being used in manufacturing. Minnesota Manufacturers make everything from life-saving biomedical, biotech products to food, and countless other useful products.

Manufacturing workplaces are increasingly diverse and welcoming. Employers are actively seeking to hire men and women of all races, ethnicities, and backgrounds. Older workers and people changing careers are welcome. Manufacturing needs people with all levels of education, from a high school diploma or equivalent to advance degrees in science, technology, math, or engineering. Employees also have opportunities for growth. Many employers offer free on-the-job training and other continuous learning opportunities. Entry-level jobs can be a stepping-stone to higher level positions. Problem-solving skills, math skills, and mechanical aptitude are valued. From hands-on production jobs to executive sales and leadership roles, anyone can find interesting work with high-earning potential in manufacturing.

The state of Minnesota is sharing manufacturing career exploration resources, organizing career exploration events, tours of manufacturers, personalized school presentations, and many other activities during Manufacturing Month. You can find out more at CareerForceMN.com/Manufacturing.

Locally, Central Minnesota Manufacturers Association (CMMA) is offering its first ever virtual magazine, highlighting in-person and virtual tours that will be offered during October, and throughout the year. This magazine was developed to encourages parents, students, teachers, communities, and job seekers to understand the career pathways available to them in manufacturing. In our region, there will be 14 in-person or virtual tours of manufacturers, including the businesses of: Rotochopper; DCI, Inc; DeZURIK; Coldspring; Thermo-Tech, CWMF; TyloHelo, Inc; Park Industries; Metal-Craft; Seitz Stainless; Hansen & Company Woodworks; West Central Steel, Inc; and Nova Tech. CMMA is also working with 25 different schools and almost 1,000 students who are interested in touring a manufacturer in their community. For more information, go Central Minnesota Tour of Manufacturing VIRTUAL MAGAZINE or CMMAWorks.org.

Della Ludwig, Workforce Strategy Consultant,
Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED)

Grow Business

GSDC congratulates Two gBETA Greater MN St. Cloud alumni! 

GSDC congratulates two gBETA Greater MN St. Cloud alumni on their recent accomplishments:

  • ZenLord Pro (Fall 2019) for raising $125K
  • Itiliti Health (Spring 2021) for raising an additional $300K toward their seed round

gBETA is a free, seven-week accelerator for early-stage companies with local roots. Each program is capped at five teams and requires no fees and no equity.

The program dates for the Fall 2021 cohort will run October 18 – December 10. Mark your calendar for December 10th for Pitch Night where the participating companies will have the opportunity to pitch to an audience of entrepreneurs, mentors, investors and community members.

Questions? Contact Joe Sullivan, gBETA Greater MN St. Cloud Director.

Expand Talent

GSDC supports community workforce challenges with Resources and Tools

In May 2021, GSDC commissioned a 16- question survey in partnership with area Chambers of Commerce to gain insights from 215 local employers regarding labor force availability representing a strong cross section of industry.

From this survey we gained some key insights:

  • 56% factored their largest difficulty with hiring to expanded unemployment benefits
  • 53% had up to 7 openings/23% sought to fill 14 or more openings
  • 68% reported jobs most difficult to hire offered wages of $10-$20 per hour

In response to these results, GSDC initiated conversations with our area legislative partners to gain collaboration in advocating for our challenges in Central MN.  In addition, GSDC shared the following tips with our area employers to help secure employees as the pandemic benefits were ending.

  1. We’ve expanded promotion of GreaterStCloudJobSpot.com, our popular jobs portal that currently lists over 6,000 openings. Keeping JobSpot in front of potential employees right when they’re looking for work should lead to greater utilization than ever.


  1. Be sure to check your company’s JobSpot listings, to ensure your jobs are posted. Even though JobSpot uses “scraping” technology to automatically pull thousands of job listings from employer websites and aggregate job boards, it’s still a good idea to check your information. Contact Gail Cruikshank for questions/assistance.


  1. Start recruiting employees now to ensure qualified potential employees haven’t already committed to other jobs. Are you set up for a timely and efficient interview process? Be ready to shout why you are the employer of choice!  Visit our GSDC business resources for recruitment and retention tips.


  1. Know your industry’s wage scale, as it may have increased in the past year. You don’t want people bypassing your company’s opportunities because the pay is no longer competitive. Contact, GSDC Business Development Director, Leslie Dingmann to provide current data.


  1. Enlist your employees to contact their friends, telling them of openings at your company. The GSDC can provide a template for such a message if you’d like one, which includes an expression of your gratitude to current employees for their hard work and flexibility during recent months. Contact GSDC Talent Director, Gail Cruikshank for the template.


To support our local employers, GSDC ran a special campaign on Facebook from August 18th to Sept 8th promoting JobSpot. That campaign demonstrated strong success in driving more users to the site.

  • This campaign generated nearly 61,000 impressions (people who saw the ad) and almost 1,000 clicks (people physically clicked to the JobSpot portal).
  • The website saw a 151 percent increase in traffic coming from Facebook compared to the previous month.
  • These visitors spent over 4 minutes 10 seconds on the site and visited nearly seven pages per session! This compares to 9 seconds spent on the site per visit compared to industry average.

GSDC is here to help your business succeed, now and into the future. Please let us know if there are any challenges with which we can assist you.


Shape Tomorrow

TEDxStCloud 2021 – Embrace

Please join us on Thursday evening, October 14th, from 6:30 to 9:00 at the Paramount Theater. Eight local speakers will surprise, delight and challenge you with short talks covering a broad and eclectic range of topics. This year we will hear from:

  • James Alberts, founder and pastor of Higher Ground Church of Christ, a social justice leader and board member of ISAIAH MN.
  • Annette Atkins, author and historian, teaches that our history and our lives stand in such a close relationship to each other that reflecting on either one helps illuminate the other.
  • Mary Bruno, artist, community ambassador and owner of Bruno Press letterpress print shop in St. Joseph, MN.
  • Charles Eisenreich, lifelong pre-K-12 educator and administrator, with a rich background in participating in and coaching sports.
  • John Harlander, a physicist and designer of a NASA optical instrument that was deployed on the Ionospheric Connection Explorer, or ICON, mission.
  • Niloufer Merchant, a psychologist who uses a holistic approach in addressing trauma, PTSD, depression and anxiety.
  • Pete Rogers, a leader and expert in automation technology integration and robotics systems.
  • Robbyn Wacker, leader in higher education and an academician in gerontology and sociology.

TEDxStCloud has enjoyed generous support from GSDC and its investors since the inaugural TEDxStCloud event in 2017. We are grateful to the many local community and business organizations who have supported us across our five-year journey.

TED, a nonprofit devoted to spreading ideas, usually in the form of short, powerful talks, created TEDX as a program of local and self-organized events to bring people together to share a TED-like experience. Our event is called TEDxStCloud, where x = independently organized TED event. TED provides general guidance for TEDx programs, but each individual TEDx event, like ours, is self-organized by a team of local volunteers.

Find additional information and a link to purchase tickets at www.TEDxStCloud.com.



Insights & Inspirations

Conversation on Race – TONIGHT, October 5th at 6PM

Register here!





Contact Our Staff Team

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

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

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

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