Development Foundation adds to workforce development team with new director of talent

May 6, 2019

This paid piece is sponsored by the Sioux Falls Development Foundation.

Workforce development takes a team, and that team is coming together at the Sioux Falls Development Foundation.

Sara Gillis recently was named director of talent and workforce development, joining Denise Guzzetta, vice president of talent and workforce development.

Gillis is an Augustana University graduate who double majored in English and journalism, and received her Master of Arts in English from USD. She then taught English and communications at Southeast Technical Institute.

In addition to her time in the classroom, Gillis held numerous leadership roles at Southeast Tech, including overhauling the school’s workplace communications curriculum to meet local industry needs.

We asked her to share more about her new role and her plans to help shape the city’s future workforce.

What does your role at the Sioux Falls Development Foundation involve?

In my work as the director of talent and workforce development for the Sioux Falls Development Foundation, I play a meaningful role in implementing the Forward Sioux Falls strategic workforce action agenda, which aims to develop and to advance the workforce within the city of Sioux Falls. Specifically, I’m tasked with fostering and maintaining relationships between area employers and educational institutions, both at the K-12 and the post-secondary levels, in order to develop and retain our talented students.

Why did the position seem like the right fit for you?

As a South Dakota native, I’ve always appreciated what Sioux Falls offers its residents and to prospective business owners, including immense employment opportunities, remarkable affordability and easy livability. I attribute my upbringing just outside the city of Sioux Falls as a motivating factor not only in my decision to attend college in South Dakota, but also in my eagerness to live, to work and, alongside my husband, Jordan, to raise our two sons in this city.

My work as an educator also allowed me to routinely measure the pulse of industry demands and to align my curriculum accordingly. Thus, I feel uniquely equipped to coordinate programming that is capable of nimbly responding to the needs of the developing workplace in the greater Sioux Falls region.

What do you aim to accomplish in this role?

I’m motivated to ensure that the city continues to foster and to preserve quality relationships with educational institutions at all levels in order to encourage talented graduates to live, to play and to launch their businesses in Sioux Falls.

On a logistical level, my work involves developing and leveraging existing programming that can and will positively impact the quality and/or quantity of the greater Sioux Falls workforce. One program in particular that targets our region’s internal talent is Your Future, which aims to expose area middle school students to lucrative and fulfilling careers that can also offer needed increases in supply for industries such as engineering, advanced manufacturing and other technology-heavy career paths. I’ll be working to schedule Your Future events in nearly 25 area middle schools during the 2019-2020 school year.

How does your work positively impact Sioux Falls residents and the region’s workforce?

In my view, the value of Sioux Falls has never been more promising as it currently stands, and I feel privileged to assist in the advancement of initiatives that shape the growth of Sioux Falls as the director of talent and workforce development. The strategic programming initiatives that were developed by Denise Guzzetta, the vice president of talent and workforce development, are comprehensive and ambitious, and I feel energized to use my background in education in coordinating programs like Your Future and others to showcase the enduring value of the innovative workforce in the greater Sioux Falls area.

To get connected to workforce development opportunities in the Sioux Falls area, visit http://win.siouxfallsdevelopment.com/

Workforce development priorities focus on drawing talent, educating for future needs

Development Foundation adds to workforce development team with new director of talent

Workforce development takes a team, and that team is coming together at the Sioux Falls Development Foundation.

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