Workforce development conference draws record audience with timely content, format

Nov. 10, 2020

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

Attracting, retaining and developing talent is still top of mind for business leaders in the Sioux Falls area despite the disruption of 2020 – and they showed it by showing up in record numbers at the WIN in Workforce Summit.

The annual event, put on by the Sioux Falls Development Foundation, drew more than 1,000 attendees thanks to a hybrid format that allowed virtual and in-person attendance.

“We have stepped into virtual programming in a very confident, very strong way,” said Denise Guzzetta, vice president of talent and workforce development for the Development Foundation. “And we’re just going to see more and more participation as we engage this new generation, Generation Z.”

The newest generation in the workplace was the focus of multiple sessions during the conference, which was divided into tracks for health, bio and life sciences, cyber and technology, and general business and manufacturing.

Attendees also could engage through Facebook, Instagram, YouTube or Zoom throughout the day. Mayor Paul TenHaken and keynote speaker Peter Bregman, recognized as the world’s top executive coach by Leading Global Coaches, addressed the event virtually.

“Being able to have the hybrid format is really important. And I think the content is really critical right now, given the environment that we’re in, being able to attract talent,” said Sandra Wallace, assistant vice president of employee relations and talent acquisition for First Premier Bank/Premier Bankcard, who spoke on a panel about Gen Z.

Hiring needs haven’t slowed in 2020, many attendees agreed.

“We’re back to that tight labor market that we experienced pre-pandemic,” said Kurt Loudenback, CEO of Grand Prairie Foods.

“And so it’s more apparent than ever that, as a business, we’ve got to be hiring and training and developing like never before.”

For in-person attendees, the event took substantial measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, including temperature screening at the entrance, intentional spacing  and prepackaged food.

“I thought Denise did a phenomenal job making sure everybody had plenty of space in person while engaging with a huge audience virtually at the same time,” said Chris Houwman, CEO of Malloy.

“I thought the content was excellent. Malloy requires highly skilled talent to keep industry running, and the program was very applicable to us, from interns to Gen Z to recruiting. I thought it was spot-on for companies that are expanding and need a workforce to support that.”

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Workforce development conference draws record audience with timely content, format

Businesses definitely are still focused on workforce — and showed it by attending in record numbers at this recent event.

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