This is a paid piece from the Sioux Falls Development Foundation.

Simplified: The Sioux Falls Development Foundation has helped more than 300 people receive workforce training through its UPSKILL Program, and with two new industries added this year, the goal is to help even more.

Why it matters

  • The UPSKILL Program launched in 2021 with funds from the Governor's Office of Economic Development. The Foundation started the program as a way to help businesses afford the cost of up-skilling their employees to keep up with changing workforce needs.
  • Initially, the program focused just on helping people earn their commercial drivers license (CDL), and it was so successful, UPSKILL expanded this year to include funding to train people in both the healthcare and construction industries.
  • Vice President of Talent and Workforce Denise Guzzetta noted that the labor market is flipping. Right now, the majority of the labor market is entry level, but in the next five years, she estimates about 75% of the labor market needs to be skilled, i.e. have some type of certification or credential.
"The goal is, overall, that we're going to start making dents in some of these industries where we have so much demand, and it's outpaced by supply," Guzzetta said.

How does the UPSKILL Program work?

Employers can reach out to the Development Foundation to participate in the program.

  • Their employee can get additional training – for example, earning a CDL, becoming a certified nursing aid or earning credentials in building trades. You can view a full list of eligible trainings and certifications here.
  • Then, the Foundation will reimburse up to 50% of the cost of that training – up to $3,000.

The Foundation has also worked with Southeast Technical College to help create flexible paths for people to up-skill while working around their current jobs.

What happens next?

Guzzetta estimates in the first year of adding on healthcare and building trades to the UPSKILL Program, the Foundation will be able to help about 12 people in each industry.

She also expects to see the Foundation support another 50 people in getting a CDL.

To get started with the UPSKILL Program, or to ask for help in an industry not listed here, reach out to the Sioux Falls Development Foundation or learn more on their website.