A Week To Laud Development

A Week To Laud Development Main Photo

6 May 2019

Community Growth, South Dakota

Along with April showers turning into May flowers I hope you are celebrating National Economic Development Week! Yes, get out your party hats and whoop it up with all your friends and family to celebrate our diverse and growing economy in Yankton.

You hear me constantly talking about collaboration and partnerships and how together we can create greater momentum. Within the realm of economic development, it isn’t one organization (such as City, County, MMC, YSD, YAPG) working independently to strengthen the economy. We all may have separate strategic plans and mission statements, but the overall vision for the community is what brings us together. We want to create more wealth in Yankton. We want to grow the workforce. We want great educational opportunities at all age levels. We want suitable housing options. We want more retail and restaurants. By finding ways to work together, we will continue making impactful, sustainable change.

Just because we want things, doesn’t mean we get them. We must continue to work hard to build the resources and partnerships to grow the economy. As an individual you may still be wondering the role you play in economic development. It starts by supporting the local businesses that already exist in our community. Shop local, play local, eat local. The money you spend in Yankton is going to businesses that support our local non-profits, sporting teams, youth events and so much more. Think about it, when you make purchases in Yankton those are the businesses that are supporting our community activities. Along with your purchase, please tell them thank you for continuing to “pay it forward” and reinvesting in Yankton.

The last several months have been challenging for all of Yankton County with the floods damaging property, roads and infrastructure. As a community we are still going through the healing process and will be for many months to come. Let’s continue to rally together to support those in need rather than fuss about the things that have yet to be fixed. Patience is critical due to the amount of time it takes for planning and repair.

I recently attended an economic development course that stressed the importance of how you project your community’s culture. When site selectors and business leaders are looking for communities to relocate to, they are looking at a variety of indicators that will “eliminate” your community even before you know you are being considered. How we talk about our community to friends and family matters. What we say on social media matters. How we maintain our store fronts and homes matters.

Our labor force in Yankton County has been growing and is currently around 11,863 people. With a 2.6% unemployment rate in Yankton it is difficult for the businesses to find enough qualified people to fill the openings. We need to celebrate the job opportunities and recreational amenities in our community to encourage others to work and live here. Yankton is a great place to raise a family. And as the families grow in size, so does the future workforce!

You may have heard about Chart Your Career, a workforce development program for CNA’s (Certified Nursing Assistants). We will be working with our partners to train 100 new CNA’s to start their healthcare careers in the Yankton region. Healthcare careers can be incredibly fulfilling and starting as a CNA is a solid foundational choice to help you prepare for a bright future. If you are interested, please check out ChartYourCareer.org.

YAPG has been working to expand opportunities for each of you to engage with us and share your thoughts. We would encourage you to register on POLCO.us to answer survey questions about Yankton. New questions will be asked every couple of weeks and your answers are anonymous. We see the demographics of who is answering the questions, but do not have access to names. Please take a few minutes to register through the app or website. Your input is valuable.

If you are interested in hearing more about the economic conditions in Yankton, I will be speaking at the State of the Community on May 16. You can contact the Chamber at 665-3636 to register for this lunch event. I also appreciate invitations to local service clubs so we can have a conversation about development in Yankton. Thank you for supporting economic development in Yankton and working with YAPG to discover new development opportunities together.

~ Nancy Wenande, CEO