BLACK HILLS PIONEER – In a push to make sure students are as prepared as possible for future careers, Black Hills State University (BHSU) is expanding its Student Success Center and Career Development department. The Career Development Program Coordinator Andrea Bakeberg explained that “really, all of the services and things I do are geared towards that end goal of getting students out into the workplace and really to be successful when they get there.”
Bakeberg reviews resumes and cover letters, conducts mock interviews, and helps students research what types of jobs there are within the field of the majors to prepare for their job search. She also arranges classroom visits with employers from the community to present to students some of the basic qualities they look for when hiring. She also hopes to arrange on-site visits to bring students into workplaces in the future.
Bakeberg said she directs students to use an online job search resource called Handshake to post resumes and search not only for careers, but part-time and full-time work while in school, as well. Handshake is geared towards college students and recent graduates. It allows students to search for all types of employers and for employers to seek out employees based on exact parameters they select themselves.
Spearfish Economic Development Corporation (SEDC) recently received a $3,000 grant through Black Hills Energy’s Economic Development Grant program to support ongoing marketing efforts targeted toward recruiting additional outdoor product companies to the Spearfish area. The marketing initiatives are dually geared toward workforce attraction.
Spearfish’s outdoor attractions and active lifestyle appeal have been recognized by numerous organizations and publications and have already helped to attract a handful of outdoor-centric companies to the community. SEDC is working hard to encourage more companies of this nature to relocate or expand to the area as they create the type of clean industry and good-paying jobs the community desires.
“This grant will significantly enhance our ongoing marketing strategies,” said Kory Menken, SEDC Executive Director. “Thanks in part to past grant support from Black Hills Energy, SEDC has made significant inroads with the outdoor recreation community and looks forward to capitalizing on the increased interest in South Dakota resulting from the circumstances of 2020.”
Within the past several years, SEDC has attended a variety of strategic tradeshows including the Outdoor Retailer Summer Market and the International Fly Tackle Dealer show. Participation in these shows provided SEDC with the unique opportunity to connect directly with key decision makers and influencers from the outdoor product market and has resulted in continued communication with over three dozen prospective companies. This newest grant will allow SEDC to continue to place advertisements in key regional and national publications, as well as boost existing social media, video, and website efforts.
“At Black Hills Energy we are committed to helping our customers and communities thrive and grow.” said Marc Eyre, Vice President of Electric Operation at Black Hills Energy. “Spearfish offers world class outdoor recreation opportunities, so we were very excited to support SEDC through our Economic Development Grant program as we work together to bring additional outdoor businesses to the community.”
In recognition of local, state, and national COVID-19 guidelines, Spearfish Economic Development Corporation (SEDC) held its Annual Meeting virtually this year on January 28. The organization -dedicated to improving and diversifying economic opportunities within the Spearfish community- has been in operation since 1980.
Despite the change in format, the program nevertheless included economic and community development updates from SEDC and the City of Spearfish, a keynote address from Black Hills State University President, Dr. Laurie Stenberg Nichols, and the presentation of the 2021 Spirit of Enterprise Award and 2021 Award of Excellence. “In spite of the challenges we have faced as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, 2020 was a year of opportunity and growth for both SEDC and Spearfish,” said SEDC Executive Director Kory Menken. “While it was a difficult decision to not hold an in-person Annual Meeting this year, we were excited to celebrate the community’s many accomplishments and to share SEDC’s goals for the future.”
The Spirit of Enterprise Award was created in 2002 to recognize the entrepreneurial spirit of those who take risks and make the investment of time and money to grow a small business. The 2021 award was presented to City Brew Coffee of Spearfish. “Winning this award solidifies what we have hoped to create, and it tells us that other business leaders in the community recognize what we have been trying to accomplish,” stated City Brew Coffee co-owner Joe Conklin. “This is an honor,” added Conklin’s daughter and business partner, Traci Conklin-Barkey. “We appreciate this and everything SEDC has done for the community.”
The Award of Excellence was established in 1999 to recognize a business which best exemplifies dedication and commitment within the areas of business development, capital investment and job creation. The 2021 award was presented to Pioneer Bank & Trust of Spearfish. “I look at the list of previous winners and it is pretty impressive,” said Tom Deis, President of Pioneer Bank & Trust in Spearfish. “It’s really an honor and we are so proud to be a part of SEDC and to support the organization.”
It was also announced that Thomas Worsley from Monument Health and James Mortenson from Black Hills Community Bank had been elected by the SEDC membership to serve on the Board of Directors beginning in February 2021. Current SEDC Board member Dr. Priscilla Romkema from Black Hills State University was also elected to serve a second 3-year term. Outgoing Board members Wayne Klein from Landmark Realty & Development and Cody Byrum from Black Hills Community Bank were recognized for their six years of service to SEDC.
The following slate of Executive Officers for 2021 was also shared:
- Past President: Barb Cline, Prairie Hills Transit
- President: Kevin Rhoades, White’s Canyon Motors
- President-Elect: Joe Conklin, City Brew Coffee/Qdoba
- Vice President: Whitney Driscoll, Two Points Ranch
- Secretary/Treasurer: Ryan Wordeman, The Real Estate Center
The entire 2021 SEDC Annual Meeting can be viewed by visiting the SEDC website at www.spearfishdevelopment.com.