Forward III Sioux Falls

Forward III Sioux Falls

Years: 1997 - 2001
Campaign Chair: Gary Olson
Campaign Goal: $3 million
Amount Raised: $4.2 million

About the Program

The period leading to the turn of the century was seen as critical by Sioux Falls business leaders. Sioux Falls needed to remain competitive and assure its position as a major regional city and economic center. The remainder of the decade would be a time of extraordinary business, technological and industrial advances in the United States. Forward Sioux Falls III – Into the Next Century focused on workforce development and the enhancement of the Sioux Falls area economy by the retention and creation of the maximum number of new jobs.

    We Wanted To:

  • Workforce Development: Promote workforce development resulting in the education and training of a minimum of 1,000 workers.
  • Existing Business: Enhance the retention and expansion of existing business and industry.
  • New Business: Attract and recruit new business and industry from selected target markets including the medical field, agricultural processing, information systems and financial services.
  • Technology: Assess and develop computer-based technology to benefit business and industry in Sioux Falls.
  • Business Climate: Lead and advocate the preservation of a business friendly climate in Sioux Falls and the state of South Dakota.
  • Quality of Life: Enhance and preserve the quality of life through the development of more affordable housing and support for economic development and community improvement projects that will establish and maintain Sioux Falls as a regional center.

    We Accomplished:

  • In 1997, the FSF Workforce Development Council was appointed. A director of the program was hired in 1998. Several projects and programs were created during FSF III to promote workforce, including the website. It serves as a link to job opportunities as well as general information about Sioux Falls to interested people
  • In 1999-2000, Avera McKennan Hospital, the Sioux Falls Development Foundation and a coalition of suppliers and homebuilders created the Lacey Park neighborhood. It began when 20 homes were moved from the blocks contiguous to Avera McKennan Hospital to what is now the Lacey Park Development. This is part of the Sioux Empire Housing Partnership, which promotes increasing the supply of housing for moderate income buyers. The SEHP, consisting of representatives from business, local government and community groups, accomplishes its mission through research, public education and advocacy efforts aimed at building public support for housing production.
  • The Employer Mortgage Assistance Program (EMAP) was developed to create affordable housing opportunities in the Sioux Falls area to help ensure a growing workforce. Co-sponsored by the Sioux Empire Housing Partnership and the South Dakota Housing Development Authority, EMAP seeks to help businesses give their employees a significant benefit and an employee who is a first-time homebuyer funds to aid in the purchase of their home. Employees are enrolled in classes to explain the programs benefits and responsibilities.
  • In 2000, Forward Sioux Falls launched the portal website This site serves as the home for the sites of the Greater Sioux Falls Chamber of Commerce, Sioux Falls Convention & Visitors Bureau, Sioux Falls Development Foundation and the free community events calendar site,
  • In 2000, Forward Sioux Falls launched, which served as a portal to,, and .
  • According to 2000 U.S. Census figures: Minnehaha County experienced a 19.8 percent growth rate from 1990 to 2000.
  • Lincoln County experienced a 56.4 percent growth rate from 1990 to 2000.
  • According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Lincoln County was the fastest growing county in the country for percentage change in housing units from 2000-2003.

    Sioux Falls in the News in this era:

  • Redbook magazine named Sioux Falls one of the 10 Best Cities in the U.S. for Working Mothers, based on factors such as local job markets, commuting ease and day care availability (1996).
  • Nation´s Business magazine placed Sioux Falls sixth in its nationwide ranking of top small metropolitan areas for growing a business (January 1997).
  • In the May 1997 issue, Parenting Magazine ranked Sioux Falls the seventh best city environment to raise children.
  • According to an August 2000 Runzheimer International study, Sioux Falls was the cheapest place in America to own and operate a vehicle. The management consulting firm took into account operating costs, taxes and insurance.
  • Sioux Falls was one of the top 11 cities in the U.S. with the friendliest environment for women based on crime rate, economy, schools, jobs, health care, women in local government and quality of life (Ladies´ Home Journal, March 2000).
  • Ladies´ Home Journal ranked Sioux Falls seventh for best bets for working women, based on the percentage of businesses that are owned by women, the percentage of working women who are professionals or managers, the salary gap between the sexes, and the number of reported cases of sexual harassment and job discrimination based on sex (March 2000).
  • Sioux Falls was ranked among the top 25 of the nation´s best places to do business and advance a career based on comparisons of wage and salary growth, job growth, and the growth of high technology in the past five years. (Forbes Magazine, May 2000)
  • Modern Maturity ranked Sioux Falls as one of the 10 best places to live in its April 2000 issue.
  • Sioux Falls received an A+ on Zero Population Growth´s 2001 Kid-Friendly Cities Report Card. The city excelled in health, public safety, education, economics, environment, and community life, ranking third out of 140 cities.
  • By the end of the first quarter of 2001, the unemployment rate in Sioux Falls was 1.7 percent, compared to 2.2 percent statewide and 4.3 percent nationwide.
  • Sioux Falls ranked third in a national list of top cities to start a company, according to a report by Cognetics, Inc. (Kiplinger Report, April 2001)
  •   200 N. Phillips Ave.
    Suite #200
    Sioux Falls, SD
  •   (605) 373-2008
  •   Email