The Central South Dakota Enhancement District (CSDED) requested funding from the EDA that would allow for the creation and publishing of a COVID-19 Recovery and Resiliency Plan addendum to the Comprehensive Economic Development Plan for the Central South Dakota region. Project funding is provided via grant dollars supplied by the federal Economic Development Administration under CARES Act funding. The COVID-19 Recovery and Resiliency addendum is a substantive report compiling local information pertaining to COVID-19 effects on the economy and developing recommendations to build resiliency to the lingering effects of COVID-19 and future disturbances to the local economy. The following report will provide a clear understanding of the effects of COVID-19 on central South Dakota communities and their economic situations as it relates to recovery and resiliency efforts.
School districts, economic development groups, business owners, employers and industry leaders must work together to develop training programs needed to create a workforce that can meet the economic diversification and growth goals of central South Dakota. Emerging trends in technology advancements and workplace protocol is leading to more mobility and freedom of location.
The goal should not be to train a skilled labor force that is well educated and worry-free in the workplace...as they will continue to be in high demand outside of the region. Targeted industry partnerships should focus on educating local talent about the prospects of entrepreneurship, business opportunities and market dynamics, local state and regional needs and weaknesses.
The loss of individuals with initiative, talent, knowledge, training and skill from central South Dakota will continue to plague our business and economic climate. Active engagement strategies should be considered for recruiting the best and brightest future leaders. Financial incentives, housing assistance, business loans, and community leadership opportunities should be utilized.
Regional benefits are reciprocal: What brings economic benefits to one community in our region will ultimately bring value to the region as a whole. Pursuing collective goals with organized resources and strategies will raise the economic development bar for communities through CSDED service area.
These investments should be directed to foster resilience to flood/drought and global climate change impacts while enhancing central South Dakota’s public water supply and wastewater infrastructure. It will be important to make sure, to the extent possible, that infrastructure investments are made in locations with the greatest potential for planned growth.
Planning for future crises should begin with a communication plan and corresponding hierarchy for local and regional application. Ideally, local and regional teams will work in collaboration to ensure all information dissemination is identical in their objective standards of fact and quality.
Regional collaborations or municipal partnerships should be considered as a means of increasing competitiveness and compounding effectiveness of currently siloed budgets. Planning efforts should be pursued and organized under a unified regional vision, aligning individual community plans with overarching regional goals.
The basic goal of all communities within central South Dakota should be to maintain a full range of housing choices and opportunities for all residents. The ability of our residents to earn wages that keep pace with housing costs and provide a broader choice of housing within our communities is a critical component to addressing the affordable housing challenges.
Long standing traditions of farming, ranching, state government, and tourism primarily complete central South Dakota’s economic engine. We would benefit from an increase in research and development spending, which is critical to better understanding the regional capacity for alternative industry expansion efforts and the creation of high-quality, high-paying jobs requiring less advanced education