Gov. Daugaard’s Workforce Summit report released

PIERRE, S.D. – Gov. Dennis Daugaard is releasing the workforce summit report today as he travels around the state to share the findings.

The Governor is hosting six meetings today and tomorrow to share the results, outline the opportunity for cross-sector collaboration and provide an update of new state government strategies.

“Over 1,000 people provided input for this report. We heard from educators, community leaders, businesses and elected officials from all across the state,” said Gov. Daugaard. “We’ve been actively engaged in workforce efforts over the past few years. By exploring the new tools and strategies laid out in the report, we can improve those efforts at the state and local levels.”

Public meetings are scheduled for:

Tuesday, Sept. 2

  • 7:30 – 8:30 a.m. MDT at the Rushmore Plaza Holiday Inn in Rapid City
  • 11:45 a.m. – 12:45 p.m. CDT at the Dakota Event Center in Aberdeen
  • 4:30 – 5:30 p.m. CDT at Lake Area Technical Institute in Watertown

Wednesday, Sept. 3

  • 7:30 – 8:30 a.m. CDT at the Brookings Days Inn Convention Center
  • 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. CDT at Mitchell Technical Institute
  • 3 – 4 p.m. CDT at the Sioux Falls Convention Center

The final report and previous Workforce Summit resources, videos and presentations are available at


Construction guidebook points way to efficient new buildings

Western Area Power Administration (WAPA) recently discussed the New Building Institute’s New Construction Guide in their August Energy Services Bulletin. The guide serves as a reference for building design and construction professionals to define high performance in building envelope, lighting, HVAC power systems and controls. It offers a whole-building approach to achieving deep energy efficiencies in new building projects.

Click HERE for the complete story.

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FREE community training and workshop event

GROW South Dakota invites community organizations, municipalities, and county government representatives to attend a Community Appeal Workshop on September 10-11, 2014, at the Aberdeen Ramada Hotel and Convention Center.  This free community event is sponsored by The Bush Foundation and Northeast Council of Governments.  To register for this training event please CLICK HERE.

Craig Schroeder, Director of Youth Engagement at the Center for Rural Entrepreneurship, and Milan Wall, Co-Director of Heartland Center for Leadership Development will provide an interactive workshop that focuses on the regional issues of mindset and workforce/people attraction which are a starting point to addressing other key factors affecting our region.

The workshop outline will cover the following topics:

  • Clearly identifying our strongest people attraction assets based on the region’s community capitals framework.
  • Defining the target market that is most interested in what we have to offer.
  • Creating a compelling brand and message that authentically conveys our strongest assets to the target market.
  • Recruiting and training community ambassadors to host people who express interest in visiting or moving to our community or region.
  • Engaging with alumni and potential newcomers, emphasizing our target market, and staying connected with them to determine their hometown needs.
  • Proactively welcoming new residents and inviting them to become involved as active citizens and leaders.

The majority of the workshop will actively engage the participants in working through a series of activities on the above topics. Then building on these activities, participants will engage in the creation of community/regional action plans for recruiting and training community ambassadors. Each of the activities will be conducted with small group dialog using worksheets and group feedback to guide the participants along the path from an awareness of opportunities to action plans with defined next steps to move their work forward.

Schedule of Events:
September 10, 2013 – 1:00 pm-6:00 pm | Community Appeal Workshop (dinner will be served) and Introducttion to Prairie Idea Exchange by Dakotafire Media
September 11, 2013 – 8:00 am-12:00 pm |Community Appeal Workshop (Building Action Plans)

All events will be held at the Ramada Hotel & Convention Center of Aberdeen.  A block of rooms has been reserved for those attendees needing overnight accommodations.  Please mention GROW South Dakota when you are registering to receive the special event rate. For hotel reservations call (605) 225-3600.
If you have additional questions regarding the Community Appeal Workshop, please contact Paula Jensen at GROW South Dakota by email,, or by phone at 605-698-7654 Ext 133.

growSDGROW South Dakota strives to reach rural communities to improve the quality of life through housing, community and economic development.  Historically, these organizations have invested over $50 million in housing development and $54 million in economic development.  For more information about GROW South Dakota’s housing and business development programs and services please visit our website at or call 605-698-7654.

Like GROW South Dakota on Facebook or follow the organization on Twitter.


Remember to call 811 before digging on 8/11 and always

Today and every day, the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission and the South Dakota One Call Board hope the date – 8/11 – will serve as a reminder for residents to call 811 prior to any digging project to have underground utility lines marked.

According to the Common Ground Alliance, an underground utility line is damaged every six minutes because someone decided to dig without first calling 811. Striking a single line can cause injury, repair costs, fines and inconvenient outages. Every digging project, no matter how large or small, warrants a call to 811. Installing a mailbox, putting in a fence, building a deck and laying a patio are all examples of digging projects that need a call to 811 before starting.

“On Aug. 11 and throughout the year, we remind homeowners and professional contractors alike to call 811 before digging to eliminate the risk of striking an underground utility line,” said South Dakota Public Utilities Commission Chairperson Gary Hanson. “It really is the only way to know which utilities are buried in your area.”

A call to 811 is required at least 48 hours prior to all digging projects, excluding weekends and holidays. The call is free and sets into motion a series of activities designed to preserve excavator safety and infrastructure integrity.

Erin Hayes, South Dakota One Call Board chairman and director of corporate construction for Midcontinent Communications, described the locate request process: “When an excavator calls 811, our trained call center representatives will contact the respective utilities who will dispatch personnel to mark their underground facilities at the dig site. Only after that has occurred can an excavator proceed with digging,” she explained.

The depth of utility lines can vary for a number of reasons, such as erosion, previous digging projects and uneven surfaces. Utility lines need to be properly marked because even when digging only a few inches, the risk of striking an underground utility line still exists. After utility operators have marked existing underground utilities, excavators are encouraged to dig with care.

Fair-goers visiting the PUC booth at the Brown County Fair, Aug. 12-17, in Aberdeen and the South Dakota State Fair, Aug. 28–Sept. 1, in Huron will have the opportunity to make the “811 Promise” and win prizes.

Visit for more information about 811 and the call-before-you-dig process.


Public power concerns shared at EPA power plants hearing

By Theresa Pugh, Director of Environmental Services, American Public Power Association
Published July 31, 2014 at

On June 2, 2014, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released a proposed rule, under Section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act, to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from existing fossil-fueled power plants. EPA hopes to release the final rule in June 2015 and is now accepting comments on the rule and holding public hearings across the country.

Yesterday, I shared the American Public Power Association’s perspective on the proposed rule at a public hearing in Washington, D.C. and reiterated our key concerns:

  • The proposal goes well beyond what is permissible under the Clean Air Act’s Section 111(d).
  • EPA is mandating specific CO2 reduction requirements for states, which is a problem because the proposed rule provides no role for states in setting or modifying those standards. States know best what they can do.
  • The proposed rule tries to do too much too fast. It is “front-loaded,” requiring most emission reductions by 2020. Coupled with stringent compliance requirements, the 2020 deadline does not give states enough time to come up with plans, have them approved by EPA, and achieve their reductions.
  • EPA claims it offers states “flexibility” but that’s just a myth. In constructing its “building blocks” to determine a state’s reduction requirement, EPA has relied on such aggressive assumptions that its severely limits state compliance options. The building blocks have actually become roadblocks to success.
  • States do not get full credit for actions they took to invest in renewable energy and energy efficiency measures prior to 2012 [see our blog post on early action]. This penalizes states that have been “out in front” on emission reductions.
  • The reduction requirements for some states will force the premature closing of coal and natural gas-fired units, with heavy capital investment, that still have useful lives. And when fossil-fueled plants are shut down prematurely, reliable power supply — and customers’ electric bills — will feel the pain.
  • The state requirements do not take into account the fact that electricity demand is rising, thanks to population growth and an increase in energy-intensive manufacturing. Renewables and energy efficiency measures alone won’t be enough to meet the increasing demand for power.

APPA will continue to voice its concerns, submit written comments by the Oct. 16, 2014 deadline, and work to ensure that public power utilities are able to honor their commitment to keep the lights on at affordable prices, while continuing to care for the environment.