Magazine Highlights Minnesota as a Top Spot for Business

Monday, January 28, 2019

The new edition of Minnesota: Thriving in the North spells out the benefits of doing business here. It highlights the state’s inviting business climate, innovative atmosphere and world-class workforce. The publication, available in both print and digital versions, is part of DEED’s ongoing work to promote the state’s advantages for business investment and expansion, as well as its culture of innovation and quality of life. Continue to full article  
Meet Two Young Professionals Who Moved to Swift County from Alaska

Friday, January 25, 2019

Brinna and Jeremy Langford are building their careers and growing their family in Swift County after having recently moved from Alaska. Brinna is a 6th grade Special Education Teacher at Lac qui Parle Valley High School and Jeremy is a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) for Appleton Area Health Services. Photos courtesy of As a teacher, Brinna enjoys working with and advocating for students with disabilities. She has her Masters Degree in Special Education and completed her thesis on Childhood Trauma, during which she discovered that she has a passion for working with students who have hard-to-handle behaviors and are often...
New Privacy and Data Security Guide Published for 2019

Friday, January 25, 2019

Annual guide developed in cooperation with Gray Plant Mooty ST. PAUL - The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) has partnered with Minneapolis law firm Gray Plant Mooty to publish “A Legal Guide to Privacy and Data Security 2019.” This privacy guide is intended to inform businesses of legal issues related to privacy and data security. Written for non-lawyers, this is the fourth time Gray Plant Mooty and DEED have collaborated to publish and distribute the privacy guide. Continue to full article
Daycare could be key to Benson area’s growth

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

School-industry collaboration and city beautification also important Through his two days of meetings with students, senior citizens, business people, young adults, and local government leaders Doug Griffiths was always seeking an answer to a two-part question: What is the most important thing to the future of your community and what assets do you have that will help you ensure your future is bright? Young families moving to Benson was the first answer and excellent, affordable and readily available daycare the second. Certainly, there were a lot of discussions about the challenges businesses face in filling job vacancies, about the lack of available and...
Helping Startups Succeed—and Stay—in the Midwest

Friday, January 11, 2019

At the University of Minnesota, launching a new company is one of several ways that breakthrough research can move beyond the lab to benefit the public. But finding the right leader, with the right experience, to bring these new technologies to market can be difficult. “Leadership is just as important as intellectual property to a startup’s success,” said Mary MacCarthy, Venture Center program manager with the U’s Venture Center in the Office for Technology Commercialization. “The biggest challenge the U of M has with launching our startups is finding skilled, available CEOs with experience in particular industries.” A new network comprising 11...
Number of Women-Owned Businesses Increased Nearly 3,000% since 1972, According to New Research

Wednesday, January 09, 2019

The Eighth Annual State of Women-Owned Businesses Report, Commissioned by American Express, Finds Women Are Starting an Average of 1,821 Net New U.S. Businesses a Day Number of Firms Owned by Minority Women Has Grown by Nearly 3 Times That of All Women-Owned Firms Over the Past 11 Years NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Women started an average of 1,821 new businesses per day in the U.S. between 2017 and 2018, according to analysis in the 2018 State of Women-Owned Businesses Report, commissioned by American Express (NYSE:AXP). This level of new business formation by women is greater than the daily average during the pre-recession period...
Rochester, Twin Cities Ranked Among Most Innovative On Earth

Monday, January 07, 2019

The Australian data research company 2thinknow released its 11th annual Innovation Cities Index this month. See how Minnesota cities ranked. ROCHESTER, MN — Innovation isn't easy. Case in point, your kids have heard of Netflix and Facebook, but will give you a blank look if you talk about Blockbuster or MySpace, two companies routinely listed among the biggest to fail specifically because they didn't innovate. So when we say three Minnesota cities were just ranked among the most innovative on Earth, it's — with apologies to Ron Burgundy and the movie "Anchorman" — kind of a big deal. Continue to full article
How are we doing? Minnesota near top of 'best economy' states

Friday, January 04, 2019

A ranking of state economies using metrics like poverty rate, home ownership, job growth and education puts Minnesota ahead of California (and, more important, Wisconsin).  USA Today reports on the listing, compiled by financial site 24/7 Wall Street. Minnesota comes in No. 7 overall, just behind Hawaii. The state scored points for its low unemployment rate (3.1 percent at the time of the survey), GDP annual growth rate of 1.7 percent (the 14th best in the list) and an especially high home ownership rate of 71.3 percent. Continue to full article  
MEDA recognized as best (again) by U.S. Commerce Department

Thursday, January 03, 2019

Minneapolis-based MEDA, the nonprofit minority business counselor and lender, has been recognized for a third consecutive year by the U.S. Department of Commerce as the nation’s top performer among 40 Minority Business Development Agency Business Centers. MEDA scored tops for overall performance, including job creation, financing, contracts and exports secured for clients. The nonprofit earned the same top national honors for its performance in 2016 and 2017. Continue to full article
New York Times sends reporter to State Fair, discovers Minnesota's greatness

Wednesday, January 02, 2019

Our beloved Minnesota State Fair gets a glowing feature — and they didn't even make fun of us.  This is no grape salad write-up. No outrage needed this time, Minnesota. Yep, the New York Times published a story last night about another one of our most-treasured institutions — and got it right. In “A Newbie at the Minnesota State Fair,” a freelancer writer (who just moved here) goes to the Great Minnesota Get-Together and completely gushes. Continue to full article
Minnesota's unemployment rate hits an 18-year low, with good trends for blacks, hispanics and teens

Tuesday, January 01, 2019

Minnesota is enjoying it's third highest 3-month job growth rate since 1990. There's more good economic news for Minnesota when it comes to job growth. Department of Employment and Economic Development researchers say while the state's overall unemployment rate hit an 18-year low at three percent for the month of July, subsets within the population are doing even better. DEED Research Director Steve Hine says they've seen an among Minnesotans with less than a high school diploma, unemployment dropped nearly seven percentage points, mostly due to teen unemployment dropping 6 percent. Continue to full article
Innovation Voucher Award Program

Monday, December 31, 2018

Financial Awards Give Small Businesses Access to Technical Assistance The Innovation Voucher Award Program provides $5,000 to $25,000 awards to help small businesses purchase technical assistance and services necessary to advance research, development or commercialization of new or innovative products and services. Qualifying businesses receive awards – which the recipient must match on a 50 percent basis – to reimburse for expenses incurred for assistance and services rendered by public universities, colleges, technical schools and non-profits in Minnesota. Reimbursable expenses include purchased technical assistance and services in research, technical development, product development, commercialization, market development, technology exploration, and improved business practices, including strategies to...
3 Percent

Friday, December 28, 2018

MN's unemployment rate has been at or below 4 percent for four years straight Minnesota’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell to its lowest level since June 2000 – 3 percent. Our unemployment rate has been at or below 4 percent for four consecutive years. (The US unemployment rate in July was 3.9 percent.) Employers added 11,200 jobs in July and 31,800 jobs over the past three months, the third-highest number of new jobs over a three-month span dating back to 1990. Continue to full article
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Two Young Professionals are Following their Passions in Swift County

Monday, November 05, 2018

Blake Hagen and Tracy Herzog recently graduated from college and have chosen to build their careers, and their life, in Swift County. After graduating from St. John’s University in 2016, Blake Hagen knew he wanted to stay true to his roots and live in an agricultural community, as did his fiancee Tracy Herzog. “Growing up in Morrison/Stearns County, nearly everyone (including my family) in the neighborhood are dairy farmers. I really enjoyed the freedom of living in the country and having the space to run around and play. I loved the connections we had with our neighbors and the farming...
Meet Jordan Almen, a Millennial Who Has Chosen to Grow Her Career in Swift County

Wednesday, August 08, 2018

Jordan Almen, reporter at The Kerkhoven Banner, chose to move back to Kerkhoven after spending four years away at school and then two years in the cities, working at a bank.  She spent enough time elsewhere to know that living here was what she wanted. She chose to be here because this she loves living in Kerkhoven, even though she had a good job elsewhere. Like many Millennials, Jordan is living life on her terms and choosing to live in a small community is part of that. “Through those six years away, I came to realize that I really missed things...
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Terri and Bob Orr Moved Home to Grow their Family and Launch a Business

Wednesday, August 01, 2018

When Terri and Bob Orr decided to have children, they knew they wanted to raise them in Benson. Moving back to Swift County after 17 years allowed them to be close to their large families, reconnect with the community, and pursue their passions in the process. Terri is the Swift County Veterans Service Office Manager and works closely with Veterans. Bob runs their two companies - BackStreet Media and BackStreet Printing. We wanted to learn more about what drew them back to Swift County and how their careers have thrived here. Q: After leaving Benson, you lived in several places, including...
Benson airport getting $820,000 in upgrades

Friday, July 27, 2018

With considerable financial assistance from the federal and state governments, the Benson City Council agreed at its meeting to pursue more than $820,000 in improvements to the municipal airport. It has contracted with TKDA Professional Services of St. Paul for work on a new aviation dual-fuel storage tank at the airport and the removal of the old tank. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency has ordered the city to replace the old tank. The cost of the new fuel tanks is $320,000, but the federal government is paying 90 percent of the cost, or $288,000. The state government is paying $16,000 as is the...
Minnesota's youth labor force growing

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

New numbers from DEED show Minnesota has more teens working during the summer. MINNESOTA - Summer is almost here and that means kids are antsy to get out of school and start having more fun. But many teens will be busy working, some collecting a paycheck for the first time. Through Growing Good, about 50 youth will be digging in the dirt at community gardens in the Twin Cities. The program is run by the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum to teach kids job and life skills. "They're growing vegetables, herbs and selling them to local restaurants. They're learning how to create invoices, communication skills, and...
Optimism grows among Minnesota manufacturers

Monday, July 23, 2018

The state of manufacturing is strong. A full 93 percent of Minnesota manufacturers are financially confident about the future, which is just a hair off last year's high-water mark of 94 percent, according to a recently released survey by Enterprise Minnesota. "There has never been as much energy in manufacturing as there is today," said the consulting firm's CEO, Bob Kill. "And that's a cool thing to say, because we face a lot of challenges." Continue to full article
Nursing field is attracting more males, both in Minnesota and nationwide

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Long before Raney Linck joined the nursing profession or became a clinical assistant professor at the University of Minnesota, he bounced from one sales gig to another for seven years. Then the routine started to feel a little mundane, and Linck, who had a bachelor’s degree in mass communication, decided to try a different career path — one that involved educating and caring for people, would be both personally satisfying, and would help him make a difference. The best occupation that combined all of those characteristics, he figured, would be nursing, because he could both care for his patients and inform them about...
Ranking of world's top 1,000 universities puts Minnesota, many from Big Ten in first 50

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Minnesota landed in 35th in the annual ranking released  A well-regarded annual ranking of 1,000 of the world’s universities is out, and the University of Minnesota is one of nine Big Ten schools landing among the top 50. The U came in 35th on the list released Monday by the Center for World University Rankings. The center, based in the United Arab Emirates, is a global consulting organization providing policy and strategic advice, and consulting services to governments and universities. It has been publishing the academic ranking of universities since 2012. Continue to full article
How Minnesota farmers are using different plant varieties, and new techniques, to extend the state's growing season

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

When horticultural and wine scientists at the University of Minnesota apply for funding to research growing grapes in a climate better known for producing soybeans than wine, they often have to answer a common question: Why bother? “We get that pushback when we submit grants all the time,” said Matt Clark, who leads the University’s grape breeding project. The simple answer – why not? – smacks of the same spirit many Minnesotans adopt to handle long, cold winters. Yes, the climate presents challenges, but farmers and ag researchers also see opportunities: Breeding cold-hardy fruit varieties has made the university a lot of money...
Survey report suggests Midwest economy still steaming ahead

Monday, July 16, 2018

OMAHA, Neb. — The surging business conditions in nine Midwest and Plains states will be tested by trade conflicts and other factors that could slow growth, an economist said in a survey report issued. The Mid-America Business Conditions Index recorded its highest mark in 14 years last month, hitting 67.3 in May, compared with 64.5 in April, according to the report. The March figure was 62.1. This is the 18th straight month the index has remained above growth neutral 50.0, pointing to strong growth for the region over the next three to six months. Continue to full article
The State of Internet Connectivity in Minnesota’s K-12 Schools

Friday, July 13, 2018

96 percent of Minnesota school districts had access to high-speed Internet in their classrooms. Here’s what’s left to do. Ninety-six percent of Minnesota school districts had access to high-speed Internet in their classrooms in 2017. This year, thanks to federal and state funding and local partnerships, we may see every school district in Minnesota on a scalable fiber connection to support K-12 education.  The Minnesota Legislature established goals to help Minnesotans improve the availability and use of broadband services in 2010. Shortly after, the Office of Broadband Development was created to “connect communities, policy-makers, providers, regional support organizations, and state and federal programs with each...
U.S. Treasury Approves Minnesota Opportunity Zones

Thursday, July 12, 2018

128 census tracts in Minnesota to receive the designation ST. PAUL – The U.S. Department of Treasury approved 128 low-income census tracts in Minnesota to be designated as Opportunity Zones. All of the approved census tracts were recommended to Treasury by Gov. Mark Dayton in April following recommendations from cities, counties and tribal nations.  Opportunity Zones are a new economic and community development program established by Congress in the Tax Cut and Jobs Act of 2017 to encourage long-term economic development and housing investments in low-income communities nationwide. “Expanding access to good jobs and better opportunities has been a top priority for my Administration. These efforts have been especially important...
Minnesota Exports at $5.3 Billion in First Quarter

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

State companies set record for export sales in a first quarter ST. PAUL – Sales of Minnesota agricultural, mining and manufactured exports soared 9 percent to a first quarter record of $5.3 billion, according to figures released by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED).  The agency said Minnesota businesses exported 930 different products to 187 countries during the quarter. U.S. exports were up 8 percent during the period, with 45 states reporting increased export sales. “Minnesota companies achieved sales that were $450 million higher in the first quarter than in the same period a year earlier,” said DEED Commissioner Shawntera Hardy....
Attracting Millennials to Swift County

Monday, July 09, 2018

In Swift County, we know that there is a lot more to Millennials than what floats around in popular culture. We know that they can be a vibrant addition to any community and want them here. To attract them, it is important to dig deeper and learn more about what makes Millennials tick. Every week there’s a new ground-shattering revelation about their lifestyle choices —but the most conflicting reports have to do with where they live; and why. As a business or community leader, here is what you need to know. Some Millennials are moving home In Swift County, we have found...
New DEED Pilot Program Offers Interest-Free Loans for Startups

Monday, July 09, 2018

Minnesota Innovation Loans for Entrepreneurs accepting loan applications through July 16 ST. PAUL – The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) is accepting loan applications through a new program designed to help early-stage businesses that are developing high-tech products or services in Minnesota.  Minnesota Innovation Loans for Entrepreneurs (MILE) is a pilot program that will provide interest-free loans ranging from $20,000 to $50,000. Businesses approved for loans under the program must have a 1-to-1 match from another funder and repay the loan within four years, with no payments required in the first year. The program is an initiative of the Minnesota...
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The Syversons Return Home to Join the Local Medical Community

Monday, July 02, 2018

Swift County is home to Josie Syverson, MD and her husband, Paul Syverson, DVM. As two medical professionals, they could have gone anywhere in the country to launch and grow their career. They chose Swift County because they enjoy the laid-back lifestyle of living in a rural area. They appreciate being able to live “in the country” but still be only 15 minutes away from their places of work and never have to worry about traffic! They also look forward to raising their children in this family-friendly community and appreciate the support they have received from so many people since moving...
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Swift County Selected as Blandin Broadband Community

Monday, June 18, 2018

Swift County RDA announced that Swift County has been selected as one of four communities in Minnesota to be a Blandin Broadband Community.  The program will  provide access to coaching, planning assistance and a chance to obtain financial resources to address technology-driven priorities that community members will identify. Swift County has border to border broadband and fiber to the home in most rural areas, but having access to broadband and capitalizing on our access to broadband are two different things.  Jennifer Frost, Executive Director of the RDA said, “Being a Blandin Broadband Community will enable our communities to incorporate ‘broadband thinking’...
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Application submitted to become Blandin Broadband Community

Monday, June 04, 2018

Swift County RDA submitted an application for Swift County to become one of four rural Minnesota communities to participate in the Blandin Broadband Communities (BBC) Program. Selected through a competitive application process, winning communities will define their technology goals, receive planning and technical assistance and have access to resources to implement projects designed to make progress on their broadband and community technology enhancement goals.  The Blandin Foundation has partnered with broadband champions in over 100 communities and organizations across the state Since making rural broadband access and use a primary focus in 2003. The result was to implement hundreds of community-based...
Young Families Are Choosing to Make Swift County Home

Monday, June 04, 2018

Terri Barrett and her husband Dave grew up in rural Kandiyohi County.  Raised on a farm 5 miles east of Sunburg and in a home near Sibley State Park, the Barretts are deeply rooted in the state and knew they wanted to build a life here. We asked Terri about their home in Swift County. “Dave and I were fortunate to come across a vacant farmstead for sale with a few acres and a nice pole barn.  We bought our place the same year we were married and feel so fortunate to be living the country life that we had always...
Mi Mexico was Born of a Passion for Food and Family

Tuesday, May 08, 2018

Stephanie and Juan Cid- Guadarrama have a great love of food and family. They have been sharing that love with our community for 10 years, handcrafting brilliant sauces and family recipes to create authentic, flavorful and sensational Mexican dishes for everyone to enjoy at their restaurant, Mi Mexico. This is a passion that they share as a family. To them, Mi Mexico is more than a restaurant, it is a place for other families to gather and to create memories. Stephanie Cid said, “Our family is working together to create a place for family time where other families can create...
Go Set Ready Coffee: When You Have a Dream - Go For It!

Monday, March 05, 2018

Sometimes, you just have to go. There is a time for dreaming and a time for action. For local couple Todd and Leslie Widseth, that became clear when planning their coffee business. They always had a love of coffee and dreamt of one day owning their own business. As fate would have it, they read the books Circle Maker and Draw the Circle by Mark Batterson. Both books discussed the value of pursuing dreams and going before being ready, rather than waiting for everything to line up perfectly.  After reading the book, they felt led by God to to launch...
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Kerkhoven and DeGraff Home Repair Program News

Tuesday, January 09, 2018

UPDATED:  If interested in learning more or participating in the Home Repair Program continue to read this article for more information. This past fall, the cities of Kerkhoven and DeGraff worked with Swift County RDA and HRA to apply for the Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) Small Cities Development program (SCDP).  If funded, this program could provide Kerkhoven and DeGraff homeowners with grants to make home repairs. SCDP is funded by federal funds through the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program, a Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Program.  The goal of the SCDP is to develop viable eligible communities by...
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Swift County selected to participate in Housing Institute

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Minnesota Housing Partnership (MHP) will kick-off a new 18 month long Housing Institute and Swift County has been invited to participate.  Selection was based on a joint grant application by Swift County HRA and RDA seeking technical assistance in the areas of Community Engagement/Collaborative planning toward developing new housing, Preservation and rehabilitation of existing housing, and Building Capacity of the County’s development agencies through training and professional certification opportunities. “I’m thrilled we were selected”, said Vicki Syverson, Executive Director of Swift County HRA.  “Once I knew we were being considered for this program, it was all I could think about! This...
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RDA Unveils New Work Plan: Swift County RDA 2020

Tuesday, December 05, 2017

Swift County RDA releases its new draft strategic plan, "Swift County RDA 2020". The plan presents an Economic Development Strategy for Swift County Rural Development Authority for 2017-2020.  The RDA Board participated in planning throughout the year and action on some goals has already begun. With this plan the RDA takes an implementation approach that focuses on actionable, realizable, aspirational but realistic goals, to attract residents, build on existing resources and talent, and best position Swift County and our Cities to attract new investment.  The plan may be downloaded here.
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Swift County RDA Awaits News on Grant Opportunties

Monday, November 27, 2017

Swift County RDA has been busy writing grant applications this fall.  December brings announcements of awards on many fronts: Dec. 1, 2017     Notification of awards for Foundation for Rural Service   $3,995        This grant can purchase 10 IPads which will play an integral part in the RDA strategy of building a stronger online presence (website content) on part of the County and its Cities. Funding awarded by Dec. 31st. Dec. 8, 2017    Notification of Cohorts Chosen for the Benson KMS Area Blandin Community Leadership Program  $100,000 in Leadership Training for participants Original application was made in Jnauary 2017 on behalf of Benson and KMS...
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CVEC, one of Swift County's Top 20 Employers named AURI Ag Innovator of the Year

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

The Agricultural Utilization Research Institute (AURI), named The Chippewa Valley Ethanol Company (CVEC)of Benson, Minn., its 2017 Ag Innovator of the Year. The award, which has been given annually for the past 15 years, was accepted by CVEC Board Chair, David Thompson and General Manager Chad Friese at the company’s Board meeting on Monday, November 20, in Benson. For full news release click here
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Benson/KMS Communities Selected for Blandin Community Leadership Program

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Grand Rapids, Minn. (June 20, 2017) – As part of its commitment to strengthening rural communities, Blandin Foundation has named 10 communities where it is making available Blandin Leadership Program training in 2018 inlcuding the Benson/KMS communities. Blandin Community Leadership Program (BCLP) Residents of Benson/KMS (Kerkohoven, Murdock, Sunburg), will participate in intense eight-day training sessions specific to their community. Application and more information can be found here or at Blandin Leadership Programs develop and train a broad base of local leaders to build healthy communities by building on community strengths. Topics covered during training include: identifying and describing community issues and opportunities through the lens...
Rising Demand for Home-Based Care

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

As the population ages, industries that provide home care for older adults and people with disabilities will be in greater demand.  Two of those industries – home health care services and services for the elderly and persons with disabilities – are already experiencing growth. The number of businesses in the home health care services sector tripled in the state between 2000 and 2015, while establishments in the services for the elderly and persons with disabilities industry grew by about more than 150 percent.  The home health care services industry provides skilled nursing care in the home, including personal care, homemaker and companion...
Hat Tip to State’s Economic Developers during Economic Development Week

Thursday, May 11, 2017

The second week in May was National Economic Development Week – and have we got the bragging rights for the great work our economic development teams do to help businesses expand in or relocate to Minnesota.    Recent recognitions highlight our robust business climate; skilled, educated workforce; and positive work/life balance. CNBC named Minnesota Top State for Business (2015), the 2nd Smartest State (2016) and the 2nd highest in Quality of Life (2016). Read more on the Minnesota Success Story or go to  Compare Minneapolis-St. Paul just launched. Among top 10 metro areas, Minneapolis-St. Paul ranks:  1st in Fortune 500 companies per 1 million people (4.5) – 2016 7th in total...
Apprenticeship Workforce Grants Available to Help Employers Develop Highly Skilled Workforce

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

ST. PAUL — Minnesota employers can apply for a grant beginning May 10 to help them develop a registered apprenticeship program to recruit, train and retain their 21st century highly skilled workforce. Approved applicants receive funds to offset their costs related to program development, instruction and supplies. Recipients can receive up to $5,000 for each registered apprentice. The Minnesota Apprenticeship Initiative (MAI) targets employers in these five high-growth industries:  advanced manufacturing agriculture health care information technology transportation “Registered apprenticeship has long been recognized as the gold standard in employment-based career development,” said Ken Peterson, commissioner of the Department of Labor and Industry (DLI). “Building upon that success in the construction...
New Normal in the Labor Market

Thursday, May 04, 2017

While it didn’t get a lot of attention, Minnesota’s annual unemployment rate finished below 4 percent in both 2015 and 2016, according to a story by Dave Senf in the March issue of Trends magazine.  Why is that worth noting? Because Minnesota has seen only four periods in the last 70 years when annual unemployment finished below 4 percent in successive years, with the longest unbroken string occurring from 1995 to 2001.  One thing makes this period different from the others, though. While economic booms drove the three previous sub-4 percent labor markets, slowing labor force growth is the key factor this...
Hospital votes to build assisted living facility

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

After more than two years of studying and debating how to move forward with building an assisted living and memory care facility, the Swift County-Benson Health Services governing board voted unanimously Monday night to move ahead with a project. It is estimated the project will cost about $10.5 million and will be financed by revenue bonds. Those bonds will be paid off by hospital earnings and do not involve any general obligation bond backing from the City of Benson or Swift County. The security for the revenue bonds will be the revenues earned by the hospital and its assisted living operation. It is...
Young Entrepreneurs

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

As part of Minnesota Business magazine’s continued commitment to young entrepreneurs, we invite entrepreneurs aged 35 and under to fill out the form below with basic information about you and your company. From this database we will choose people/businesses to write about during the year, and we will devote the August 2017 issue to young entrepreneurs. We will give priority to revenue-generating young entrepreneurs. The deadline for inclusion in the August 2017 issue is May 1, 2017. —Steve LeBeau, Editor in Chief, Minnesota Business You must be 35 years old or younger as of August 2017. You must be the founder of your company. We recognize that...
Nominations for the 2017 Manufacturing Awards are now open!

Monday, April 24, 2017

Minnesota Business magazine is committed to recognizing and celebrating the achievements of Minnesota's manufacturing industry BY MEGAN GOSCH Minnesota manufacturing has a long history of excellence, but this vital (although often behind-the-scenes) industry does not always receive the recognition it deserves. Minnesota Business is committed to honoring companies and individuals that are making great strides in the industry with new products, sustainable practices, employee training initiatives and more. Continue to full article.
Minnesota’s Growth Tops Nation’s

Friday, April 21, 2017

It made economic history:  For the first time, Minnesota’s private sector has 2,504,400 jobs, surpassing 2.5 million jobs. The state exceeded 2 million private sector jobs in 1995.  Minnesota’s seasonally adjusted gain of 5,300 jobs in March put us over the top. What is not as well known is that our annual growth exceeded the nation’s for the first time in nearly three years. Over the past year, the state has gained 48,162 jobs, a growth rate of 1.7 percent. To compare, U.S. job growth was 1.5 percent during the same period. For any sign of weakness in job growth, unemployment, wage...
Can Minnesota Lure Transplants To The State?

Thursday, April 20, 2017

It’s winter 11 months of the year. You want me to move where? Those are some of the responses that job recruiters hear when they first ask out-of-state talent to consider relocating to Minnesota. Educating them about the state and the Twin Cities is fairly easy. Recruiters can rattle off a litany of things that make Minnesota a great place to live and work: 16 Fortune 500 companies, a vibrant technology sector, a strong economy, top-notch schools, well-run cities, relatively easy commutes, clean air and water, professional sports teams with new stadiums, a thriving arts, entertainment and restaurant scene, and loads of...
MN Cup launches 13th competition on March 20!

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

MNCUP Milestones It’s hard to believe that it’s already March. In addition to the many other things associated with this month, including great college basketball games and the anticipation of spring, it also means the launch of the next MN Cup competition. As MN Cup heads into its 13th year, we took a look back at the growth the program has seen over the last several years. 2013 $200,000 in prize money was awarded 1,100 participated in the competition There were 440 entries Educational component added Greater Minnesota partnerships established    Continue reading.
#InnovateMN Campaign Highlights New Discoveries and Technologies

Monday, April 17, 2017

#InnovateMN – a new public-awareness campaign celebrating emerging technologies and discoveries in Minnesota – has been launched. The year-long campaign will highlight Minnesota’s culture of innovation by sharing stories of businesses and entrepreneurs on the cutting edge.  “There are many great ideas, products and solutions being developed by budding entrepreneurs as well as established companies throughout the state,” said DEED Commissioner Shawntera Hardy. “#InnovateMN will help to uplift their ingenuity and support their growth by promoting resources and giving them exposure not only in Minnesota but around the world.”   Continue to full article. 
New Vocational Rehabilitation funding is crucial for Minnesotans with disabilities

Friday, April 14, 2017

Minnesota’s Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) program empowers Minnesotans with disabilities by providing employment services such as job counseling, training, job search assistance, and job placement services. The VR program assists more than 17,000 Minnesotans per year with more than 5,000 new participants enrolling each year. Several initiatives are dramatically changing the way employment services are offered to people with disabilities and have increased demand for VR services. The federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) took full effect in July 2016.  Contiue to full article. 
X Marks the Spot

Friday, April 14, 2017

As Minnesotans age, demand for x-ray technicians will increase. Radiologic technologists and technicians take x-rays at hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare facilities. X-ray technicians have a long list of tasks beyond taking x-ray images. A radiologic technician: Operates the operation of radiologic and magnetic imaging equipment to produce photographs of the body for diagnostic purposes Operates mobile x-ray equipment Positions the imaging equipment and adjusts controls to set exposure time and distance Positions the patient on the examining table and adjusts equipment to obtain the optimum view of specific the body area(s) requested by the physician Explains procedures and observes patients to ensure safety and comfort Monitors the use...
MAI Participants Receive On-the-Job Training, Trad Classroom Work

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

The Minnesota Apprenticeship Initiative (MAI) is on track to bring 1,000 people into newly registered apprenticeship programs in 30 high-growth occupations in Minnesota in the next five years. What is an apprenticeship? It’s a combination of on-the-job training and related instruction in which employees learn both the practical and theoretical aspects of an occupation. Seventy Minnesota employers will expand and create registered apprenticeship programs in industries that typically don’t have apprenticeships, through a $5 million U.S. Department of Labor grant. Participants – including people of color, women, veterans, people with disabilities and young adults – will receive classroom and on-the-job training. Workers will...
In Trump Era, 'Flyover Country' Founders Say Now's the Time to Step Up Their Game

Monday, April 03, 2017

In 2014, Jill Ford was working as an angel investor in San Francisco, when she heard about the city of Detroit going bankrupt. After doing some research on the city's economic predicament, she decided to make a move to the Motor City to help entrepreneurs. She believed that working in Detroit would give her the opportunity to have both the monetary and social impact she wanted to have at this point in her career. But many of her Bay Area peers thought she was making a mistake leaving the area that's home to the most venture capital in the U.S. "I definitely knew a...
Marching to a better future

Monday, March 27, 2017

We all love a parade—especially the big brass band! And if you never actually performed in a marching band, you might leave it at that: It’s nice to have some lively music and drumming every year on the Fourth of July. The truth, however, is that when students participate in marching band, they’re honing a lot more than their musical abilities. Like athletics or drama, marching band cultivates incredible life skills like teamwork, accountability, and time management. (Read all about it here.) That’s one of the reasons that those of us who live and work in Swift County, MN show so much...
Redhead Creamery - Unique Gem

Friday, March 24, 2017

I can’t wait to go back! The Redhead Creamery near Brooten is warm and welcoming. When you meet Alise, you will remember meeting her: Huge smile, red hair and a warm laugh. It was Alise who had the vision for the Redhead Creamery. After three years they are still growing and developing. She grew up on the dairy farm, in which the creamery now stands. What is so interesting is that everything happens on the farm. They grow their own alfalfa and corn, make silage, feed their cows, harvest their own milk and within 24 hours the cheese is made. Her family,...
Camping close to home can be perfect for families

Monday, March 20, 2017

A lot of folks think camping requires long-distance travel and specialized equipment. It can—but it doesn’t have to. The fact is that heading to a nearby county park can be just as much fun, with a fraction of the fuss. (Here’s one family’s reasons why they love camping close to home.) Here in Swift County, MN, many families take advantage of the many state and county parks to enjoy a quick overnight or weekend with the family. Swift Falls Park is a particularly popular choice. Learn more about what makes Swift County special here.
Business + Pleasure = Fitness

Monday, March 13, 2017

There’s a reason golf is a traditional game for handshakes and business deals: A golf game is a relaxed and enjoyable way to talk out the details (while also sizing up your potential business partners). But did you know that golf is surprisingly healthy way to get fit? Studies show the game can burn calories, strengthen muscles, and raise your heart rate—regardless of your score! Check out more ways golf is good here. In Swift County, MN, we have a pair of golf courses that provide beautiful surroundings for area members: The Benson Golf Course and the Appleton Golf Club. Learn more about our...
Take a Sunday drive to the glacial age

Monday, March 06, 2017

As the last glaciers retreated north out of North America, they left behind a patchwork of hilly ridges and scattered lakes—the glacial ridge. Today, the glaciers are long gone, but what they left behind remains one of the most interesting and beautiful landscapes in the Upper Midwest. Much of this country can be seen in Swift County, MN, where the nearly 250-mile Glacial Ridge Trail Scenic Byway threads through the region. Learn more about what Swift County has to offer.
Armory to be studied for new Benson city offices

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Benson’s City Council approved spending $26,500 for a study that will develop a scope of work for turning the Amory building into a new city hall. Architect Reed Becker of Widseth, Smith, Nolting of Alexandria is to provide the city with drawings for floor plans along with a 3D image of the what the building will look like when remodeled. He is to also provide the city with estimates for construction costs. Once the plans are complete, they are to be in a form that can be presented to the public at a public hearing. A public hearing would be necessary should...
Rural fitness—no walk in the park

Monday, February 27, 2017

Ahh, the idyllic country lifestyle. No treadmill—just a walk through the woods to grandma’s house. Cardio? We get that splitting wood in the forest. Well, not quite. The fact is that in spite of all the great outdoors in rural communities, keeping a steady, healthy fitness routine is sometimes even more challenging than in the city. (For more about the challenges, check out this research: Here in Swift County, MN, we’re lucky to have a number of positive fitness options. One of them is the Benson Racquet Club, where members can meet not only to play high-energy racquet ball, but also...
CRM products featured in SF and LA

Friday, February 24, 2017

Two products made by Custom Roto-Mold (CRM) of Benson have been featured in two very different ways in the past couple months. In San Francisco, utilities crews used plastic flood barriers made by CRM to help channel floodwaters away from homes and businesses at intersections prone to flooding. In Los Angeles, CRM’s hockey dasher boards were used at the 2017 National Hockey League’s All-Star Games Fan Fair events in late January. Dasher boards are the boards that surround the hockey rink. Continue to full article. 
Miller keeps a hectic schedule as he represents his constituents in St. Paul

Monday, February 20, 2017

One thing you will notice when you walk into District 17A Rep. Tim Miller’s office in the State Office Building in St. Paul is that there is no desk. There are two small couches facing each other along the walls, a couple chairs, and a small high table. There is no desk the Prinsburg Republican says because he is rarely in his office, and when he is, he is mostly meeting with constituents and lobbyists. Miller was elected to his second two-year term in the Minnesota House last November defeating challenger and former state Democratic-Farmer-Labor (DFL) Rep. Andrew Falk.  District 17A includes...
The musical soul of a place

Monday, February 20, 2017

What makes a place a place, argues one music philosopher, is culture—and music is a key part of that culture (read more in depth here: Of course, music is available at the touch of a button, streaming on your phone. The days of CDs or vinyl recordings, it would seem, are dwindling. Still, live music never fails to bring people together in one toe-tapping (or fist-pumping) exercise of togetherness. One of the favorite musical events here in Swift County, MN, is the annual Appleton Concert series, which features local community bands as well as traveling musicians from around the region. Learn...
Educational Needs of the Workforce

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Are Minnesotans overeducated? There has been a lot of debate in recent years about whether people will need more or less education to find jobs in the future.  An often-cited study by Georgetown University’s Center on Education estimated that 74 percent of jobs in Minnesota will require some level of post-secondary education by 2020. Others question that figure, pointing to persistent underemployment among Minnesotans with post-secondary degrees.  A story by Steve Hine and Matt Bombyk in the latest issue of Trends magazine addresses that question by examining figures from DEED’s Job Vacancy Survey and other statistical sources.  The analysis concluded that 64.4 percent of...
Lt. Governor Tina Smith and DEED Launch #InnovateMN Campaign

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Campaign will highlight emerging discoveries and technologies that enhance Minnesota’s economic future Shane Delaney, 651-259-7236  ST. PAUL – Lt. Governor Tina Smith and Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) Commissioner Shawntera Hardy today launched the #InnovateMN campaign, celebrating emerging technologies and discoveries in Minnesota. Throughout the next year, the campaign will highlight Minnesota’s culture of innovation by sharing stories of businesses and entrepreneurs on the cutting edge.  “Innovation is embedded in our identity. Minnesota annually ranks among the top five states in new patents and is home to leading technology businesses,” said Lt. Governor Tina Smith. “Our campaign will highlight the contributions of...
Immigrants are needed for rural Minnesota to grow

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

State demographer, U of M study both say immigration is key to population growth. As the national debate rages over President Donald Trump’s attempt to restrict immigrants coming to America from war torn Middle Eastern countries and as he works toward building a wall across the country’s southern border with Mexico, another report has been released showing Minnesota’s economic future is tied to welcoming immigrants. The need for immigration to fill the growing demand for workers is no more pressing than in rural Minnesota, which has been steadily losing population for more than 50 years. Many rural counties today, including Swift County,...
Better internet = better economy

Monday, February 13, 2017

The internet revolution has truly transformed the way that Americans do business. But much of rural America has lagged behind. That has consequences: by nearly any measure you choose, municipalities with high-quality broadband fare better than those without. (Check out the numbers here: Here in Swift County, MN, we’ve launched a broad initiative, backed by a $5 million dollar grant, to expand our broadband capabilities and harness the power of the internet for our regional economy. Learn more about it, as well as Swift County’s business climate, at  
America’s rivers: From muddy to magical

Monday, February 06, 2017

The greening of America’s watersheds is one of the great environmental success stories of all time—and a boon not only for the environment, but also for hunting, fishing, and boating enthusiasts. A good example is here in Swift County, MN, where the Chippewa River has gone from a polluted waterway to a vibrant habitat for wildlife and a recreational asset for the community. (Learn more about the timeline for its cleanup here: The Chippewa is only one of the many recreational resources that make Swift County a great place to live, raise a family, and do business. Learn more about what...
Do-Mat’s opens new Benson grocery store

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

"Wow!" is one of the most common expressions owners Tim and Carol Mattheisen, and store manager Matt Mattheisen, have heard as people walk through their new grocery store along the south side of U.S. 12 west in Benson. “It looks like a Byerly’s or a Hy-Vee,” their customers are saying. “Like a store you would see in Minneapolis.” The new $3.5 million store was four years in the planning and construction stages and houses three businesses. Do-Mat’s has 17,000 to 18,000-square-feet featuring a bakery and deli with a seating area, a drive-up coffee window, new coolers and freezers that are highly energy efficient,...
No business is an island

Monday, January 30, 2017

You hear plenty of stories about the “lone visionary” whose grit and long hours pay off in entrepreneurial success. But that’s only half the story. Every entrepreneur relies on a network of friends, family, and business associates who help bring the vision to reality. That’s the idea behind economic development agencies. They provide knowhow, connections, even grants and loans, to bring great ideas into the marketplace. Here in Swift County, MN, we enjoy a culture of independence and entrepreneurship, and we have a strong network of development support, including the Upper Mississippi Valley Regional Development Project (—a multi-county agency devoted to strengthening...
What makes America great? Discuss.

Monday, January 23, 2017

You hear a lot about our problems as a nation—and you’ve got to talk about them to fix them. But what about the bright side? Our people? Heritage? Diversity? Infrastructure? All these things help make our nation great—but perhaps the humblest and most overlooked is our infrastructure, the almost invisible roads, bridges, waterworks, and other government facilities that keep the engine of progress lubricated and running smooth. Here in Swift County, MN, we’ve devoted a great deal of time and energy thinking about these things. Most recently, we’ve commissioned a comprehensive, forward-looking assessment of all our municipal government buildings. How do we...
High speed internet accelerates business

Monday, January 16, 2017

From the federal government down to local municipalities, extending broadband internet service to rural areas has become a key priority. Why? Because in study after study, access to broadband is linked to economic vitality. And leaders who recognize this fact are working hard to help rural communities access this vitality. (Check out federal efforts—including programs for local governments—here: In Swift County, MN, we’ve launched a new initiative, backed by a $5 million dollar grant, to vastly increase our broadband capabilities as a community. Find out how your business can prosper here, as well as other business advantages in Swift County, at...
Developing the whole child

Monday, January 09, 2017

Basic skills like reading, writing, and arithmetic are vital when it comes to a good education. But a growing body of research suggests that they’re not enough. In particular, arts education has emerged as a critical part of curriculum that helps develop language skills, critical thinking, and academic performance. (For a detailed look, check out this article: Here in Swift County, MN, arts education is a key focus. One example is our relationship with the Missoula Children’s Theater, which recently conducted a residency with school children in Benson, MN. With smart partnerships like the one with MCT, even small schools can...
Burn off some stress—at the fishin’ hole

Monday, January 02, 2017

There’s good reason stress is called the silent killer. Most of the leading causes of death in the US have at least some relationship to stress. Luckily, relieving stress is as easy as heading to the local fishing hole! That’s right, fishing provides exercise, sunshine and fresh air, and a meditative-like break for the brain—all key ingredients for stress release. (Read more about it here: Pretty much anyone who lives in Swift County, MN, has access to great fishing. One example is Monson Lake (, a popular state DNR park for those in seek of walleye, northern, and bass (as well...
The broadband to prosperity

Monday, December 26, 2016

It’s generally understood that extending broadband capabilities to rural communities is a good thing. Now there’s solid data to back up the idea. On pretty much any measure you can come up with—economic vitality, job growth, household income—rural communities with broadband score better. (Check out the numbers here: That’s why here in Swift County, MN, we’ve devoted millions of dollars to building a strong, functional broadband capacity for our rural communities. Learn more about what Swift County has to offer at
Creating jobs, driving innovation in rural Minnesota

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Back in 2009, I had the opportunity to attend the grand opening of Ever Cat’s biodiesel plant in Isanti. The company, started by a feed-supplement supplier for farmers, uses innovative technology to create biodiesel from waste. And every year since its opening, that plant has produced approximately three million gallons of diesel fuel to help fuel our cars, trucks, and ships. And it’s employed more than two dozen people to do it. Click here for the complete article.
DEED Awards $2.87 Million for Housing Projects in Greater Minnesota

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Rental housing projects in four Greater Minnesota communities have been approved for $2.87 million in grants from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED). The funding was awarded under DEED’s Workforce Housing Development Program, which supports housing projects in Minnesota communities where businesses are struggling to recruit and retain workers because of local housing shortages. This round of funding was awarded for new market-rate rental developments in Worthington, Warroad, Glenwood and Lutsen. Click here for the complete article.
Fischer Laser Eye Center Opens New Office in Benson, Minnesota

Thursday, December 22, 2016

In January of 2017, the family eye doctors of Fischer Laser Eye Center will begin seeing patients at their new Benson, Minnesota, office located inside the recently constructed DoMats grocery store on 1705 Minnesota Avenue (West HWY 12). Click here for the complete article.
Give Yourself a Hand

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Make staying healthy and fit a priority for you during stressful times like a job search. Many studies have shown that exercise and eating right are among the best ways to combat stress, increase your stamina and maintain healthy self-esteem. Here are some tips for staying healthy during a job search. Click here for the complete article.
Prognosis is in for Physical Therapists

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Each year millions of Americans – newborns to seniors – receive physical therapy services. Physical therapists help injured or ill people improve their movement and manage their pain. Physical Therapists are often an important part of the rehabilitation, treatment, and prevention team treating patients with chronic conditions, illnesses, or injuries, according to the Occupational Outlook Handbook. The goal is to help people regain their ability to complete functional activities associated with daily living. Strong demand for physical therapy services, in part from aging baby boomers and those with chronic conditions such as obesity and diabetes, will drive occupational growth in every...
Rural employers stress need for providing adequate day care facilities

Thursday, December 22, 2016

As they discussed common challenges in search of ways the City of Benson and the Benson Public Schools could work together, sharing financial resources, members of the two governing bodies focused in on the lack of day care available locally. No solutions were found. But it was agreed there was a critical need to address what is seen as a significant shortage of day care facilities in the area. A community offering adequate day care options to young workers who will replace the retiring Baby Boom generation is seen as crucial to the area’s employers. It not only helps attract employees, it...
State Adds 5,000 Jobs in November

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Minnesota employers added 5,000 jobs in November, according to seasonally adjusted figures released today by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED). Over the past year, Minnesota has gained 31,978 jobs, an increase of 1.1 percent since November 2015. The U.S. growth rate over the past year was 1.6 percent. The state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped 0.2 percent in November to 3.8 percent. The U.S. unemployment rate in November was 4.6 percent. Click here for the complete article.
Art in rural America

Monday, December 19, 2016

Most people think of thriving art scenes in New York City or Chicago. But a growing number of artists and arts enthusiasts are bringing their work to rural America. In part, that’s because the internet has made physical location less important. And in part it’s because folks in the art world are beginning to recognize that rural artists have long made important contributions to the art scene. (For one interesting examination, check out Swift County, MN is no exception. Our communities have a long tradition of supporting the arts—from traditional crafts to cutting edge artistic practice. One example is the arts...
Check out this surprising fitness tip!

Monday, December 12, 2016

If you’ve ever been on a sled, you already know how much fun snowmobiling can be. But did you know it’s also good for you? Turns out that science tells us that snowmobiling burns calories, builds core strength, and combats seasonal affective disorder. (More details at this article here: This comes as no surprise to us In Swift County, MN, where entire families hit the trails whenever there is snow. Anything this wholesome that feels this good has got to be good for you! You can learn about our snowmobile clubs and more about Swift County here:
Work-life balance: A casualty of the recovery?

Monday, December 05, 2016

Even though the economy is on the mend, most workers still find work-life balance a difficult thing to achieve. (Check out some of their reasons here: That’s not good—because study after study has shown that time with family and friends, counter-intuitive as it might seem, is a key aspect of working smarter and harder. Maybe that’s why so many are drawn to Swift County, MN; the “life” half of work-life balance is so easy to access. For instance, in Appleton you can drive an ATV right from your home via a special trail to one of the region's only off-road course (with...
Closing the skills gap

Monday, November 28, 2016

With the US economy in recovery, you hear more every day about the “skills gap.” Companies are hiring; job seekers are looking—but the two fail to connect because the skills sought don’t match the ones on offer. (For an in depth look at the phenomenon, check out this article: There’s an obvious solution to the problem: Provide job seekers with the skills they need to succeed. That may be easier said than done, but here in Swift County, MN, we’ve rolled up our sleeves to tackle training in a big way. There’s no single silver bullet, but our programs include internships,...
Merrily we roll along

Monday, November 21, 2016

For many of us, roller-skating was an important part of childhood fun. Whether we bladed in the local park, or headed to the roller rink with our friends, life on wheels was part of our weekly routine. In today’s world of video games and wireless communication, it’s easy to imagine that such simple pastimes are gone forever. But that’s not true here in Swift County, MN. Indeed, during the winter months, the local Armory in Benson opens its doors for roller-skating. And just as they have 10, 30, 50, even 100 years ago, children from the local communities flock to the fun....
Bringing the Community to the Table

Sunday, November 20, 2016

The $8.1 million equity competitive funding grants package – dispersed among 44 lead organizations that will work to remove educational and career barriers for Minnesotans – was signed into law by Gov. Mark Dayton last summer. But the intricate process of soliciting community involvement, reviewing proposals, and determining who would receive the funds left a deep imprint. “This was the first time that DEED has used review panels composed of community members to select funding recipients,” said Commissioner Shawntera Hardy. “The panels achieved our goal of ensuring transparency and diversity in the decision-making process. We will work to improve and implement this...
Challenge for hot Minnesota tech sector: filling jobs

Sunday, November 20, 2016

The local technology industry is hot enough to ward off some of this fall’s cold. The Minnesota High Technology Association (MHTA) says there about 11,400 Twin Cities-area jobs open at median salaries of $81,200 for project managers, software engineers, manufacturing, and quality engineers; business systems analysts and other jobs that require degrees or technical experience. Moreover, employers throughout the state, such as growing Uponor, which just expanded its Apple Valley plant, are having a hard time filling entry-level manufacturing jobs that start at $15-an-hour-plus-benefits for high school graduates. Click here for the complete article.
CNHI celebrates 25th Anniversary of Patriot sprayer

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Last Friday afternoon CNHI celebrated the 25th anniversary of the production of the Patriot sprayer with employees past and present, members of the Benson area business community, city leaders, and U.S. 7th District Rep. Collin Peterson, D-Detroit Lakes. CNHI is one of the premier manufacturing plants in Minnesota, Peterson told the crowd of nearly 200 people. One of the reasons manufacturing plants are so successful in western Minnesota is the people they have working for them, he said. There are a lot of farm kids who have gone to work for manufacturers like Case who have worked hard on the farm and...
Helping Women Veterans Find Careers

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Minnesota doesn’t track unemployment among women veterans; projections are made using federal data. In 2016 women veterans represented 7.3 percent of the state’s veteran population – and this figure is projected to increase through 2025. However, Jennifer Roach, Veterans Employment Representative at the Ramsey County-St. Paul WorkForce Center is networking intensely to help women veterans in the metro area get back on their feet. Roach uses a questionnaire that identifies nine barriers to unemployment to locate veterans eligible for U.S. Department of Labor-funded assistance. Click here for the complete article.
Interested in Working for the State of Minnesota?

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Did you know the State of Minnesota has jobs in nearly every Minnesota county – and some across the U.S.? The State of Minnesota employs over 50,000 employees in various state agencies, boards, commissions and higher education institutions – and is the largest employer in Minnesota. Go here for a full list of state employers. The state also hires interns. Last year 700 interns, ranging from high school students to graduate students, were hired by the state. Click here for the complete article.
KEN PETERSON: Apprenticeship: A great career pathway for Minnesota's workforce

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Apprenticeship programs are providing great career pathways for TeVaan Paye of Minneapolis, Connor Langer of Owatonna and more than 12,000 other Minnesotans. Apprenticeship is a centuries-old training system that combines on-the-job learning with formal classroom instruction. A one-time high school drop-out, TeVaan completed a four-year apprenticeship with the Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers Trades Union and is now earning $36 an hour, plus benefits, restoring buildings for Advanced Masonry in St. Paul. He’s a journeyman pointer-cleaner-caulker. Click here for the complete article.
Snow-tastic activities for families

Monday, November 14, 2016

If you live in a cold-weather climate, you know that staying active in the winter time can sometimes be a challenge. It doesn’t have to be! As long as you have climate-appropriate gear, the great outdoors is just as much fun in winter as summer. (For some tips on how to get outside as a family, check out this slideshow: Here in Swift County, MN, two of our favorite winter pastimes are cross-country skiing and ice fishing. And no wonder—we have miles of groomed trails to choose from and more than two dozen lakes that serve as winter destinations. Learn more...
Environmental restoration—a win-win

Monday, November 07, 2016

Starting in the 1930s, a growing number of US waterways were dammed—mostly to control flooding and move water where humans could use it. Turns out that only worked so-so on both counts. Natural flood controls like wetlands areas do a better job protecting real estate—and also help improve biodiversity, which is good news for hunters and fishermen, along with the rest of us! Here in Swift County, MN, we’re leading the way in innovative water projects that work with the environment, like this project to restore Marsh Lake ( Learn more about Swift County and our environment—natural, human, and economic—at
Family fun—that’s good for everyone

Monday, October 31, 2016

One of the things that really makes our country great is that we set aside lands for families to enjoy hiking, biking, and camping. In particular, our state park system offers some 14 million acres to serve 730 million users! And a growing body of research shows that getting out in the great outdoors has multiple benefits for everyone. (Check out one take on it here: Here in Swift County, MN, Monson Lake State Park includes 350 acres of parklands, and two lakes known for fishing—and it’s a historic site on the National Register. Learn more about beautiful Swift County here:...
Reverse-engineering for the watershed

Monday, October 24, 2016

Back in the 1930s, when federal jobs programs helped build new infrastructure all across the country. Most of it was helpful, needed, and beautiful. But some projects caused some unanticipated problems. One example is the dam at Marsh Lake in Swift County, MN. Constructed as a jobs program under the Army Corps of Engineer, it turned the wildlife-rich wetland fed by the Minnesota River, into a murky shallow lake home only to carp. The good news? Restoration is underway (you can read all about it in this article: And that’s good news not only for millions of migrating waterfowl, but also...
The family that fishes together…

Monday, October 17, 2016

Like America and apple pie, fishing and family fun just go together. And in our wired age, where kids seem plugged into some device more often than not, it’s even more important to get children out into the great outdoors to experience some “real time.” (For more on the benefits for kids and fishing, check out this list: Here in Swift County, MN, fishing has been a treasured part of our history for as long as anyone can remember. Of course, that’s not so surprising, seeing as we’re home to some 25 great fishing lakes, as well as some angler-friendly rivers...
It’s not about winning…

Monday, October 10, 2016

It’s always nice to take home a trophy, but when it comes to youth hockey, it’s about a lot more than winning. Sportsmanship, teamwork, and the benefits of healthy activities are just a few of the lessons kids pick up on the ice. (For more, check out Here in Swift County, MN, we believe the entire community benefits when we raise up young men and women who embody the values of youth hockey. That’s why we’ve invested in the Benson Civic Center, which hosts several local teams, as well as open skating and adult leagues. Learn more about what Swift County...
Small package—big fun

Monday, October 03, 2016

Experienced golfers share a little secret—sometimes the best golfing excursions can be found at little, hide-away 9-hole clubs. Often locally owned and open to the public, little courses are charming, quick, and often less crowded (and incidentally, easier on the environment) than their 18-hole counterparts. (Check out Golf Digest’s take on the joys of 9 hole: Here in Swift County, MN, one of our favorite hideaways is Kerkhoven Golf Course. You can learn more about Kerkhoven and Swift County at
Benson hospital changing it's name

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

The Swift County-Benson Hospital is changing it's name.  According to a news release..."Swift County-Benson Hospital has served Benson and the surrounding area since 1912. For more than 100 years, we have continued to provide quality services to meet the needs of our changing communities. We have reached a new era where significant change is required for us to thrive. During this period of change, Swift County-Benson Hospital will undergo a rebranding of who we are and how we will better serve our communities. With the addition of the rural health clinic and senior living services, Swift County- Benson Health Services has...
Compare Minnesota Gets a Makeover

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

It’s always been a breeze for site selectors and businesses to see how Minnesota compares with other states using the Compare Minnesota tool. Compare Minnesota is the comprehensive online tool comparing Minnesota’s economy and population to a single state or a collection of states. Click here for the complete article.
Future of Wildlife Programs Depend on Youth

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

After years of seeing t-shirts with sayings things like “I’d rather be...” with an illustration of a fish, pheasant, duck or deer, implying the person wearing it was an avid outdoor sportsman, we saw one this past weekend that gave insight into where too many young people’s passions are today. It said, “I’d rather be…” and was illustrated with video games. Minnesota’s waterfowl season starts this Saturday. The archery deer season is already underway and the pheasant season starts in just a couple weeks. It’s a time of year those who love the outdoors and the challenge of hunting anxiously anticipate. But...
Minnesota Awarded $2.5 Million to Improve Employment Opportunities for People with Disabilities

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Minnesota was one of six states selected for federal grants totaling $14.9 million to improve employment opportunities for adults and youth with disabilities. The U.S. Department of Labor awarded Minnesota $2.5 million under the federal Disability Employment Initiative. The grant will be managed by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED), which offers programs and services to help people with disabilities find employment and live independently. Other states that were awarded funding under the federal initiative were California, Connecticut, Idaho, Massachusetts and Maryland. Click here for the complete article.
State Exports at $4.8 Billion in Second Quarter

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Minnesota companies exported $4.8 billion worth of manufactured, agricultural and mining products in the second quarter of 2016, according to figures released today by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED). DEED said second quarter exports were down 8 percent from the same period a year ago, with the strength of the dollar continuing to impact the competitiveness of U.S. products and foreign demand. U.S. exports were down 6 percent in the quarter. “The strong dollar hampered export sales in the second quarter, making Minnesota-made products more expensive abroad,” said DEED Commissioner Shawntera Hardy. “Still, there were pockets of growth,...
Wentzel Family Farm named Outstanding Conservationists

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

The Swift County Soil and Water Conservation District has named Wentzel Family Farm as the 2016 Outstanding Conservationists. Wentzel Family Farm consists of Melvin and Elaine, Craig and Bonnie and Todd and Shari Wentzel of DeGraff. The Wentzels farm about 2800 acres each year, which mainly consists of a corn and soybean rotation, with about 10% planted to wheat each year. Putting some wheat in the rotation enables them to more easily manage the weeds and pests that may be persistent in the fields. The landscape that Wentzels farm is diverse and has a variety of soil types that require additional management...
Become an Entrepreneur? Three Steps to Take Now

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

One: Get a copy of the 2016 edition of "A Guide to Starting a Business in Minnesota" from the Small Business Assistance Office at DEED in St. Paul. The free guide summarizes the major issues faced by anyone starting a business in Minnesota. The guide is available in hard copy or on CD-ROM from the DEED Small Business Assistance Office, First National Bank Building, 332 Minnesota Street, Suite E200, St. Paul, MN 55101-1351. Phone 651-259-7476 or 1-800-310-8323. Click here for the complete article.
Carlsons named 2016 Swift County Extension Farm Family of the year

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

JM Carlson Farms, of Murdock, has been named Swift County’s “2016 Farm Family of the Year” by the University of Minnesota. Jim and his brother, Keith, started farming with their father, Ellert, while still in high school.  Years later, Jim’s two sons, Michael and Bobby, helped out during planting and harvest. Ellert Carlson died in 1999 and Jim’s brother, Keith, was killed in a farm accident in the spring of 2008.    Now, Jim and his son, Michael, have formed a partnership known as JM Carlson Farms.  Jim and his son, Bobby, own and operate Carlson Blading. Click here for the complete article.
Looking for Work in Out-of-the-Way Places

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Now that you’ve posted your error-free resume on and checked your local WorkForce Center for free workshops about job search, what’s next? From pictures highlighting the work environment and employees having fun, to offering beer and scheduling bring-your pet-to-work days, recruiters are trying new things to attract talent. Recruiters want to meet candidates where they are active, which is one reason recruiters go a step further to post jobs in other places. They have found that candidates are more selective and want more information about the employer before applying. Click here for the complete article.
New bike fleet launched on Kid Day

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Countryside Public Health, SHIP (Statewide Health Improvement Program), Benson Schools, and Benson Community Education are teaming up to start a bike fleet in Benson called “Benson Bikes! Stay Fit, Have Fun! Bike. Walk. Run.”.   The effort, which will help promote safe biking and active living in Benson, launched on Kid Day, and is currently available at Pilgrim Congregational Church in Benson; just south of Roosevelt Park in Benson. There will be two kids’ bikes and one adult bike located at Pilgrim Congregational for kids and adults to freely use on an honor system.  SHIP bikes and the SHIP bike rack will...
State Gains 11,300 Jobs in July

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Minnesota employers added 11,300 jobs in July, according to seasonally adjusted figures released today by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED). Those figures, combined with revised data that showed the state gained 2,400 more jobs than originally reported in June, brought employment gains in the state to 44,034 over the past year, an increase of 1.5 percent. Jobs nationally climbed 1.7 percent over the past year. The Minnesota unemployment rate rose 0.1 percent in July to a seasonally adjusted 3.9 percent. The U.S. unemployment rate was 4.9 percent in July. Click here for the complete article.
Filling Empty Buildings

Thursday, August 04, 2016

Filling Empty Buildings Identifying problems and finding solutions to downtown vacancies  In the second of our downtown series, Swift County RDA and GROW are hosting “Filling Empty Buildings” a live interactive webinar presentation and community discussion on Tuesday, August 16, 2016, 6pm, Appleton Civic Center  This event will focus on identifying problems and finding solutions to downtown vacancies. You want to fill up those empty buildings downtown, but all the economic development strategies you find sound like they were written for big cities. This will event will feature ideas that work for a small town! Deb Brown and Becky McCray will give you real...
Filling the Gaps in Appleton

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Filling the Gaps  What to Do About Empty Lots & Roofless Buildings Swift County RDA and GROW are hosting a presentation and discussion, “Filling the Downtown Gaps: What to Do with Roofless Buildings and Empty Lots” on Tuesday, August 2nd at 5:30 p.m. in the Appleton Civic Center.  A light meal will be provided. This interactive event will build on the work of Neil Linscheid, University of Minnesota Extension Educator who has recently identified and inventoried the dilapidated buildings throughout the 6W Region. Featured speakers Becky McCray and Deb Brown are both small town people. McCray is a small town business owner from Oklahoma. She...
1,000 Reasons to Make It in Minnesota

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

The Made in Minnesota Directory has reached a threshold: The directory now contains more than 1,000 Minnesota suppliers of products and materials, all pointing to what is made right here at home and helping to make the state more competitive. The story behind the directory really begins with German farm equipment manufacturer, Geringhoff, and their decision in 2011 to expand operations to the U.S. market. The company conducted a careful, deliberative search for a location – 27 different sites had been considered – and announced that St. Cloud would be the home of its first U.S. manufacturing plant. Several factors went into...
A Toast to Craft Beer’s Economic Development Impact

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

As Economic Development Week in Minnesota and Craft Beer Week comes to a close, sip on this: Economic development and breweries in Minnesota are inseparable. There are 127 licensed breweries and brew pubs operating in Minnesota and that’s up from 93 just two years prior, according to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety’s Alcohol and Gambling Enforcement Division. The amount of craft beer produced in the state rose to 631,955 barrels in 2015, according to the Brewers Association, putting Minnesota 12th in barrel production in the U.S. For perspective, this equates to five gallons of craft beer for every Minnesotan aged 21...
Angel Tax Credit: Following the Money

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

The Angel Tax Credit Program stimulates private investment in emerging businesses and encourages job creation through the growth of those businesses. In 2015, the program certified 182 businesses, 114 of which received investments from 538 certified individual investors and 279 investors in certified funds. These businesses received more than $70.4 million in investment, resulting in $15.5 million in credits for investors. The program spurs substantial investment in Minnesota businesses by non-Minnesotans. Last year, 329 non-Minnesotan investors accounted for 40 percent ($25 million) of overall investment; in 2014, they accounted for 33 percent of investment. A few investors in the program hail from...
CVEC celebrating 20 years helping farmers, area

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

It started as the dream of a farmer and rural electric co-op manager. One wanted to see a better corn price for the region’s farmers while the other was looking to stabilize his company’s electric sales. Both were looking to improve the economic strength of the area. John Carruth was a crop and dairy farmer living south of Danvers while the late Ray Millett was the general manager of Agralite Cooperative. With Millett and Carruth leading the effort, a group of area farmers formed a board in 1995 to begin exploring construction of an ethanol plant near Benson. Their dream was...
Seventeen Training Projects Begin with Minnesota Job Skills Partnership Support

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) has awarded workforce development grants totaling $1.4 million under the Minnesota Job Skills Partnership (MJSP) to train 1,671 current workers and new hires. “Minnesota’s greatest strength is its people,” said Lt. Gov. Tina Smith. “These Job Skills Partnership grants will help Minnesota workers all across the state enhance their skills for in-demand industries like precision manufacturing, health care and engineering.” “Over 280,000 Minnesotans have received training funded by the Minnesota Job Skills Partnership Program, which has seen tremendous success in preparing workers for jobs of the future,” said DEED Commissioner Shawntera Hardy. “These grants...
Task force exploring day care options for Swift County

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Adequate daycare is seen as essential to bringing young families to the area to fill the jobs employers have open. It is seen as necessary to keeping young families enrolling their children in local school districts and keeping them there. A lack of daycare options also keeps some people out of the labor force who could otherwise be employed. The challenge of finding daycare is particularly hard for parents of newborns to two-year-olds. It is also a challenge for those who do shift work who need daycare services outside the 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. time period as well as for those...
Telemedicine technology gives SCBH staff near instant access to ER doctors

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Swift County-Benson Hospital is now live with its telemedicine link to Avera McKennan Hospital & University Health Center’s eCare services in Sioux Falls, S.D. Last Tuesday, the hospital conducted training for all its medical providers and nursing staff on how the system works, SCBH Director of Nursing Mellissa McGinty-Thompson told the governing board at its meeting Monday night. Hospital governing board members got a demonstration on how the system works during the meeting. Last September, SCBH was notified that it had been awarded a $510,000 Helmsley grant to facilitate implementing the telemedicine service. Since then, cameras, microphones and screens have been mounted...
Vacation leads to Ascheman’s building successful business that grew through 50 years

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Fifty years ago Ron and Donna Ascheman packed up their kids in the car and headed out of Minneapolis for a week’s vacation back home in the Holloway area. A stop for gas in Danvers changed their lives. While filling up, Ron Ascheman talked with Clinton (Short) Carruth who told him that he was looking to retire after 40 years as a bulk agent for Mobil Oil gas sales. He asked Ascheman if he would be interested in taking over for him. At the time, he had a good job working for a construction company in the Twin Cities. “Donna and I...
Veterans: How to Find Employment Matched to Your Skills Using

Wednesday, July 20, 2016, the state’s largest job bank, uniquely helps military service members connect with good-fit employers:  The veteran-friendly job posting. Employers that post their job openings on have the option of designating their job ‘veteran-friendly’ to encourage veterans to apply. Job seekers registering on are asked whether they have served in the U.S. military. If they answer ‘yes,’ then job postings with the veteran-friendly designation appear at the top of their job search results. Similarly, the resumes of veteran job seekers automatically appear at the top of employers’ resume search results. Click here for the complete article.
Benson is offered elevator for $190,000

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Owners of the large concrete and wood grain elevator along Minnesota Highway 9 west have approached the City of Benson about buying the site. For $190,000, the owners have said they will level the elevator to bare ground and turn the site over to Benson, City Manager Rob Wolfington told the city council Monday night. Click here for the complete article.
Nominations for the 2016 Leaders in Health Care Awards are now open!

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Innovative companies and leaders are the lifeblood of the Minnesota health care industry — its heartbeat, if you will. Minnesota Business magazine is dedicated to recognizing the state's spectacular health care leaders. A leader in health care is an individual or company that supports and accelerates the region through business growth in the medical field, corporate philanthropy and workplace innovations. Click here for the complete article.
Nominations for the 2016 Manufacturing Awards are now open!

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Minnesota manufacturing has a long history of excellence, but this vital (although often behind-the-scenes) industry does not always receive the recognition it deserves. Minnesota Business is committed to honoring companies and individuals that are making great strides in the industry with new products, sustainable practices, employee training initiatives and more. Click here for the complete article.
Nonprofits, assemble! A St. Paul agency is offering free communications training

Thursday, May 26, 2016

St. Paul-based public relations firm Goff Public is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. To celebrate, it’s hosting a free communications training seminar on July 19 for up to 50 Minnesota-based nonprofits. Nonprofit applicants don’t have to have a prior relationship with Goff Public — or the financial resources to retain a full-service comms firm at all. Click here for the complete article.
State Adds 15,600 Jobs in April

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Minnesota employers added 15,600 jobs in April, according to seasonally adjusted figures released today by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED). The agency said the April job gains were the most for a month since September 2013. March employment figures, meanwhile, were revised downward slightly from 2,900 jobs lost to 3,200 jobs lost. Job growth in Minnesota is up 1.1 percent from a year ago, compared with a 1.9 percent growth rate nationally. Click here for the complete article.
Fourteen Training Projects Move Forward with Support from Minnesota Job Skills Partnership

Friday, May 06, 2016

The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) has awarded workforce development grants totaling $2,813,729 under the Minnesota Job Skills Partnership (MJSP) to train 2,878 current workers and new hires. “Over 270,000 Minnesotans have received training funded by the Minnesota Job Skills Partnership Program, which has seen tremendous success in preparing workers for jobs of the future,” said DEED Commissioner Katie Clark Sieben. “These grants support customized training to upgrade workers’ skills and make Minnesota businesses more competitive and attractive places to work.” Click here for the complete article.
Minnesota Among 10 States Selected for SNAP Jobs Project

Friday, May 06, 2016

Minnesota is one of 10 states that will take part in SNAP to Skills, a first-of-its-kind national effort to help states design improved employment and training programs for adults participating in the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The program will be administered by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) in partnership with the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS). Click here for the complete article.
Minnesota Exports at $20 Billion in 2015

Friday, May 06, 2016

Minnesota companies exported $20 billion worth of manufactured, agricultural and mining products in 2015, according to figures released today by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED). State exports were down 7 percent from record exports of $21.4 billion in 2014. Exports also fell 7 percent nationally last year, with only eight states posting gains. Click here for the complete article.
SpecSys meets needs of nine different industries

Friday, May 06, 2016

Kevin Wald (pictured) spends 100 days a year on the road. “It’s not a life for everybody, but it works for me right now,” Wald the owner of SpecSys in Benson said last week in an interview. Click here for the complete article.
Still Deciding on College? DEED’s Updated Employment Tool Can Help

Friday, May 06, 2016

The state’s Graduate Employment Outcomes online tool ( ) has been enhanced to display job and earnings of graduates by program at 141 higher education institutions in Minnesota. The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) first unveiled the tool in May 2014. The main goal of the tool is to help students make informed choices about which fields of study in Minnesota offer the best opportunities for jobs and good wages. Click here for the complete article.
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A Community Graduation Gift

Sunday, March 06, 2016

High school graduations are almost upon us and once again Swift County GROW & RDA are gearing up to give our graduating seniors a special gift from home.                  Last year at graduation rehearsal for the Class of 2015, community members presented each graduating senior with their own personalized mailbox, complete with their first letter from their home town: an invitation to make Benson or Appleton or Madison—wherever they are from—their home town once again. Maybe now, maybe next year, maybe after college or graduate school, or the birth of their first child… “Whenever its right for you, we’d like to...
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What Fiber Broadband Can Do For Your Community

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Welcome to the Information Age – also known as the Fiber Optic Age. The information and communications revolution was brought to you by glass – very long, thin, pure strands of glass called optical fibers. So much data zips around the world today in commerce, education, entertainment and personal communication that copper wires and radio waves could carry only a fraction of it. Because fiber optic cable has so much capacity, it now forms the backbone of the Internet, cable TV networks, telephone (including cellular) networks, private business networks and even data center networks. Without fiber optic cable, none of these...
Riding the rails

Monday, January 11, 2016

Although a century-old technology, rail transport has only increased in importance to business. Today, shipping containers can travel thousands of miles by rail, ship, and truck before reaching their destination.   Here in Swift County, MN, our rail service helps local businesses thrive—and we’re still expanding our rail infrastructure. (For details, check out the Appleton comprehensive plan here: Together with quality airports and highways, as well as our Midwest location, rail makes Swift County and attractive choice for business. Learn more here:
Experience the ice age

Monday, January 04, 2016

30,000 years ago, the last glacier in Minnesota melted, leaving behind tons of rock and dozens of small lakes in its wake.   Today, this area is known as Glacial Ridge, and it’s a unique place of incredible beauty and variety. (Learn more about it here: Swift County, MN, takes the Glacial Ridge as a point of special pride. It’s one of the things that makes our place special. Learn more about us here:
Minnesota’s Irish settlers

Monday, December 28, 2015

It’s hard to imagine today, but once upon a time, the Irish faced severe ethnic discrimination in the United States. But the stereotypes and legal bias only makes their contribution to the nation’s history that much more impressive.   In Minnesota, many Irish settlers moved here during pioneer days and made successful farming communities. (For an in-depth look, check out this book:   Here in Swift County, MN, our Irish roots are something we look to with pride, and we celebrate with parades and pubs every year on St. Patrick’s Day. Learn more about our community here:  
Celebrating our heritage

Monday, December 21, 2015

When the first European settlers moved into the Midwest, they brought with them many of the traditions and cultures of the Old World. This group will host & post the event on facebook Here is last year’s event page More info on West Central Tribune with photos from past years - this is from 2011   Over the generations, many of these folks lost those ties. But not in Sunburg, MN. In this little town of about 100, just east of the Swift County line, Norwegian is still spoken. (You can read an article about it here: Every year, Sunburg celebrates its Norwegian...
Friday Family Fun

Monday, December 14, 2015

When you think of life in bygone times you think of simple pleasures, minus the computer. A lot has changed in the last hundred years—but some of these pastimes never go out of style.   Take roller-skating. Here in Swift County, MN, generation after generation has enjoyed the fun and frolics of the Friday night roller-skating at the Benson Armory. (For one remembrance, read this:   Good, clean fun, it seems, never goes out of style. Learn more about Swift County here:  
The ultimate workout is on ice

Monday, December 07, 2015

If you’re looking for a rigorous workout that hits all the major muscle groups and provides cardio—and is fun—then you should look to the ice rink.   Perhaps more than any other sport, fast-paced hockey gets your muscles and blood pumping. (For a detailed look, check out this article: Up here in Minnesota, we are passionate about the sport. In Swift County, in addition to outdoor rinks, we have the Benson Civic Center, where youth and adult hockey, as well as open skating, is a weekly occurrence. Learn more about Swift County here:
Winter is for fun

Monday, November 30, 2015

There’s no better way to beat the cold than to bundle up and get out doors.   In summertime, it seems like there are a million activities from the beach to the barbeque. But winter sports like sledding, skiing, and ice fishing are just as enjoyable. (For a list of fun winter ideas, check this out: Here in Swift County, MN, we know all about winter fun. It’s a big part of our culture—and we have parks, lakes, and trails aplenty to keep us busy through the winter months. Learn more about us here:
Let it snow…

Monday, November 23, 2015

$123 million in Iowa. $476 million in New York. $1.2 billion in New Hampshire. These are just a few examples of the financial contribution that snowmobiling makes to state and local economies across the country. (More snowmobiling stats here:   The social contribution? Well as anyone who has practiced the sport can tell you, you can’t put a price tag on the friendship and fun that comes on the wintery trail.   Here in Swift County, MN, we have a highly developed motor-skid culture that includes some of the greatest trails in the upper Midwest—as well as some of the friendliest snow-dogs anywhere...
Is your business flying high?

Monday, November 16, 2015

When it comes to logistics and operations, transportation is a key concern. And while trucking and rail play an important part, sometimes air travel or shipping is crucial to business success.   Whether you decide to purchase a business aircraft (and if so, check out these tips: or simply ship through another company, access to the right airport is crucial. Here in Swift County, MN, we have two city-owned airports. Our Benson airport ( can handle large shipments, and our Appleton airport ( features regular flights to nearby urban areas.
Keep your eye on the fitness ball

Monday, November 09, 2015

Here’s an interesting fact: During an average racquetball match, each player runs more than two miles, works virtually every muscle group, and raises their heart rate for a prolonged period.   The upshot? Racquetball is a unique and fun way to burn calories and get exercise. (Learn more here: It can be hard to find a good racquet club in rural areas, but in Swift County, MN, we enjoy a court, in addition to a full fitness center, at the Benson Racquet Club. Find out more about Swift County here:
Let’s talk turkey!

Monday, November 02, 2015

Back in 1940, an enterprising young creamery operator started raising turkeys on his Minnesota farm.   It didn’t Earl B. Olson many years to turn his farm into a profitable business—and then an international success story: Jennie-O Foods. (You can see a timeline of his life here:   Today, we celebrate Earl’s legacy near the farm where he was born with Turkey Fest in Swift Falls, MN. With a turkey-cooking contest and other events, the festival honors the man who invented turkey franks. Learn more about our community here:  
Music on the prairie

Monday, October 26, 2015

For all the magnetic power of cities like Nashville and New York, America’s traditional music has always had rural roots.   It may have been recorded and performed in the city, but it’s genesis is often the farms stretching across America’s countryside. (For a brief look at country music’s country origins, check out this article:   New changes in technology and the music industry, however, mean that more musicians can reach an audience without ever leaving the farm. That’s the case here in Swift County, MN, where our local public television station hosts a “little ol’ opry” to showcase local musicians in Appleton’s gorgeous,...
Creating a “scents” of place

Monday, October 19, 2015

When it comes to life in small town, “sense of place” is important. Rural roots run deep.   That’s not always easy to do, however. Many small towns lose the very natural and cultural roots that define them and their sense of place. (For one meditation on the phenomenon, see this article: Here in Swift County, MN, we take great pride in our place and our roots. One example is the Danvers annual Smoke-Off. Hosted by the fire department, it’s an opportunity to enjoy tasty custom meats while sharing good times with neighbors. I bet you can almost smell that smoky, delicious...
Recharge your spirit with nature

Monday, October 12, 2015

The best things in life are free—wind, woods, moon, trees… the natural world has a strong pull on our souls.   Sounds subjective? The science is conclusive: access to nature is conclusively tied to a healthy state of well-being. (Check out this study for some clues as to why: In Swift County, MN, we have an abundance of natural habitat that can give your spirit a boost--including lovely regional Lake Minnewaska.
Art for art’s sake (and economics, too)

Monday, October 05, 2015

We all know that art has aesthetic value. Art can be beautiful; it can be thought-provoking; it can be culturally enriching.   But a growing body of evidence suggests that art also has economic value. The nonprofit Americans for the Arts even has an online calculator to help estimate the effect of a given project or organization. (Try it here:   Here in Swift County, MN, we have a thriving rural arts community—and it’s celebrated every year with the “Arts Meander,” a gallery crawl with related events and offerings. Learn more about it here:
Marching to success

Monday, September 28, 2015

Want to raise smart kids with good life skills? Make sure they’re in the marching band!   That’s the conclusion of this author, who traces many desirable characteristics in adults to time spent marching with the band. (Read them here:   As the home of an award-winning traveling marching band, we in Swift County, MN couldn’t agree more! The KMS Marching Saints are the pride of the county—not only for their achievements, but for the model behavior they demonstrate every day. Check them out:  
A game for everyone

Monday, September 21, 2015

What sport allows you to play—no matter your age, gender, ability, or skill? One of the very few activities of this sort is golf.   But that’s not to say the game isn’t challenging. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Few sports require more concentration and practice. (Here’s a short article about the benefits of the game:   Here in Swift County, MN, golfing is a big part of our lifestyle, with a variety of courses to choose from, including Kerkhoven, a small public course that’s a favorite destination for summer fun. Learn more about us here:  
Celebrating heritage with fun

Monday, September 14, 2015

Pioneer life was no walk in the park. Imagine producing your food, clothing, and shelter all by hand on your own land! And don’t forget the long winter to get through.   Maybe that’s why harvest festivals were so important. Pioneers celebrated the harvest—and the bounty of all their hard work.   Appleton, in Swift County, MN, has long been an agricultural center, as you might guess by our name. Each year, we celebrate our farm traditions with our Applefest days. Pie contests, live music, a polka dance, and much more. Learn more about it here:  
Economics + Ecology = Ecotourism

Monday, September 07, 2015

There’s plenty of good reasons for working for environmental sustainability. As the earth’s population continues to grow, so does our collective awareness of the preciousness of our all-too-finite natural resources.   And in addition to these long-term benefits, there are very real short-term economic benefits to sustainability. A good example is “eco-tourism,” especially defined broadly to include normal, family-friendly use of rivers, forests, and other natural places. (Check out some facts and figures here:   Here in Swift County, MN, one of our natural resources is the Chippewa River, and through non-profit advocacy and citizen action, we’ve taken steps to preserve the quality...
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Support Swift County's Broadband Grant Application

Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Swift County and Federated Telephone Cooperative are applying for a Border to Border Broadband Grant for $5 Million to bring high speed fiber internet service options to the unserved areas of Swift County. This application is due September 15th.  Our application will be strong, but the difference maker will be community support – including yours!  Please take a few minutes of your time to complete the linked Expression and Interest of Support Form.    This will help Swift County demonstrate community support and show that residents in current unserved areas understand what the grant proposes to do, and is ready for...
Celebrating the things that matter

Monday, August 31, 2015

There’s no real common consensus on what it means to be a “livable” community—but there are some common themes.   For one thing, livable places generally have a strong sense of history and cultural identity. (For an in-depth look at the term, see this article: One of the things that makes the towns in Swift County, MN livable communities are the numerous, down-home celebrations that come around every year. Kerkhoven Town and Country Days is a good example. With a parade and contests, it’s good family fun. Learn more about it here:
Building vibrant communities

Monday, August 24, 2015

Many leaders in both rural and urban areas are concerned with building “vibrant” communities.   But what does that really mean? In one place, vibrancy might be defined as lots of shops and restaurants. In another, a thriving farm economy. (For an in-depth look, check out this site:   One of the things that makes Swift County, MN so vibrant is that we take time out to celebrate together. One example: the DeGraff Labor Day Festival, which features a parade, music, food, and a family carnival. Learn more about Swift County here:  
Welcome to the fair!

Monday, August 17, 2015

The county fair is a special event for rural communities—midway games, 4H animals, sweet treats. It’s the highlight of the summer.   It’s also a highlight of the regional economy. Fair time can stack up to a real economic boon. (You can read one economic analysis here:   Here in Swift County, MN, our county fair is an annual institution that powers our local pride—and our local economy. Learn more about the fair here:  
“Place” yourself on the map…

Monday, August 10, 2015

What makes a place special? That’s a question with many answers. Some folks look to climate; others seek cultural amenities; while some might value outdoor recreation.   When it comes to “livable” communities, some common themes emerge: A thriving economy, natural beauty, and a variety of amenities—these tend to top the list. (Explore themes in depth here:   Here in Swift County, MN, we enjoy many of the factors that make up a livable community. Chief among them is the natural beauty of our surroundings—and the pride our communities take in preserving these regions. A good example is the Marsh Lake area, off...
A river runs through it.

Monday, August 03, 2015

If you’re alert to it, you’ll find that every place you go has some unique natural quality that makes it unique and beautiful.   One of the things that sets “livable” communities apart is that they tend to celebrate these natural features. (For more thoughts about livability, check out this article:   Here in Swift County, MN, the natural beauty of the Chippewa River valley is just one of the things that helps make this a livable community. Learn more about it here:  
Leveling the putting green

Monday, July 27, 2015

One of the great things about golf is that pretty much any age, gender, or ability can compete. Maybe that’s one reason so many entrepreneurs use the golf green as an extension of their office. (For an interesting look at why women, in particular, should hone their golf skills, check out this opinion: Here in Swift County, MN, we golf for pleasure and business. The Appleton Golf Course is a friendly, non-competitive, 9-hole option for folks who just want to get out and enjoy some sunshine. Who knows… maybe your next career move is waiting for you here. Learn more at...
Simple, family pleasures

Monday, July 20, 2015

When it comes to quality time with family, little can compare to the joys of camping. And you don’t need the best gear money can buy or a week to go backpacking in the mountains—just some simple, inexpensive equipment and a few days at the county park can give your family the full experience. (For some inspiration, check out this blog: Here in Swift County, MN, we have a variety of local, county, and state parks that offer a variety of camping. Learn more about us here:
What brings a small town to life?

Monday, July 13, 2015

Many rural residents wonder how to make their community an attractive, thriving one—economically, socially, and culturally. There’s no cookie-cutter answer. But thriving small towns have one thing in common: They celebrate the unique natural and cultural assets. (For an in-depth look at 45 case studies, check out this link: An example here in Swift County, MN is “Kid Day,” which takes place every 3rd Saturday in July. Back in 1930, local merchants thought it would be nice to hand out candy, treats, and host a parade. Today, we still think so. Learn more about Swift County here:
Set a “course” for better business relationships

Monday, July 06, 2015

Here’s a free business tip for building relationships that matter: Take your future client/employee/boss golfing. What you’ll learn on the green will make a difference in your business. At least, that’s the conclusion of this article in the Economist: Of course, it helps to keep the game in perspective; whether you use the eighteenth hole to make a hire, or just to get some relaxing exercise in the great outdoors, it’s a game that rewards in dividends for those who play. Here in Swift County, MN, we have a wide variety of golfing options for those who pursue the sport for...
Food from home, for home

Monday, June 29, 2015

The local food movement has taken off: Farmers’ markets are popping up; small farmers are increasingly selling direct-to-consumers, and practically every restaurant features local produce. It’s all for good reasons. Food that’s grown locally is fresher, burns less fossil fuel in transport, and helps support the regional economy. (For a deeper analysis, check out this presentation from the USDA: Not surprisingly, in Swift County, MN, a traditional ag economy, local foods are very popular and there are a number of ways you can get in on the yummies. Learn more here:
Grow something new in your business

Monday, June 22, 2015

If you’re an entrepreneur with an existing business or someone who wants to start a business, now is a great time to do so. In fact, according to Forbes, entrepreneurship is on the rise—especially among younger people. (Read about it here: That’s great news for our regional economies. After all, it’s small, independent businesses that provide the bulk of the nation’s jobs. Here in Swift County, MN, we have a number of services especially for starting and growing small businesses. One important resource is the Swift County Rural Development Authority. This organization provides small business loans and technical assistance to new...
What’s the big deal with road construction?

Monday, June 15, 2015

You know the frustration of slowing to 45 miles per hour in a traffic zone. But if you stop to consider how important our road system is, you’ll put the delays in perspective. Put it this way: To get raw materials into your business and products out to market, you have to have reliable transit. Here in Swift County, MN, we have not only a convenient Midwest location, but also new and improved highways, capable of handling today’s truck traffic. (For a detailed look, see this article: You can learn more about our community and its business advantages here:
The magic of music

Monday, June 08, 2015

Few activities stimulate the brain quite as much as playing a musical instrument. Kids learn important life skills—dedication, practice, and how to gracefully move on after mistakes, among them—in band class. Add to the excitement an esprit de corps of competing with a marching band, and you have a winning proposition for many teens. (For more benefits, read this blog: Here in Swift County, MN, marching bands are especially valued. Every Flag Day, for nearly 40 years, we host a competition among area marching bands that’s one of the most anticipated events of the town. Learn more about it here:
Fishing for family together time?

Monday, June 01, 2015

It’s a tradition as old as the hills—heading out on a boat to catch a few fish with the kids. Turns out, American’s value this tradition above many other recreational activities. In a recent survey, fishing was chosen as the number one choice for quality family time. (Check out the survey here: That’s just one of the things that makes Swift County, MN such a great place to raise a family. For folks around here, heading out on a fishing trip is as easy as taking a short drive to Monson Lake. Part of the “land of 10,000 lakes!” Learn more...
Extra-curricular activities can make a difference

Monday, May 25, 2015

Life is pretty crammed for today’s teen. And the pressure for academic success can be so great that leisure activities come in distant second.   The fact is that extra-curricular activities play an important role in teen development. Studies consistently show that teens who engage in sports, clubs, or activities outside of the classroom do better in school—and in life. (Learn more at this article:   Here in Swift County, MN, we have a number of wonderful opportunities for youth. One example: The Appleton Area ATV park—a 330-acre park for ATV's, off-highway motorcycles, and off road vehicles, with special classes and training for...
Down at the bandstand…

Monday, May 18, 2015

In the days before MP3 players and iTunes, everyone made their own music, and the community band was a staple entertainment.   Virtually every small town in the country had a group of amateur musicians who came together to make music for the community. (To read more in depth on the subject, check out this paper:   Today, this legacy lives on in many communities, including here in Swift County, MN. At Appleton’s beautifully restored band shell, local and visiting bands perform for delighted local audiences. Learn more here:
The dirt on dirt

Monday, May 11, 2015

When it comes to farming, you’re only as good as your dirt. Without the right blend of nutrients and minerals, crops will suffer, and yields too.   With the size and sophistication of crop operations ever on the rise, soil testing has become an important and precise science. That’s the work of Agvise Laboratories in Benson, MN. The company tests more than 200,000 soil samples every year—and the organization is expanding. (You can read about them in this article:   With its 65 employees, Agvise not only helps farmers, but also the local economy. Healthy small businesses are what really keep the regional...
Work out and work better

Monday, May 04, 2015

Want to work smarter? Get active. That’s the conclusion of a  growing body of research that suggests if you exercise regularly, you’re more productive and satisfied with your work. One study found that 60 percent of workers who spent up to an hour exercising at lunch felt their on-the-job performance increased as a result. (Check out the study here:     Best of all, you don’t need an expensive gym membership or high-tech equipment to reap the benefits of exercise. Often, it’s as simple as heading out into the great outdoors for a hike.      Here in Swift County, MN, our beautiful...
Juggling your business needs

Monday, April 27, 2015

If you’re a small-business owner, you know that providing the best quality goods and services is only the tip of the iceberg.   Every day, you make decisions that can help—or hurt—your bottom line. (To explore some common trouble-spots, check out this article:   That’s why we in Swift County, MN work to create an economy healthy for small businesses. We know that every little bit of help matters—and we celebrate the successes of businesses in our community—like the recent grand opening of R&R Outdoors in Appleton, MN, which is expanding its operations.   Learn more about Swift County here:
Parks for the people

Monday, April 20, 2015

America’s state park system is a special hallmark of our country. With some 14 million acres serving 730 million users, our state parks are often the first place a child learns about the joys of camping in the outdoors.   In Minnesota, our state park system is among the best in the country, with opportunities for camping, boating, hiking, and other recreational activities.      Here in Swift County, MN, the historic Monson Lake State Park, which commemorates the history of the Indian Wars, includes some 350 acres of parklands, and two lakes known for fishing. Learn more about beautiful Swift County here:...
Small business - big result

Monday, April 13, 2015

Small businesses may be small—but they have a big impact on the economy. Businesses with fewer than 500 employees represent 99.7 percent of all employers, generate 64 percent of new jobs, and pay 44 percent of the entire nation’s payroll, according to the Small Business Association.     That’s why we in Swift County, MN go the extra mile to build an economy that supports small businesses like Eric’s Motor Sports, which recently expanded its operations in Benson, MN. (Read about Eric’s here: We’d love to tell you more about our community and its advantages. Click here for more info:
Quality of life equals quality of workforce

Monday, April 06, 2015

Quality of life equals quality of workforce.   Running a successful business requires a skilled labor force, access to transportation, utilities that function for your company. But there’s another factor that many entrepreneurs overlook: Quality of life in your location.   Salaries and benefits go only so far in attracting and retaining talent. Quality schools, desirable amenities, and a generally “livable” community make life better for employees both on the job and off. (For more, see this article: Here in Swift County, MN, our high quality of life is just one factor in our economic success story. With abundant options for recreation and incredible...
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2015 Final Swift County Housing Studies Released

Friday, March 13, 2015

On March 12th the Swift County RDA & HRA released the 2015 Swift County housing study reports all Swift County cities to 34 interested community members and leaders at the Benson VFW.  Reports were prepared for each city and include: Demographic projections, assessment of existing housing data including rental housing, and findings and recommendations for each community.  Scott Knudson, Community Research Partners, Inc. and author of the studies, was on hand to present the reports to community members.  Mr. Knudson's presentation and all 8 housing reports can be found on the Swift County RDA website at  ( then click on...
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The 2015 State of Swift County Housing

Monday, February 23, 2015

The public is invited to the 2015 "State of Swift County Housing”, hosted by the Swift County HRA, RDA & GROW on Thursday, March 12th at the Benson VFW beginning at noon, for a luncheon presentation of the recently completed Swift County Housing Study as prepared by Community Partners Research, Inc. Scott Knudson of Community Partners Research, Inc. will be on hand to present the findings and answer questions. The study details each Swift County’s cities current housing stock and inventory, and makes recommendations regarding current and future housing needs. Key study areas include: rental housing development, home ownership, new single family construction, housing rehabilitation, senior housing...
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Department Of Agriculture Commissioner Coming To Benson

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Minnesota Department of Agriculture Commissioner Dave Frederickson will be at the Benson Golf Club on Monday January 13th at 1 PM.  He is stopping by to specifically raise awareness/generate support for the RFS.  RFS is the Renewable Fuels Standard which states how much biofuel needs to be blended with gasoline or diesel. The EPA recently  proposed a reduction to existing RFS targets.   The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) estimates the proposed EPA rule would lead to 1,500 lost jobs and cost the state $600 million in lost economic activity. While the Commissioner is specifically stopping in Benson because of CVEC, this event is open to...
2018 Consumer Confidence Report

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Notice is hereby given that the City of Murdock Consumer Confidence Report will not be mailed or published, but is available upon request at the Murdock City Office. Respectfully, Kim Diederich City Clerk
Garbage Pick up

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Due to the Memorial Day Holiday on Monday, May 28, City of Murdock garbage will be picked up on Tuesday, May 29, 
Building Permit Guidelines

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Please remember that you need to apply for a building permit PRIOR to any building project being started.  Please contact the City Office with questions.  A building permit application can be found on the Monthly Meeting Minutes and Building Permit Application page.
City of Murdock April Newsletter

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Since Winter does not seem to want to leave us, please remember to move your cars during a snow event so that plowing of the city streets can be done easily! Hopefully this will have to be the last reminder of this for this year! There will be a city wide clean up day in mid-May. So start your spring cleaning. We will post more info and a date as when we have it set. Mark Your Calendars! May 25 Red Cross Bloodmobile at City Hall from 11:30-5:30p.m. More Details to come! July 13-14 Murdock Daze! Golf Tournament on Friday night in Kerkhoven, Volleyball...
Consumer Confidence Report

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

The Consumer confidence report for the City of Murdock is now available for reviewing at the City Clerk’s office at the Murdock City Hall. Thank you, Kim Diederich City Clerk
March 2018 Meeting Minutes

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

A Public Meeting was held at 5:00p.m. on Wednesday March 14, 2018 to discuss the TDS Franchise for the City of Murdock.. All Council members were present as well as Adam Simmonds and Trista Kavanagh. Mike Wentzel from TDS was at the meeting to present information regarding TDS providing Cable Service as a choice for residents of Murdock. Discussion was held and questions answered. The Public meeting was adjourned at 5:30p.m. The Murdock City Council met in regular session on Wednesday, March 14, 2018 at 5:30p.m. with all members present. Adam Simmonds was also present. February meeting minutes were read and approved...
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Job Opening for Program Specialist

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Swift County is recruiting for a 32 hour per week Full-time Program Specialist. This position performs intermediate work facilitating housing rehabilitation programs in Swift County, implementing assisted housing and community development programs, and related work as apparent or assigned. Work is performed under the limited supervision of the HRA Executive Director. This position also works closely with the RDA Director and the County Administrator.  2017 starting wage is $16.97 per hour with increases on January 1 , 2018 and anniversary date and includes excellent full-time benefits. Employment offers contingent on passing a background check. To be considered for the position, a Swift...
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Appleton Option Continues Work to Open Prison

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Work on the Appleton Option continues in St Paul! The Minnesota House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee will take up an amendment that the Commissioner of Corrections shall attempt to complete negotiations by January 1, 2017, of a contract to operate and purchase or lease with an option to buy the Appleton Prison. Learn more here

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

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Swift County RDA Seeking Part-Time Intern

Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Swift County Rural Development Authority (RDA) is seeking an individual for an economic development internship. Swift County RDA is a progressive rural community of 10,000 people, located in west central Minnesota.  The person chosen for this position will make a substantial contribution to successfully establishing the County”s recently acquired property database system – Location One Information Systems (LOIS). The internship will be focused on preparing accurate data records, photos and maps for available commercial, industrial and retail sites, spaces and buildings in Swift County.  There will also be opportunities to contribute to the County”s online and print marketing materials.  This position...
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Swift County Seeks Participation In First Children's Finance "Greater Than Minnesota"

Monday, December 09, 2013

Message from RDA Director, Jen Frost I recently spoke with First Children”s Finance and the Southwest Initiative Foundation on signing Swift County up for a pilot project in each initiative region to study early child care in rural Minnesota.  The group is called “Greater Than Minnesota”.  Heidi Hagel Braid, Director of First Children's Finance explains the program in a recent Prairie Business magazine article: The group is focused on increasing quality and availability of early child care in rural Minnesota and, in order to achieve this, is approaching the problem from the economic development perspective. “A sustainable supply of affordable, high quality child...