Sioux Falls Development Foundation: Avera’s $50-million workforce investment ‘well-deserved’

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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Sioux Falls business leaders see Avera Health’s big investment in its workforce as part of a growing trend among companies across South Dakota. On Wednesday, we learned Avera will spend more than $50-million on pay raises for its employees, plus other benefits.

The Sioux Falls Development Foundation says Avera’s pay boost is well-deserved for its employees, especially during the pandemic. And while other companies might not have $50-million to distribute to their workers, the foundation says employees across the state have been seeing bumps in their paychecks, as well.

Avera’s $50-million investment in its workforce will have a far-reaching effect across KELOLAND.

“And we know that’s an investment that will be meaningful and drive results and be a boon to the economy in all the 100-plus communities that we’re in across our footprint,” Avera Health President & CEO Bob Sutton said.

Avera President & CEO Bob Sutton says 50 million was a number that was significant enough to make a difference. The Vice-President of Talent & Workforce with the Sioux Falls Development Foundation agrees.

“I think the amount is right-on. I think that when you look at everything else that they’re doing within their organization, it just really seems to follow suit,” Denise Guzzetta said.

Other companies may likely follow Avera’s lead and provide pay raises. That’s because bigger paychecks for South Dakota workers have been part of an ongoing business trend over the past several years.

“Pay overall is increasing, that’s one of the things we see when we’re in a tight labor market like this and pay has continued to rise over the course of the last five years,” Guzzetta said.

Guzzetta expects Avera’s $50-million investment will have a carryover into other sectors of the economy, not just in health care.

“I think as you look at, of course, what’s happening in manufacturing and the investments that you have there and financial services, absolutely, you’re just going to see where companies continue to re-invest in their employees,” Guzzetta said.

Guzzetta says that re-investment will help companies struggling with staffing to not only hire the workers they need, but also keep them on the job longer.

Guzzetta says one of Avera’s strengths is worker retention, in part because of the benefits the health care provider offers.

The Sioux Falls Development Foundation will be hosting a workforce summit later this month.

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