SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) –The Children’s Home Society received national recognition for its leadership and workforce transformation to better serve children across the state, receiving the Children’s Bureau Champion award in a special community celebration in Sioux Falls Wednesday.

In tonight’s your money matters, how the nonprofit has been able to attract and retain employees during a time of intense workforce competition.

Our number one issue is finding workers and how do we gain workers and retain workers,” Senator John Thune said.

Its been one of the nation’s most Common questions since the pandemic hit 3 years ago.

“In a time when employers across the nation are struggling to retain talent, our leadership team and I have developed a national model for how to create a workforce,” Children’s Home Society CEO Michelle Lavallee said.

It’s why the Children’s Home Society of South Dakota is receiving a national award for its transformational growth in workforce culture and retaining employees during this intensely competitive job market.

“In our, world keeping an exceptional and consistent team in place is so very important,” Lavallee said. “Consistency helps kids unlock their treasures, which sometimes has been locked away inside of them due to trauma.”

“I think the challenging part is knowing that some kids come in with some really scary stories, things they’ve been through that they’ve had to endure as a child,” CHS Day School Therapist Aaron Vaul said.

While the work they do is not easy, CHS staff like therapist Aaron Vaul say it’s one of the most rewarding jobs in the world.

“Getting to learn about the kids, learn their story, and getting to be a part of their journey to recovery,” Vaul said.

“You are living lives of purpose, you’re serving causes that are greater than yourselves. I can’t think of anything that you can do in life that is more important than that,” Thune said.

But it’s not just the rewarding work keeping employees happy at CHS—the organization has worked to improve benefits, professional development and other measure that allow their employees to focus on their work.

“If you’re worried about your bills and how you’re going to get through the week, its very hard to invest in other people. It just is. The fact that that was addressed is absolutely incredible because you have to take care of your people if you want them to take of others,” Governor Kristi Noem said.

Many leaders from across the state gathered to celebrate this major federal recognition for the South Dakota nonprofit.

The champions award for CHS is from the Children’s Bureau, which is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services