Connecting Youth to the Workforce

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Bikes outside Moody County Boys & Girls Club

The South Dakota Community Foundation (SDCF) recently awarded the Boys & Girls Club of Brookings/Moody County Club with a $10,000 Community Innovation Grant. Offered in partnership with the Bush Foundation, the Community Innovation Grant program supports efforts to find breakthrough solutions to community challenges. Funds will support a Workforce Development Program for the Flandreau community.

“We are excited to be able to educate youth and promote the positive future and opportunities youth can have in Flandreau and in South Dakota”, said Vanessa Merhib, Executive Director, Boys & Girls Club of Brookings. “Our goal is to educate, create lifelong networks and to highlight all our area has to offer to youth so that if they choose to stay or choose to leave but want to return, the opportunities are there to do so.”

The Boys & Girls Club of Brookings, Inc./Moody County Club is focusing on career readiness to help fill the growing number of open positions in area businesses. The ten-week Workforce Development Program will help connect youth ages 14-18 to paid jobs in the Flandreau community from 10 – 40 hours per week. The focus is learning work skills through on-the-job-training as well as professional development, career exploration and customer service skills.

“We are proud to partner with the Boys & Girls Club of Brookings, Inc./Moody County Club as they work to bolster the workforce in Flandreau”, said Ginger Niemann, Senior Program Officer, SDCF. “Every community in our state is struggling with how to fill all their job openings. By training our own, we are filling positions and ensuring that the money will stay in our own communities.”

The South Dakota Community Foundation will award $400,000 in Community Innovation Grants during 2018. For more information or to apply for a grant, visit

About the SDCF

Since 1987, the South Dakota Community Foundation has helped people reach their philanthropic goals and strengthened communities across the state. The SDCF gives its partners enhanced investment opportunities that provide long-term support to charitable causes. In 2017, the SDCF distributed more than $13.5 million in grants from all funds administered. For more information, visit

About the Bush Foundation

The Bush Foundation invests in great ideas and the people who power them. Established in 1953 by 3M Executive Archibald Bush and his wife Edyth, the Foundation encourages individuals and organizations to think bigger and think differently about what is possible in communities across Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and the 23 Native nations that share the same geographic area.