When one thinks about the word “pillars,” images of the stately columns often associated with ancient ruins in Greece and Italy come to mind. Those pillars are stately, strong, foundational….and have stood the test of time.

That’s exactly what the organizers of the Greater St. Cloud Area Pillars Forum want citizens to think about when they hear about the efforts surrounding our region’s Pillars. These support our community’s common vision: Greater St. Cloud region is a proud, vibrant community where talented people live, work and prosper with purpose. A vision that will stand the test of time.

As a refresher, the Greater St. Cloud Community Pillars are:

  • Arts & Entertainment
  • Community Engagement
  • Economy
  • Education
  • Green
  • Housing
  • Infrastructure
  • Safety
  • Wellness

Each year a forum is held to review the progress of the Pillars.  This year’s event is Tuesday, Feb. 6 from 7:30 – 10 a.m. at the River’s Edge Convention Center. It includes a complementary breakfast and is free and open to the public. Registration is requested by Jan. 30.

The event will kick off by highlighting the Arts and Entertainment Pillar with a performance by Ashley Gonzalez and Christopher Goering with Wirth Center for the Performing Arts.  Ashley, a St. Cloud Christian School senior from Sauk Rapids, will be just returning from a concert at Carnegie Hall where she will perform with a High School Honors Choir.

Brief videos will feature the history of the Pillars initiative and 2017 highlights from the nine pillars. This year’s special presentations will focus on:

Brian will provide an update of the activities of Public Safety Foundation, share some safety statistics (perception really is different than reality), and identify challenges including the shortage of workforce for firefighters, EMT, etc. Jim will share the progress of the new Community Outpost.

  • Economy and Workforce Panel featuring: Tammy Biery, Career Solutions; Gail Cruikshank, Greater St. Cloud Development Corporation; Luke Greiner, Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development; Angelica Pena, Avivo (formerly RESOURCE, Inc.); and Lisa Schwarz, Times Media.

Tammy will moderate the panel beginning with Luke reviewing the importance of immigration, speaking about the generational gaps in skills and employment, and addressing whether there is a skills or worker gap in Greater St. Cloud. The other panelists will share their perspectives on workforce issues by discussing what their organizations are doing to address the concerns.

The morning is sure to be thought-provoking and educational. Don’t miss it! To register, go here.