Brittany’s Story

Brittany’s Story

woman using laptop

In just four days I was able to find a job.

Born and raised in Watertown, South Dakota, Brittany moved to Colorado to get a degree and start her career. When family developed health issues, Brittany knew it was time to move back.

“I read about Dakota Roots and reached out.” Brittany was matched with a Dakota Roots Job Advisor who helped her find the right opportunity.

“She was so amazing. She helped me with my resume and answered all of my questions. In just four days, I was able to find a job. The timing was just impeccable.”

Coming Back Home

While family health issues prompted her to make the move, Brittany admits it was more than illness that drew her back to South Dakota.

“I missed seeing familiar faces and living in a community that felt welcoming,” she says. “Coming home was such a good feeling. Every time I came to visit, I didn’t want to leave,” and a 12-hour drive made it difficult for her to return on a regular basis.

two women window shopping
girl smiling at dog

Bigger Doesn’t Always Mean Better

Brittany admits she was slightly apprehensive about moving back. “After being in Boulder, I worried I might be bored. But I have no regrets. It’s been absolutely wonderful.”

She loves the small town community and the friendliness that goes along with it. “Even if you go to the grocery store, strangers say ‘hi, how are you?’ There are so many great opportunities and ways to meet people. Everyone is so friendly and willing to help each other out. And Aberdeen is such a safe city. If you know familiar faces, you feel pretty safe.”

Mike’s Story

Mike’s Story

I didn’t realize South Dakota had a program where a person was assigned to help you get the career you wanted.

man and women having dinner

After graduating from the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, Mike thought opportunity only awaited him outside of the state. He and his family followed a path that took them to Iowa, Ohio and eventually Indiana. But no matter where they lived, it never felt like home.

Mike began looking at his options in South Dakota. And he was surprised at what he found. “I didn’t realize South Dakota actually had a program where a person was assigned to help you get the career you wanted.”

While working with his Dakota Roots personal Job Advisor, Mike was overwhelmed by the flurry of opportunity his home state offered him. “When I graduated there didn’t appear to be a lot of opportunities like these, but now that we’re back in South Dakota, I see that the job market is really growing.”

man working manual labor

The Best of the Midwest

Today, Mike works as a Quality Manager at Sapa Extrusions in Yankton, South Dakota. “I get to put my years of experience to work,” he says. “I’m challenged, and this position has provided me with a growth opportunity.”

“You know, when we talked to people about moving back, their reaction was ‘why would you do that?’” Mike says. “But they just don’t understand. They think it’s cold winters and that’s it.”

“There is a lot more to experience in South Dakota than cold winters. It’s more modern than people think, yet it’s retained its natural beauty with lakes, streams and great outdoor recreation.”

“Don’t get me wrong,” Mike says, “we enjoyed experiencing different parts of the country and other lifestyles. What we didn’t like was how difficult it was to maintain our connections here. In the end, we missed our family and we knew how friendly and beautiful South Dakota was.”

Total Package

In addition to being near family and friends, Mike and his wife are enjoying the benefits of South Dakota’s natural beauty.

“We enjoy bike riding and spending time at Lewis and Clark Lake, attending sporting events, taking in plays and musicals at the local theatre and, when I get the time, golfing at several nice courses in the area.”

“Here I have a relaxing lifestyle, but I still have easy access to cultural and entertainment events that larger areas offer,” he says.

“I think most people will really like what they find here in South Dakota. It’s the total package.”

man and woman riding bikes

Gayle’s Story

Gayle’s Story

woman sitting on bench

It was nice to have someone ask me how things were going.

New Yorker Gayle fell in love with a man from Brookings, South Dakota. After decades living in the Empire State both decided it was time to come back to the Rushmore State. But before Gayle and her family could uproot in upstate, they needed the right opportunity.

“It was a little frustrating trying to look for a job from so far away, especially when it came to the interviewing process,” she says. “So when I started working with Dakota Roots, it was nice to have someone ask me how things were going.”

Gayle’s Dakota Roots Job Advisor took stock of her experience in human services to connect her with job opportunities where she could work with children and families. And eventually, she was offered the job she always wanted.

“I quit my job in New York and started here just five days later. Once I got the job, everything else just fell into place.”

Finding Contentment

You’d think moving to South Dakota might be a challenge for a native New Yorker. But Gayle says it wasn’t difficult at all.

“I lived near the Canadian border, so moving wasn’t a huge change for me,” she says. “Both areas are more rural, and the weather was similar. Actually, when we left New York there was three feet of snow on the ground. It felt nice to arrive in South Dakota!”

“We love driving around and enjoying the beauty of the Black Hills. The best feeling for me is looking over and seeing the look of contentment on my husband’s face.”

woman looking up over her glasses

hands typing on a keyboard

An Unexpected Benefit

While Gayle and her husband have found contentment in South Dakota they also found the state held an unexpected benefit for their 16-year-old son.

“Back in New York he had behavioral issues in school, so when we moved here it really felt like a new, fresh start. He’s done really well and loves it here. Honestly, he thinks everything is better in South Dakota!”

Spending more time with family and meeting new friends has made Gayle and her family’s life richer and more enjoyable. It’s a life lesson she passes along.

“I always tell the kids I work with that every experience you have is going to help you; you just need to think of it as an education opportunity. My experiences here in South Dakota have been just as valuable.”

Michael’s Story

Michael’s Story

couple on a bridge

Dakota Roots was great and got me a lot of interviews.

For Michael moving to South Dakota wasn’t about reconnecting with old family and friends. Instead, it was an act of nature that brought him here.“I actually came to the Great Plains on a professional storm chasing tour in 2013 and fell in love with the Black Hills.”

Born in New Jersey and growing up in California, Michael spent most of his life and career on the U.S. coasts. But after chasing storms, he decided it was time to chase new opportunities in South Dakota. He started searching online and found Dakota Roots.

“Dakota Roots was great and got me a lot of interviews,” he says. Before long, Michael accepted a job in accounting and finance at the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology in Rapid City.

One of the Best States for Business

Michael was ready to commit but he knew it would take some convincing to get his wife Marie to agree to move to South Dakota.

“She had a very east coast upbringing, and initially she was totally against the idea of moving here due to weather. Then we came out for a week in June 2014, and she loved the Black Hills and the people.”

South Dakota’s strong economy and continued growth also reassured both of them that South Dakota was the right move. “In Rapid City you find robust companies, medical jobs, construction jobs, Ellsworth Air Force Base and a huge tourism industry. Everywhere you look there are out-of-state license plates and new construction.”

couple holding hands
man swinging golf club

Less Means More

For Michael and Marie, adjusting to life in South Dakota has meant dealing with less – that is, less crime, fewer crowds and no state income tax.

“We love the lower density of people here,” he says. “We don’t have to fight crowds or deal with traffic. There’s less crime, less waiting and it’s easier to do basic things like playing golf when you want or even just seeing a doctor. And with no state income tax, the cost of living is much lower.”

All that “less” has led to a lot more when it comes to quality of life.

“We have a simpler lifestyle here, yet there’s so much to see and do in the Black Hills. The quality of restaurants is great, we enjoy hiking and outdoor activities and having four seasons to experience has been a treat.”

As someone who grew up in New Jersey and California for most of his life, what advice would Michael give people considering South Dakota?

“This area is in growth mode and will continue to thrive,” he says. “In my opinion, some bigger states have really peaked. South Dakota’s opportunities are only growing.”

Amy’s Story

Amy’s Story

Amy, a Pierre, South Dakota native, was living and working in Minneapolis, MN. But it wasn’t everything she thought it would be and she longed to come back home. “My mom connected me with Dakota Roots.”

South Dakota. “It was really cool that someone besides my family was helping me move back to South Dakota,” Amy says. “They were friendly and genuinely wanted me to succeed.”

It was really cool that someone besides my family was helping me move back to South Dakota.

Big City Living

“I grew up in Pierre but I didn’t want to go to college in South Dakota; it seemed like that’s what everyone did. I wanted to go where I didn’t know anyone, and this seemed like my only chance to live in a big city.”

After earning her degree in communications and advertising from Minnesota State University Moorhead, Amy packed up for Minneapolis where she found a position in digital marketing. But a career path wasn’t the only thing Amy discovered in the big city.

“When I got there, I found out how hard living in a huge city can be,” she says. “I didn’t know how to get around or where I should live. My family and friends were almost seven hours away, and the cost of living there was so much higher than in South Dakota.”

“Even when I made friends we rarely did anything because we lived across the city, and it meant an $80 cab ride. Everything just seemed like a chore.”

There’s No Place Like Home

Although Amy’s boyfriend Sean eventually moved to Minneapolis to be with her, Amy’s loneliness lingered, especially when she thought about her family back in South Dakota. “Every time we visited Pierre, it broke my heart to leave.”

Other reasons for moving back began to add up, too. Amy and Sean got engaged and realized the house they couldn’t afford in Minneapolis was waiting for them (with a much lower price tag) in South Dakota. Plus, moving back meant saying goodbye to a daily two-hour commute. “Finally, the last time we went back to Pierre, I broke down crying and decided I didn’t want to live in Minneapolis anymore. I started looking for jobs in South Dakota the entire way back to Minnesota.”

I found a job similar to the one I loved in Minnesota.

Simplifying Without Sacrificing

Today, Amy and Sean are married homeowners living a life they couldn’t have found in Minneapolis.

“I don’t miss Minneapolis as much as I thought I would,” Amy says. “When we moved to Sioux Falls, I was surprised how much is here. We have amazing bike trails, concert venues, more restaurants and shopping than I thought, and a ton of friends that we see on a regular basis. Plus, I found a job similar to the one I loved in Minnesota.”

Amy and Sean see Sioux Falls as a tight-knit, growing community and they’re growing along with it. “We recently got a dog and love taking her out for walks,” she says. “Our house is in a great school district, and someday we want to raise our kids here.”

Dakota Roots helped Amy and Sean get back to their roots where being closer to family, friends and growth opportunities are helping them enjoy a simpler life without sacrificing.