Meet the Mayoral Candidates: Paul TenHaken

Paul TenHaken proposes internship search engine


The following is a transcript of a phone interview with Sioux Falls mayoral candidate Paul TanHaken. The interview occurred on April 13.

What does Augustana mean to you?:


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Paul Tenhaken

Augustana, to me, means one of the biggest workforce development tools for our city, and one of the biggests workforce engines for our city.


When I look at all the graduates that Augustana cranks out, it would be my goal as mayor to keep as many of those graduates in the city as possible. And so crafting a city and a culture and an arts and entertainment district and amenities that young people want is going to be important to me. 

In the last ten years of my life, I’ve owned a company called Click Rain, and Augustana made up a pretty decent chunk of our workforce. We hired a lot of Augie grads and we had a lot of Augie interns. Indirectly Augustana has been a big part of my business success over the last ten years because of the grads they produced.


How do you envision Augustana and Sioux Falls’ relationship under your mayorship?:

I think the relationship with not just Augie, but with [The University of Sioux Falls], with Southeast Technical Institute and the University Center—you know, all four of those, as they crank out higher-ed graduates, are critical to the city of Sioux Falls because that is the next generation of workers that these schools are developing. And each fills a different niche. 

With Augustana, we are not, obviously, producing graduates that are looking to get into the trades, but that’s what Southeast Tech is producing. 

USF has different programs than the University Center, so I see each of our higher-ed institutions in our city filling a unique lane of workforce needs in the city. 

It would be my role to have very strong relationships with each of those institutions because I see them as mission-critical to increasing our workforce in our future.


Augie can provide workers to Sioux Falls, but what resources can Sioux Falls provide Augustana to help produce workers?

It is the role of the mayor to start to craft a city that is attractive to young people. If we invest in the city, hopefully you will see this as a place that is investing into you and you will want to stay here. 

The second thing I would like to undertake if I become mayor is developing an internship engine.

I have seen over and over that students want internships, but they have no idea how to get them. 

They don’t know where to turn; they don’t know where to look. It is just so hard for you guys to find internship opportunities, and they exist, but there’s no one-stop shop for that. 

So, I’d like to create an internship search engine for Sioux Falls or potentially Southeast South Dakota that would help the students find internships in South Dakota, because if you get your hooks into someone in an internship, chances are you keep them with employment as well. 

Students are hungry for internships and businesses are hungry for students, but we have a hard time connecting the two.


Do you have a message for Augie students?

My message to Augie students would be that, as a 40-year-old business owner, I understand the challenges and opportunities for young people. 

I’ve recruited and retained young people for a long time in business and I know what you guys are looking for in a career, in a city, in benefits, in a culture. 

I have a track record in building a company that has demonstrated my knowledge of that. 

My message for the students is that when you go to the polls on May 1, you’re really electing the next CEO of the city, and who has the strongest level of CEO experience, and who has the strongest understanding of the millennial and younger workforce? 

Trying to keep you in the city will hopefully set me apart from the other candidate. 

It is not lip service when I say the colleges in our city will be really critical to me.

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