October 27, 2014

United Way of Cass-Clay collaborates to lead first-ever regional workforce study

“It is very exciting to be in our community right now,” said Jim Gartin, President of the Greater Fargo Moorhead Economic Development Corp.  However, as the region consistently boasts one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country, workforce presents a challenge to continued economic growth and prosperity. That was made clear to Gartin while making calls to around 200 local businesses.  Around 90% of them stated that they have a serious shortage of highly trained and highly qualified individuals.  In addition, there are factors impacting our workforce such as child care, education, transportation, housing and community development. 

In response to that challenge, five organizations, along with a diverse range of businesses and higher education organizations, have come together to sponsor a first-ever regional workforce study. The state of North Dakota has never had a comprehensive study done before regarding the workforce.  “This will tell us about our stability” Gartin stated.

Theory Into Practice (TIP) Strategies, a consulting firm based in Austin, TX has been hired to lead a six-month study to examine the region’s labor market, study the industry-workforce alignment and develop systems for ongoing collaboration to enhance this alignment. TIP Strategies confronts economic challenges and their process results in a realistic plan and a detailed roadmap for implementation.

The purpose of the project is to work collaboratively to gain more information regarding the current and future state of our region’s workforce and commission a comprehensive study regarding the current state of workforce development, training, recruitment, and attainment in our region. We will then review and analyze the data obtained from the workforce development study and identify action steps. 

The goal of our work together is to commission a comprehensive study regarding the current state of workforce development, training, recruitment and attainment in our region.  The outcome will be data that will help to create action steps to address this challenge and be shared with businesses in the community.  Data gathered will be utilized by partners to take the next steps in improving workforce development, funding initiatives and programs and planning for the future success of our community.

Why is United Way of Cass-Clay involved in this project?

United Way of Cass-Clay is focused on helping people in the areas of Education, Income Stability, Health, and Basic Needs such as food, shelter and safety.  “Creating opportunities for people to find jobs and be prepared for the workforce is directly related to our investment strategy,” said Sherri Thomsen, President of United Way of Cass-Clay.  “United Way is working to slow the cycle of poverty—if we invest in strategies that address education and workforce development, we can accomplish these goals.”

The Regional Workforce Partnership & Collaboration involves The Chamber, the Greater Fargo Moorhead Economic Development Corporation, the Fargo Moorhead Area Foundation, United Way of Cass-Clay, and the Fargo-Moorhead Convention and Visitors Bureau along with several sponsors who helped fund the study.

Sponsors of the study include:
Border States Electric 
Industrial Builders, Inc. 
Meinecke-Johnson Company 
North Dakota State College of Science 
City of Moorhead Economic Development 
Greater Fargo-Moorhead EDC 
The Chamber 
United Way of Cass-Clay 
Fargo-Moorhead Convention & Visitors Bureau 
Fargo-Moorhead Area Foundation 
Forum Communications Company 
City of West Fargo 
North Dakota State University 
Trail King Industries 
Sanford Health 
Eide Bailly LLP 
Minnesota State University Moorhead 
Dakota Medical Foundation 
Essentia Health 
American Crystal Sugar Company
O’Day Equipment, Inc. 

Click here to read the article from the Fargo Forum. 


Watch Craig Whitney, President of The Chamber, explain the partnership


Watch Jim Gartin, President of the GFM Economic Development Corporation talk about the need for this study in our community. 

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