The Regional Workforce Initiative, led by five FM organizations, provided a progress report to investors and stakeholders on Thursday, June 30 at the Courtyard by Marriott. Over the past year, more than 170 volunteers have been building on ideas set forth within the 100-page report.
The initiative addresses a growing workforce gap between available positions and qualified workers to enhance the region’s economic competitiveness.
Some of the goals announced during the presentation focused on consistent messaging and branding; a central clearing house to learn more about moving to Fargo Moorhead, finding employment and opportunities for things to do; removing barriers to home ownership and increasing available childcare.
Six-months of research, surveys, focus groups and in-person interviews by TIP Strategies, a consulting firm based in Austin, Texas, have culminated in the 100-page report that details the environment surrounding regional workforce and the challenges and opportunities we face recruiting, retaining and developing our workforce.
The Greater Fargo Moorhead region currently has roughly 6,700 job openings, and the 11-county labor shed has more than 11,000 job openings. Within the next five years, the region is projected to have more than 30,000 openings, and the labor shed is projected to have 55,000 openings. These jobs openings include both new jobs and replacement jobs which are open due to natural turnover in the workplace.
Employers across the region are already having difficulty securing the talent they need. Some of this difficulty is consistent with challenges employers across the US are facing – the discrepancy between the skills available workers have and the skills employers need, otherwise known as the skills gap.
In the Fargo Moorhead region the workforce challenges are further complicated by the low unemployment rate and the high labor force participation rate. There are not enough workers in the region to fill these job openings.
The report includes a four-point framework with priority projects to tackle the region’s employment challenges. The five-year strategic plan aims to address ways to cultivate and develop local talent, attract new talent to the region, build a strong path towards financial stability for those who need it and encourage innovation to maximize the region’s use of human capital.
- Cultivate: Strengthen the pipeline of local talent to support employers in the region.
- Community 101 for college students
- Tiny Pulse for Talent Insights
- Winter Festival to “Embrace the Cold”
- Attract: Enhance and coordinate efforts to bring new talent to the region
- Friends and Family Campaign
- Talent Recruitment Services
- Trailing Spouse Network
- Build: Develop a framework for financial self-sufficiency and upward mobility for workers in low-wage and basic-skill jobs
- Nonprofit collaborative
- Affordable Housing Advocacy
- Employer-led childcare
- Innovate: Encourage the development of innovative solutions to address the region’s workforce-related challenges
- Technology Hackathon
- Social innovation challenge
Within the next three to five years, the five lead organizations will drive the implementation of the four strategies and evaluate progress strengthening our workforce system to continue to support business growth.
The Regional Workforce Partnership & Collaboration involves the Greater Fargo Moorhead Economic Development Corporation, the Chamber, the Fargo Moorhead Area Foundation, United Way of Cass-Clay and the Fargo-Moorhead Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Many local companies have pledged their support as sponsors of the partnership and its efforts: