Beyond Math, Giving Students A Glimpse Of What’s Possible

“I like your thought process. Can you show me on paper?” Reid Larson, a mechanical engineering student at NDSU, is one of eight college students spending several hours per week with second graders at Ed Clapp elementary in Fargo. The college students play games and do fun activities to help their second graders understand and master math concepts.

Organizing his groups as a “math congress” or “math club”, Larson said, gives students an opportunity to be excited to learn without being afraid to make mistakes. And he said it’s working.

“All the students have quickly improved and continue increasing their understanding through various games. At the same time, we have been repeatedly increasing their addition capabilities by looking at math equations in many different ways,” said Larson.

For some students, it’s about pushing even further beyond the second grade boundaries. For others, it’s helping them understand basic concepts to get them to grade level. While the extra attention is giving students more opportunities to grasp important math concepts and improve assessment scores, the benefits go beyond math skills.

For the second graders, the college students become mentors who are chasing their goals. This might be the first time the elementary students have even considered college, opening them up to possibilities they never imagined before. The interactions may also challenge a student’s beliefs – like seeing a female engineer.

For the college students, it’s a chance to spend ten weeks really digging into and sharing their passion. At times, the experience also challenges them to learn to teach math in an entirely new way.

The GFMEDC piloted the program last year partnering with NDSU to place two college students in one second grade classroom. Student scores improved across the board, some jumping significantly. This year, the program includes eight NDSU students covering all four second grade classrooms.

GFMEDC Adds New Board Members, Elects Officers

Five area professionals have joined the Greater Fargo Moorhead Economic Development Corporation (GFMEDC) board of directors. The board also has elected new officers for 2017.

New members Kevin Biffert, Jim Sweeney and Jim Buus began their terms January 1. Biffert is the President of Fargo Automation, Fargo; Sweeney is President of Fargo Jet Center, Fargo; and Buus is Vice President of Goldmark Commercial Real Estate, Fargo. The GFMEDC board also recently elected Paul Richard and Brent Tieken to the board. Richard is the Executive Vice President Sanford Health, Fargo Market and Tieken is the CEO of Sundog Interactive. Both began their term in late 2016.

New board officers are: Jeff Volk, President & CEO of Moore Engineering, Chair; Randy Gerhold, Fargo R&D Site Leader, Microsoft, Vice-chair; Judd Graham, Fargo Region CEO of Bremer Bank, Treasurer; Marshal Albright, President & CEO of Cass County Electric, Secretary; Tammy Miller CEO of Border States Electric Coop., Past chair.

The GFMEDC relies on guidance from its board to achieve its goals and lay the groundwork for the economic health of Cass County, N.D. and Clay County, Minn. The board is made up of 33 directors. It includes a nine-member executive committee; ten at-large members elected from investor businesses; representatives of the Fargo City Commission, West Fargo City Commission, Moorhead City Council, Cass County Commission and Clay County Commission; one development council representative; the superintendents of Fargo, West Fargo and Moorhead public schools; and the presidents of Concordia College, Minnesota State University Moorhead and North Dakota State University. The presidents of MState and NDSCS are honorary board members. Board members can serve up to three terms.

The Greater Fargo Moorhead Economic Development Corporation (GFMEDC) is a catalyst for economic growth and prosperity. Using a comprehensive approach to economic development, the GFMEDC accelerates job and wealth creation in Cass County, ND and Clay County, Minn.

FM Welcome Party – Grab Your Ticket And Join Us November 1st!

We’re throwing a party! So if you are new to the area (or kinda new), join us!

We want to be the first ones to welcome you to Fargo-Moorhead! We’re so glad you moved here.

It’s a night where you can meet new friends and see what makes Fargo-Moorhead a great place to live. Grab a drink, enjoy some great food, and ask other new residents (and locals) why they like living here or any other question or thing that is confusing you. For example, where is “the lake” everyone goes to in the summer?

It’s all sponsored by us, the Greater Fargo Moorhead Economic Development Corporation. Yep, we’re way more fun than we sound!

Moved here 6 days ago? Perfect! More like 6 years? We’d love to see you there!

November 1st
6:00 – 8:30 pm
Sanctuary Event Center
670 4th Avenue North, Fargo ND

All are welcome (professionals, spouses, kids, students, new graduates)!

Get your tickets

Know someone who just moved here? Share this event with them!
We’re making it a pretty big deal; heck, you’re worth it!

Enhancing Math, Inspiring Dreams. Program Connects NDSU Engineering Students With Fargo Second Graders

Ed Clapp Pilot Project

This upcoming school year, the GFMEDC and NDSU will again partner to place eight engineering students at Fargo’s Ed Clapp Elementary. The engineering students will work with all second graders enhancing their understanding of math concepts doing fun activities and playing games.

The pilot program was started in 2015-2016 thanks to a collaboration among the GFMEDC, NDSU and Fargo Public Schools. Two engineering students spent ten weeks teaching a total of 20 students who ranged from level one to five in terms of math competency. The GFMEDC provided the college students’ stipends.

Along with inspiring the students to learn different ways to tackle math concepts (and hopefully to love math), the program aims to create pa115mediumthways to careers like engineering. The NDSU students act as role models, sharing their love of math with the kids and planting the seed in their minds that they can work hard and achieve their dreams. This program has the potential to reach more students getting them excited about learning math from role models who use it in their everyday lives.

And it worked! The school saw notable improvement in math understanding during the first-year pilot program.

We’re proud to partner to create programs like this because we know a strong economy relies on a solid pipeline of talent. And we want our students to see a world of possibilities!

Cool Fargo Moments, Long-Term, High-Touch Approach Generates Entrepreneurial Energy In FM

thank you

Lights, laughter and music spilled out of the open 2nd-floor windows of Ecce Art Gallery on a crisp April evening, bathing Broadway with gypsy jazz. It was the launch party for “The Abettor’s Letters,” a web-based interactive game for learning French created by Fargo startup Beach Interactive, and John Machacek was just leaving. He paused in the US Bank Plaza to look back and watch dozens of grooving people, their shadows dancing in front the “The Abettor’s Letters” projected onto an interior wall.

“I remember looking up at Ecce and they had the windows open. Here’s a band playing, there were people and lights, and you could see their video game up on a wall so everyone could see a live demo,” said Machacek, the EDC’s senior vice president, finance and entrepreneurial development.

“It was just one of those cool, downtown Fargo moments.” It also was one of hundreds of moments the EDC has helped make possible in the past few years. These moments are the result of long-range thinking and personal attention that support Fargo’s hopping entrepreneurial ecosystem. Machacek helped Beach Interactive co-founder Kyle Weik when Weik was creating Fargo Game Makers, a group for aspiring game developers. Weik and his partner, Sarah English, had a launch party vision but limited funds to make it happen. Machacek reached out to his contacts; $10 and $20 donations started coming in. The EDC threw in about $100 and Eide Bailly covered costs over what others pitched in.

The social media that resulted that evening gave Beach Interactive much needed exposure and boosted Fargo Moorhead’s image across the country.

Supporting entrepreneurism has been our focus at the EDC for a long time, but Jim Gartin wanted a more a hands-on, individualized approach when he became president in 2012.

He made Machacek his frontman. The philosophy we’ve put into practice is best summarized in a 2015 Kauffman Foundation report: “If local governments wish to encourage entrepreneurship, it requires that those officials connect to entrepreneurs at the individual level and to entrepreneurs’ networks at the local level, a lengthy and time-intensive process.”

In other words, it takes one-on-one attention from someone who cares about people and their ideas. If it’s happening in Fargo-Moorhead and has something to do with nurturing new ideas, chances are the GFMEDC has had a hand in it at some point. Probably at several points.

Our work has covered everything from hardware/software development to video game programming, entrepreneurship competition sponsorships to student scholarships, and Startup Weekends to networking events. We also are a strong supporter of Emerging Prairie and its initiatives like the Prairie Den and 1 Million Cups.

Some people can develop their ideas to the point where we help them access programs like Innovate ND, tax credits for creating jobs and employee training. But often what’s needed is time over a cup of coffee, a sympathetic ear or an open contact list.

You never know where a new introduction or conversation is going to lead, Machacek says.

So the man known as “Johnny Mach” in certain circles keeps his door, his ears and his mind open. Little by little, handshake by handshake, and cuppa joe by cuppa joe, the entrepreneurial culture in Fargo Moorhead deepens, and those “cool Fargo moments” keep coming.

This story is part of the GFMEDC Annual Report, written by Martin Fredricks, Fredricks Communications.

Cool Fargo Moments, Long-Term, High-Touch Approach Generates Entrepreneurial Energy In FM

Lights, laughter and music spilled out of the open 2nd-floor windows of Ecce Art Gallery on a crisp April evening, bathing Broadway with gypsy jazz. It was the launch party for “The Abettor’s Letters,” a web-based interactive game for learning French created by Fargo startup Beach Interactive, and John Machacek was just leaving. He paused in the US Bank Plaza to look back and watch dozens of grooving people, their shadows dancing in front the “The Abettor’s Letters” projected onto an interior wall.

“I remember looking up at Ecce and they had the windows open. Here’s a band playing, there were people and lights, and you could see their video game up on a wall so everyone could see a live demo,” said Machacek, the EDC’s senior vice president, finance and entrepreneurial development.

“It was just one of those cool, downtown Fargo moments.” It also was one of hundreds of moments the EDC has helped make possible in the past few years. These moments are the result of long-range thinking and personal attention that support Fargo’s hopping entrepreneurial ecosystem. Machacek helped Beach Interactive co-founder Kyle Weik when Weik was creating Fargo Game Makers, a group for aspiring game developers. Weik and his partner, Sarah English, had a launch party vision but limited funds to make it happen. Machacek reached out to his contacts; $10 and $20 donations started coming in. The EDC threw in about $100 and Eide Bailly covered costs over what others pitched in.

The social media that resulted that evening gave Beach Interactive much needed exposure and boosted Fargo Moorhead’s image across the country.

Supporting entrepreneurism has been our focus at the EDC for a long time, but Jim Gartin wanted a more a hands-on, individualized approach when he became president in 2012.

He made Machacek his frontman. The philosophy we’ve put into practice is best summarized in a 2015 Kauffman Foundation report: “If local governments wish to encourage entrepreneurship, it requires that those officials connect to entrepreneurs at the individual level and to entrepreneurs’ networks at the local level, a lengthy and time-intensive process.”

In other words, it takes one-on-one attention from someone who cares about people and their ideas. If it’s happening in Fargo-Moorhead and has something to do with nurturing new ideas, chances are the GFMEDC has had a hand in it at some point. Probably at several points.

Our work has covered everything from hardware/software development to video game programming, entrepreneurship competition sponsorships to student scholarships, and Startup Weekends to networking events. We also are a strong supporter of Emerging Prairie and its initiatives like the Prairie Den and 1 Million Cups.

Some people can develop their ideas to the point where we help them access programs like Innovate ND, tax credits for creating jobs and employee training. But often what’s needed is time over a cup of coffee, a sympathetic ear or an open contact list.

You never know where a new introduction or conversation is going to lead, Machacek says.

So the man known as “Johnny Mach” in certain circles keeps his door, his ears and his mind open. Little by little, handshake by handshake, and cuppa joe by cuppa joe, the entrepreneurial culture in Fargo Moorhead deepens, and those “cool Fargo moments” keep coming.

This story is part of the GFMEDC Annual Report, written by Martin Fredricks, Fredricks Communications.

Regional Workforce Initiative Announces Priority Projects To Tackle The Region’s Employment Challenges

closer shot medium

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.

  1. Cultivate: Strengthen the pipeline of local talent to support employers in the region.
    1. Community 101 for college students
    2. Tiny Pulse for Talent Insights
    3. Winter Festival to “Embrace the Cold”
  2. Attract: Enhance and coordinate efforts to bring new talent to the region
    1. Friends and Family Campaign
    2. Talent Recruitment Services
    3. Trailing Spouse Network
  3. Build: Develop a framework for financial self-sufficiency and upward mobility for workers in low-wage and basic-skill jobs
    1. Nonprofit collaborative
    2. Affordable Housing Advocacy
    3. Employer-led childcare
  4. Innovate: Encourage the development of innovative solutions to address the region’s workforce-related challenges
    1. Technology Hackathon
    2. Social innovation challenge

closer shot medium

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:

Sanford Health
Minnesota State University Moorhead
City of West Fargo
Meinecke-Johnson Company
Forum Communications Company
Border States Electric
Essentia Health
Eide Bailly
American Crystal Sugar
North Dakota State University
Industrial Builders, Inc.
Trail King Industries, Inc.
Moorhead Economic Development Authority
North Dakota State College of Science
O’Day Equipment, LLC
Dakota Medical Foundation

Regional Workforce Initiative Announces Priority Projects To Tackle The Region’s Employment Challenges

closer shot medium

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.

  1. Cultivate: Strengthen the pipeline of local talent to support employers in the region.
    1. Community 101 for college students
    2. Tiny Pulse for Talent Insights
    3. Winter Festival to “Embrace the Cold”
  2. Attract: Enhance and coordinate efforts to bring new talent to the region
    1. Friends and Family Campaign
    2. Talent Recruitment Services
    3. Trailing Spouse Network
  3. Build: Develop a framework for financial self-sufficiency and upward mobility for workers in low-wage and basic-skill jobs
    1. Nonprofit collaborative
    2. Affordable Housing Advocacy
    3. Employer-led childcare
  4. Innovate: Encourage the development of innovative solutions to address the region’s workforce-related challenges
    1. Technology Hackathon
    2. Social innovation challenge

closer shot medium

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:

Sanford Health
Minnesota State University Moorhead
City of West Fargo
Meinecke-Johnson Company
Forum Communications Company
Border States Electric
Essentia Health
Eide Bailly
American Crystal Sugar
North Dakota State University
Industrial Builders, Inc.
Trail King Industries, Inc.
Moorhead Economic Development Authority
North Dakota State College of Science
O’Day Equipment, LLC
Dakota Medical Foundation

Inspiring Future Engineers: GFMEDC/NDSU Pilot Project Pairs K-12 Students With NDSU Engineering Students

115medium

“We’re going to play a really fun game today.”

Mackayla Headlee, a senior in electrical engineering at NDSU has spent the last couple months with nine second graders at Ed Clapp Elementary in Fargo. Headlee works with the students on projects that help advance classroom lessons. Headlee is one of two NDSU students from the College of Engineering who spend 30 minutes twice a week with small groups of students. Headlee and her counterpart help students learn to apply their current math content to examples representing real life situations.

The students use a process Headlee calls think, pair and share. The second graders think about the problem, pair up with a partner to talk about solutions and then share with the group. The process helps them learn to work together and see different ways to solve a problem.

“These are the same problem solving skills I use in college,” said Headlee.

The pilot program was started in 2015-2016 thanks to a collaboration among the GFMEDC, NDSU and Fargo Public Schools. Two engineering students are spending ten weeks at Ed Clapp teaching a total of 20 students who range from level one to five in terms of math competency. The GFMEDC is providing the college students’ stipends.

Along with inspiring the students to learn different ways to tackle math concepts (and hopefully to love math), the program aims to create pathways to careers like engineering. The NDSU students act as role models, sharing their love of math with the kids and planting the seed in their minds that they too can pursue STEM fields. This program has the potential to reach more students getting them excited about learning math from role models who use it in their everyday lives

115medium“I loved math and a big reason was because I saw how math could be applied to the real world,” said Headlee. With her grandfather and father as engineering role models, engineering was a natural choice for her.

The two engineering students also spent time at Fargo North helping in a mechanical engineering class.

Inspiring Future Engineers: GFMEDC/NDSU Pilot Project Pairs K-12 Students With NDSU Engineering Students

115medium

“We’re going to play a really fun game today.”

Mackayla Headlee, a senior in electrical engineering at NDSU has spent the last couple months with nine second graders at Ed Clapp Elementary in Fargo. Headlee works with the students on projects that help advance classroom lessons. Headlee is one of two NDSU students from the College of Engineering who spend 30 minutes twice a week with small groups of students. Headlee and her counterpart help students learn to apply their current math content to examples representing real life situations.

The students use a process Headlee calls think, pair and share. The second graders think about the problem, pair up with a partner to talk about solutions and then share with the group. The process helps them learn to work together and see different ways to solve a problem.

“These are the same problem solving skills I use in college,” said Headlee.

The pilot program was started in 2015-2016 thanks to a collaboration among the GFMEDC, NDSU and Fargo Public Schools. Two engineering students are spending ten weeks at Ed Clapp teaching a total of 20 students who range from level one to five in terms of math competency. The GFMEDC is providing the college students’ stipends.

Along with inspiring the students to learn different ways to tackle math concepts (and hopefully to love math), the program aims to create pathways to careers like engineering. The NDSU students act as role models, sharing their love of math with the kids and planting the seed in their minds that they too can pursue STEM fields. This program has the potential to reach more students getting them excited about learning math from role models who use it in their everyday lives

115medium“I loved math and a big reason was because I saw how math could be applied to the real world,” said Headlee. With her grandfather and father as engineering role models, engineering was a natural choice for her.

The two engineering students also spent time at Fargo North helping in a mechanical engineering class.