About 240 High School Students Get A Glimpse Of A Promising Career Option

_Students_1

More than 240 students recently got a firsthand look at what a career in manufacturing could look like.

$50,000 annual salary anyone?

Organized by the GFMEDC, students toured four of six companies that opened up their manufacturing floors for the one-day visitors.

For one Moorhead student, it was an opportunity to see an additional career option. The student enjoyed seeing the process at Caterpillar Reman.

“I just get a kick out of watching how this big equipment goes together.”

The tours were organized by the GFMEDC as part of a larger strategy to educate and inform students about the opportunities in the manufacturing industry. Students got a firsthand look at the careers and learned about the potential wages in manufacturing.

Companies that took part in the tours were: John Deere Electronic Solutions, Caterpillar Reman, Trail King Industries, Integrity Windows Aldevron and Appareo

Participating schools were West Fargo Public, Fargo Public, Oak Grove and Moorhead Area Public.

Smart Connections | Welcome Party

The Return on Investment (ROI) of a growing entrepreneurial ecosystem in Fargo Moorhead

There is a lot going on in the entrepreneurial environment in Fargo Moorhead. The EDC is pretty involved in connecting and supporting entrepreneurs and events here in the community.

How do you measure the ROI or Return on Investment to supporting an entrepreneurial ecosystem?

If you’re Neil Blanchard, founder of Profit Pros and recent speaker at 1 Million Cups Fargo, you measure it in numbers.

“The results of my speaking engagement at 1MC have been remarkable. I’ve had eleven appointments as a direct result of my presentation plus two referrals from audience members,” said Blanchard.

Blanchard breaks it down even further.
1 new client signed
6 potential clients in progress
4 great referral sources
2 new clients as a result of referrals from audience members

The Prairie Den is the coworking space that recently located in downtown Fargo (former CoCoFargo space). Emerging Prairie’s Annie Wood manages the space.

“By day, people are doing work that matters, having meetings, and moving projects forward. Then, in the evenings and on weekends, we are able to open up the Prairie Den as a gathering space for our community,” said Wood.

The Prairie Den has hosted several events including the Fargo Game Makers, the NDSU Innovation Fellows, Startup Drinks, a Game Jam, an E-Commerce Breakfast and a New American Entrepreneurs Panel.

There are many other gatherings and events happening.One recent event was the first TechTailgate. The event brought together several meetups and learning groups who could interact and share ideas. Read more about it on this blog.

The overall intent is to bring people together who can talk about their projects, get feedback, make important connections and push their ideas forward faster.

It’s hard to explain and can be even harder to quantify. But it’s working!

Fargo Moorhead is building an entrepreneurial ecosystem. The community is getting noticed by big hitters like the Kauffman Foundation out of Kansas City and the organizers of TED talks. And this is just the beginning.

The Return On Investment (ROI) Of A Growing Entrepreneurial Ecosystem In Fargo Moorhead

There is a lot going on in the entrepreneurial environment in Fargo Moorhead. The EDC is pretty involved in connecting and supporting entrepreneurs and events here in the community.

How do you measure the ROI or Return on Investment to supporting an entrepreneurial ecosystem?

If you’re Neil Blanchard, founder of Profit Pros and recent speaker at 1 Million Cups Fargo, you measure it in numbers.

“The results of my speaking engagement at 1MC have been remarkable. I’ve had eleven appointments as a direct result of my presentation plus two referrals from audience members,” said Blanchard.

Blanchard breaks it down even further.
1 new client signed
6 potential clients in progress
4 great referral sources
2 new clients as a result of referrals from audience members

The Prairie Den is the coworking space that recently located in downtown Fargo (former CoCoFargo space). Emerging Prairie’s Annie Wood manages the space.

“By day, people are doing work that matters, having meetings, and moving projects forward. Then, in the evenings and on weekends, we are able to open up the Prairie Den as a gathering space for our community,” said Wood.

The Prairie Den has hosted several events including the Fargo Game Makers, the NDSU Innovation Fellows, Startup Drinks, a Game Jam, an E-Commerce Breakfast and a New American Entrepreneurs Panel.

There are many other gatherings and events happening.One recent event was the first TechTailgate. The event brought together several meetups and learning groups who could interact and share ideas. Read more about it on this blog.

The overall intent is to bring people together who can talk about their projects, get feedback, make important connections and push their ideas forward faster.

It’s hard to explain and can be even harder to quantify. But it’s working!

Fargo Moorhead is building an entrepreneurial ecosystem. The community is getting noticed by big hitters like the Kauffman Foundation out of Kansas City and the organizers of TED talks. And this is just the beginning.

Education today, a documentary and the beginning of a discussion

Watchingdocumentary1

“Powerful.” The reaction from one local K-12 education leader who was among a group of education leaders who got a sneak peek at Ted Dintersmith’s documentary called “Most Likely to Succeed“. The documentary focuses on the current education system and examines the needs within the classroom. The film highlights High Tech High a school in California that uses an educational practice called project based learning.

The documentary continues a growing conversation focused on mainstream teaching practices versus newer education practices. What does that mean? There’s the current stand-and-deliver method of teaching or teaching to a test; it’s what we all know and remember. Then there’s a newer practice of education that incorporates what is called project-based learning (PBL). PBL focuses on one challenge or one project that forces students to work in a team to solve that problem. It turns teachers into coaches, integrates multiple subjects and challenges students to communicate, collaborate, think critically and be creative. It more closely reflects how people live and work. PBL allows teachers to meet standards through engaging projects and real, relevant problem solving.

From an educator’s perspective, the documentary represents “a visual of the things we’ve been talking about.”

About two years ago, the Greater FM EDC, the three public schools in West Fargo, Fargo and Moorhead as well as United Way of Cass Clay formed an initiative called Education that Works focused on ways to assist education in its effort to continue to make education more relevant in today’s world.

“We (Education that Works) have aspirational goals. This is affirmation,” Dr. David Flowers, Superintendent West Fargo Public Schools.

So why join us on September 17th to watch this documentary? Why will education, industry, economic development and hopefully, state legislators, and parents all be at this event?

Because this documentary sets the stage for our community to have a discussion. It’s a way to start the conversation and examine what education looks like today and its potential. It’s an opportunity to look at what is happening in our world and ask ourselves, is this enough? Are we doing enough for our students, our children and the future leaders of this nation?

“Don’t all kids deserve this?” Dr. Lynne Kovash, Superintendent, Moorhead Public Schools.

Join us September 17th 7:15 p.m. at the Fargo Theatre in downtown Fargo. Let’s start the conversation. We will be joined by Ted Dintersmith, producer/filmmaker. There will be a panel discussion after viewing the documentary. It’s free; you just need to register.

Sign up here

Education Today, A Documentary And The Beginning Of A Discussion

Watchingdocumentary1

“Powerful.” The reaction from one local K-12 education leader who was among a group of education leaders who got a sneak peek at Ted Dintersmith’s documentary called “Most Likely to Succeed“. The documentary focuses on the current education system and examines the needs within the classroom. The film highlights High Tech High a school in California that uses an educational practice called project based learning.

The documentary continues a growing conversation focused on mainstream teaching practices versus newer education practices. What does that mean? There’s the current stand-and-deliver method of teaching or teaching to a test; it’s what we all know and remember. Then there’s a newer practice of education that incorporates what is called project-based learning (PBL). PBL focuses on one challenge or one project that forces students to work in a team to solve that problem. It turns teachers into coaches, integrates multiple subjects and challenges students to communicate, collaborate, think critically and be creative. It more closely reflects how people live and work. PBL allows teachers to meet standards through engaging projects and real, relevant problem solving.

From an educator’s perspective, the documentary represents “a visual of the things we’ve been talking about.”

About two years ago, the Greater FM EDC, the three public schools in West Fargo, Fargo and Moorhead as well as United Way of Cass Clay formed an initiative called Education that Works focused on ways to assist education in its effort to continue to make education more relevant in today’s world.

“We (Education that Works) have aspirational goals. This is affirmation,” Dr. David Flowers, Superintendent West Fargo Public Schools.

So why join us on September 17th to watch this documentary? Why will education, industry, economic development and hopefully, state legislators, and parents all be at this event?

Because this documentary sets the stage for our community to have a discussion. It’s a way to start the conversation and examine what education looks like today and its potential. It’s an opportunity to look at what is happening in our world and ask ourselves, is this enough? Are we doing enough for our students, our children and the future leaders of this nation?

“Don’t all kids deserve this?” Dr. Lynne Kovash, Superintendent, Moorhead Public Schools.

Join us September 17th 7:15 p.m. at the Fargo Theatre in downtown Fargo. Let’s start the conversation. We will be joined by Ted Dintersmith, producer/filmmaker. There will be a panel discussion after viewing the documentary. It’s free; you just need to register.

Sign up here

U.S. Rep. Kevin Cramer meets with local startups as part of national initiative

Meeting with Cramer, Prairie Den

From lack of workforce to e-commerce sales tax regulations, twelve folks in the startup community and economic development met with U.S. Representative Kevin Cramer to talk about ways the federal government can support Fargo’s thriving entrepreneurial community.

Meeting in the Prairie Den, a co-working space in downtown Fargo, entrepreneurs like Clint Howitz, Founder and Pack leader of Dog ID’s, talked about the challenges and benefits to growing a business in the Fargo Moorhead community.

“E-commerce has huge potential for Fargo. You don’t need foot traffic,” said Howitz.

Howitz also echoed the challenge many across the table expressed, a lack of qualified workforce.

The meeting was put together as part of Startup Day Across America. The national initiative invites members of Congress to meet with startups to learn about the challenges new companies face.

While they may face many challenges, the group talked about the tremendous support system that has been building in the community and how folks come together to help each other out.

“Culture has been fostered in community, and it’s a very positive thing. The country could learn from Fargo,” said Jim Traynor, Intelligent InSites.

Traynor said they regularly encourage employees to get out and get involved in community events like 1 Million Cups.

“It’s a great time to be from North Dakota,” Rep. Cramer said, noting how oil extraction has put North Dakota on a national stage. “What are we doing in this moment on the stage?”

With 100-page report in hand, EDC and four regional organizations lead efforts to tackle workforce challenges

Jim workforce study results

The Greater Fargo Moorhead EDC and four local agencies have commissioned a study that lays out four action areas that could help ease the workforce shortage in the Fargo Moorhead MSA.

Six-months of research, surveys, focus groups and in-person interviews by TIP Strategies, a consulting firm based in Austin, Texas, have culminated in a 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 more than 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 mismatch between the skills that available workers have and the skills employers need. This is 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
  1. 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
  2. Innovate: Encourage the development of innovative solutions to address the region’s workforce-related challenges
    1. Technology Hackathon
    2. 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.

The Full Report

2015 Workforce Study Executive Summary

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

With 100-page report in hand, EDC and four regional organizations lead efforts to tackle workforce challenges

Jim workforce study results The Greater Fargo Moorhead EDC and four local agencies have commissioned a study  that lays out four action areas that could help ease the workforce shortage in the Fargo Moorhead MSA.

Six-months of research, surveys, focus groups and in-person interviews by TIP Strategies, a consulting firm based in Austin, Texas, have culminated in a 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 more than 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 mismatch between the skills that available workers have and the skills employers need. This is 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

 

  1. 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
  2. Innovate: Encourage the development of innovative solutions to address the region’s workforce-related challenges
    1. Technology Hackathon
    2. 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.

The Full Report

2015 Workforce Study Executive Summary

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

GFMEDC Annual Meeting Highlights Partnerships to Ignite our Economy

You could easily sum up the GFMEDC’s 2014 to partnerships that are “Igniting” (our annual report and meeting theme) economic activities. Our organization laid the foundation with plans and partnerships to evaluate our current situation as well to build upon synergies and create solutions to our largest challenges.

So let’s get into the nitty gritty.

First, our organization stepped back and hired Fourth Economy consulting firm to take a look at what’s currently happening in our regional economy as well as what our investors expect from the GFMEDC. What’s changed? What’s working? What can we build upon to keep this economic fire going?

After research, interviews, focus groups and surveys, we created the Cass Clay Strategic Plan. Now sitting on all our desks is a five-year roadmap focused on five priorities. The plan focuses on the following: talent attraction; higher education and STEM education; an advocacy agenda while communicating economic impact; leverage existing and emerging regional industry base for business retention and expansion and startups and finally, strategies to help foster the growing entrepreneurial ecosystem. For the entire report, click here!

On to a workforce study. The GFMEDC has partnered with the Chamber, United Way of Cass Clay, FM Area Foundation and FM CVB (along with several sponsors) to begin a workforce study.

If you are wondering why we need a workforce study, here’s a quick snapshot. We consistently boast a very low unemployment rate, we have a large number of open jobs. Companies need to be able to hire adequate numbers (as well as qualified) of employees not only to get their current projects done but to take on more projects. In some cases, hiring adequate staff would actually lead to more growth.

The workforce study will be completed in June and will give us a plan to collectively tackle workforce challenges impeding growth.

The Valley Prosperity Partnership is a large regional initiative that brings together 26 leaders from across the Red River Valley in North Dakota and Minnesota. Six initiatives focus on actionable items to benefit the whole region from Wahpeton to Grand Forks and everything in between. The VPP has tackled water security, workforce and research so far and has already had an impact during the North Dakota legislative session.

Education that Works is an initiative we started two years ago focused on ways to support alignment of K-12 education and the workforce. How can we support partnerships and initiatives that lead to students who are better prepared for the workforce. The group is tackling three initiatives: accelerated professional development for teachers, working with higher education to prepare tomorrow’s educators differently and communicating 21st century skill developments with teachers, parents and the business community.

And at the same time, the GFMEDC is doing things, lots of things.

L83A0145Manufacturing tours expose high school students to the high tech world of manufacturing. Teachers in Industry turns teachers into students for four weeks each summer. Sector summits bring education and specific sectors together to enhance synergies and to uncover challenges to growth. Business Retention and Expansion meetings connect businesses to resources they need. Marketing efforts elevate the stories of the good things and great people here in the FM Metro, giving outside folks a glimpse of what it’s really like to live and work here. And that’s not all but we’re getting a little long winded so check out our website, www.smartmovefm.com for more!

Now get out there and tell folks why you love living and working in the metro. Fire up! :-)