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Community Development

Supporting a Strategy that Attracts Talent and Builds a Strong Community

One of the EDC’s top priorities continues to be supporting workforce development, specifically recruitment and retention. Through our programs, we assist and compliment what companies are already doing. And we work hard to dispel myths and misperceptions of candidates considering a move to the metro.   

Our work intersects with company efforts and also with partners locally, regionally and at the state and federal levels. Successful community building takes collaboration and trust. This region is known for rolling up it’s sleeves and getting things done, whether its a marketing campaign, a resource to support quality of life or advocating for public policies that support our community. And we’re building a community with an exceptional quality of life that attracts workforce.

We’ve developed very strategic workforce tools that are helping our companies to recruit and retain the critical workforce they need. (and make the words “attract and retain” links to each of the subsections within the Community Development page.

Master Talent Plan

“In 2022 the top issue for measuring regional competitiveness is whether employers can find enough workers with the right skills. I have been involved in economic development for 40 years and I have never seen an issue dominate investment decisions the way workforce does today. Every region has begun to understand that success in the future depends on the community’s ability to train, retrain, retain and attract talent,” Ted Abernathy

In June 2021, the GFMEDC and the Chamber (through their Fueling Our Future partnership) hosted a leadership retreat to educate more than 120 regional leaders on critical community and economic development factors impacting our regional economy. During this day-long event, the most pressing concern that emerged was the workforce challenges facing the region. Acting quickly, the Chamber and EDC engaged nationally recognized workforce development consultants, Casey Steinbacher and Ted Abernathy, to conduct a Master Talent Strategy for the FM region. In November, Casey and Ted met with nearly 100 company and non-profit leaders, to gather input for the creation of the talent plan. The plan is expected to be completed in early 2022, but the EDC and Chamber are already working with other regional and state sponsors on programming that will seek matching private and public funding.

As these regional plans come together, please check out a sample of the various tools already being utilized to support our companies in their efforts to attract and retain the workforce they need:

Public Policy 

Effective public policy supports regional community development. Creating supportive policies requires good information backed by solid data.

In 2021, we conducted nearly 150 strategic conversations with business executives that gave us a clear picture of primary-sector business health and what’s needed to support a business-friendly environment. With sound data in hand, we were able to work with various partners, such as the FMWF Chamber, to advocate for specific legislation at the state level. One example was our testimony at the North Dakota Legislature to support the continuation of the LIFT Program, which supports new innovative technology development by existing companies and ones we helped recruit to the region.

In addition to the leadership role the FMWF Chamber plays with public policy for the Greater Fargo Moorhead region, the EDC continues to partner with the Grand Forks EDC and dozens of Red River Valley business leaders to support public policy issues via the Valley Prosperity Partnership. Head to our Partnerships Section to see more details on this important work the last legislative session.

Data to Inform Federal Decisions

The EDC often supports partners and local officials with data and information needs with a robust set of data tools.

In 2021, county and federal public leaders needed information and data to support the FM Diversion Project in Washington D.C.  

Our organization provided a 14-page report highlighting the diversion project’s regional economy and economic impact. Specifically, we provided data related to workforce, tax and commuter data to illustrate regional primary-sector companies’ impact including the state income generated and migration of talent for work into the region.

The report also included data on the recent economic success of large primary-sector projects, like Aldevron and Amazon, underscoring the importance of long-term flood protection.     

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