Business Leaders Say Attracting Workers is Biggest Economic Challenge

The Regional Workforce Study finds that adding qualified workers is essential to maintain the region's economic growth

FARGO, N.D. — A group of Fargo–Moorhead community organizations released their study on workforce development.

The Economic Development Corporation says there’s a growing gap between open jobs and qualified workers.

The F–M area has been identified as having one of the lowest unemployment rates in the nation and one of the best places to find a job.

However, qualified workers haven’t moved to the area as fast as jobs are being created.

A study was commissioned to find out why workers weren’t relocating to the area and find ways to change things.

“We understood certain things,” said Jim Gartin, President of the Economic Development Corporation, “but unless we did the study we wouldn’t understand all the nuances that it would take and that’s why the study was done, to really have a better understanding of what the issues really were so we could hopefully try to correct them.”

The region’s economy has been growing as of late, and biggest challenge to keep that growth going is to find enough workers to fill those vacant job openings.

An employer who can’t find qualified workers in an area could take those jobs elsewhere.

“If a manufacturer can’t find people to do it to do the work, they can’t automate fast enough or they can’t find the people, they’re going to take that production line and put it somewhere else,” said Gartin.

The study found that having recreational opportunities in a community is the biggest asset in turning visitors into potential workers.

“You need things to do and we want to make sure that people understand that we have things to do,” said Charley Johnson, President of the Convention & Visitors Bureau.  “We have great amenities in this community from top to bottom.  We’ve got the Fargodome, which brings all sorts of entertainment in to town.  We have a number of wonderful attractions.”

Business leaders say that if the region can bring in enough qualified workers that the economy could grow for many years to come.

The Regional Workforce Study was commissioned by five community organizations including the United Way of Cass–Clay, the Chamber and the FM Area Foundation.

The full Regional Workplace Study can be found here.

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