October 8, 2021

Career Impact Academy Announces Significant Investments Including $1 Million Commitment from Altru

The Career Impact Academy announces a $1 million commitment from Altru Health System to support development of the career and technical education center in Grand Forks. Other commitments include $100,000 from True North Equipment, $50,000 from JLG Architects, and $500,000 from the Grand Forks Region Economic Development Corporation (EDC). The donations will be used to unlock matching grant dollars up to $10 million that’s available from the North Dakota State Department of Career and Technical Education.

“As one of the region’s largest employers, we are excited about the potential of the CIA to serve as a robust pipeline for future employees in a number of different fields, as well as a resource for continuing education and skills development, shared Kristi Hall-Jiran, Altru’s Chief Philanthropy and Partnership Officer.  “Further, we know the CIA will contribute to the overall economic engine of our community and region and are pleased to support this important economic development opportunity.”

The Career Impact Academy will provide learners with real-world, hands-on learning spaces to explore high-wage, in-demand career fields in the Grand Forks region. The Academy will offer students specialized training, allowing them to become career ready or college prepared. The commitments of investments continue to gain momentum from local businesses and organizations including $100,000 from True North Equipment and $50,000 from JLG Architects.

“One of the greatest factors in determining the success and growth of a business is the people behind it.  An intentional approach to talent development is essential and the Career Impact Academy will play a key role in exposing students to great career opportunities that exist in our community and our region,” said John Oncken, CEO and co-founder of True North Equipment. “It is my belief, that our investment sets the stage for a landmark success of the Career Impact Academy now and for future generations ahead.”

Mike McLean, principal architect at JLG Architects, also sees the value of their donation. “At JLG, we build community – and what better way to help our community thrive than by supporting forward-thinking, collaborative education for the future workforce in our region. This donation furthers our commitment to the students of the Grand Forks community, and to our region’s future,” he said.

The Grand Forks Region EDC board of directors unanimously approved a $500,000 investment in the Career Impact Academy at their Thursday, October 7 board meeting. Split from two sources, $250,000 will be invested from EDC reserves and $250,000 will be invested from the EDC’s foundation, the Grand Forks Development Foundation.

“The EDC’s mission is to expand economic opportunity in the Grand Forks region through industry growth. Workforce shortages are one of the largest factors that limits our growth, so we see the Career Impact Academy as aligning perfectly with our goals and investments for the future. We are proud to support this important community priority,” said Jonathan Holth, EDC Board Chair.

Once operational, the Career Impact Academy will offer career programming to both high school and adult learners. One example of this will be the array of medical field training available. High schoolers participating in the Career Impact Academy will be able to complete their high school diploma while obtaining credentials like CPR certification, or credits toward a college degree or certificate. Participating post-secondary institutions will provide training pathways, certifications, and degree programs for adult learners. Similar pathways will be created in the construction, building trades, precision agriculture technology, advanced manufacturing, engineering, unmanned systems, computer science career fields, and more.

“The Career Impact Academy will have a profound impact on workforce development for decades to come and we are so grateful to these organizations’ commitment to support the future of our region. Once again, they have come to the table to support our community’s needs,” said Keith Lund, President and CEO of Grand Forks Region Economic Development Corporation.

A steering committee comprised of leaders from regional public entities, educational institutions, and industry leaders have been developing a grant application to seek $10 million dollars in funding to support capital costs needed to build the Career Impact Academy. Grant funds must be matched locally on a $1 per $1 basis and can include cash or in-kind contributions. The application will be submitted to the state by December 1, 2021.

The Career Impact Academy team is currently hosting industry listening sessions and public engagement sessions to refine final program development and site design, as well as seeking industry support for the required financial match. More information about the Career Impact Academy can be found at GrandForks.org/CareerImpactAcademy.

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