Grand Forks is one of eight North Dakota communities selected to receive funding from the North Dakota Department of Commerce’s Main Street Initiative Partners in Planning (MSI PiP) Grant. The Grand Forks Region Economic Development Corporation (EDC) was awarded $15,600 to analyze the availability of workforce programming in the region, including the need for a Career and Technical Education (CTE) Workforce Development Center.
The EDC worked with Grand Forks Public Schools (GFPS) to create a steering committee comprised of K-12 and postsecondary educational leaders, as well as regional industry executives. EDC President and CEO Keith Lund, EDC Workforce Development Manager Becca Cruger, and GFPS CTE Director Eric Ripley will provide staff support and leadership throughout the process. Praxis Strategy group will help facilitate steering committee engagement, workforce analysis, and industry surveying.
In a CTE workforce development center model, regional industry works with K-12 and higher education to promote high-value careers and create pathways for success. The Grand Forks CTE Workforce Center would work to introduce K-12 students to high-demand careers in the Grand Forks region, allowing them to explore and prepare for job opportunities with hands-on training while in high school.
“Many high school students might not be aware of career opportunity that exists right here in Grand Forks,” said EDC Workforce Development Manager Becca Cruger. “For example, with the rise of unmanned and autonomous systems in our region, there are emerging careers like cybersecurity, computer science, and agricultural technology that never existed before. We want to help students understand the exciting opportunities in our region and the roadmap to achieve success in their chosen career.”
The MSI PiP Grant program supports nonprofit organizations and local governments with grant options for economic development/diversification strategic plans. The plan must address at least one of the three pillars of Main Street Initiative: 21st century workforce; smart, efficient infrastructure; and healthy, vibrant communities.