Dakota Download Governor Burgum's Weekly Update - September 21, 2018

West Fargo hosts Main Street Initiative tour

Governor Doug Burgum met with city officials and community leaders in West Fargo on Friday for the latest stop on the administration's Main Street Initiative tour.

The visit comes as part of the administration's commitment to visit every town that signs up to become a Main Street community. Burgum, along with team members from the North Dakota Department of Commerce, took part in a tour of the city and participated in a roundtable aimed at highlighting the work being done to create a healthy, vibrant city.

During the visit, Burgum lauded the city for its ongoing work and expressed the need to create cities where people want to live in order to fill the state's thousands open jobs.

"West Fargo is doing a lot of the smart things that we really would aspire to in our Main Street communities. They're addressing how they approach development in a way that helps keep the cost down (and) keep the property taxes down, which makes it affordable for everyone, which helps us solve our workforce challenge."

More than 50 cities around the state have expressed interest in becoming Main Street communities.

Governor Burgum and students from West Fargo High School and Sheyenne High School

Governor urges focus on quality of life to address workforce

Gov. Burgum on Thursday challenged attendees at the Governor’s Workforce and Human Resources Conference to get engaged in building great communities and invest in quality of life to attract and retain residents who can help solve North Dakota’s workforce shortage – the state’s No. 1 barrier to economic growth.

Burgum delivered the closing remarks at the three-day conference, which drew more than 500 HR professionals and others who heard from keynote speakers and trainers on workforce development and training, employee recruitment and retention and HR policies.

Job Service North Dakota reported nearly 14,500 online job openings in August, though Burgum estimated the actual figure is likely twice that or higher. He cited the importance of building a strong workplace culture and creating healthy, vibrant communities with smart, efficient infrastructure to attract a 21st century workforce – pillars of the administration’s Main Street Initiative.

The governor also shared results from a recent employer survey that found 28 percent of job openings are going unfilled for longer than three months. The North Dakota Workforce Development Council is expected to deliver recommendations in October on how to address workforce challenges.

First Lady highlights importance of recovery to solve workforce shortage

First Lady Kathryn Helgaas Burgum presented on Reinventing Recovery in North Dakota before a group of human resources professionals at the Governor’s Workforce and Human Resources Conference on Wednesday. The First Lady, calling upon her experience working in human resources over her 25-year career, emphasized that North Dakota’s workforce and human resources leaders play a critical role in creating a workplace culture that supports and celebrates recovery.

Throughout the talk, Helgaas Burgum shared her own story of recovery, the state of stigma in North Dakota and how employers and human resources professionals can more effectively support their employees by recommending treatment and recovery resources, talking with their employees about addiction and taking steps to eliminate the stigma of addiction at work.

Community development funds to improve main streets, public facilities and services

Gov. Burgum, in partnership with the North Dakota Department of Commerce, has announced an expanded community development program aimed at improving main streets, public facilities and services.

More than $2.3 million in federal funds, provided through the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), will be distributed to benefit community and economic development throughout North Dakota. At least $500,000 of the $2.3 million will be utilized to support the North Dakota Main Street Initiative by promoting livable communities, addressing unmet community development needs and promoting activities that enhance local economic development efforts.

“We encourage communities to apply for these funds for projects that will strengthen our state’s economy and help create healthy, vibrant communities that can attract and retain a 21st century workforce," Burgum said.

Funds will be made available to rehabilitate building exteriors or make other exterior improvements. Public facility projects could include the acquisition, construction, reconstruction or installation of public works, facilities or other improvements. Public services funds, in the form of operational costs, will be made available to existing and new agencies that support programs related to addiction and recovery.

Sanford welcomes, thanks firefighters at national conference

Lt. Governor Brent Sanford welcomed volunteer firefighters from around the country to the National Volunteer Fire Council's annual fall meeting in Bismarck on Wednesday. Volunteer fire departments from 25 states were represented at the conferece.

During his welcome, Sanford thanked attendees for their dedication to public safety and touched on his experience as mayor of Watford City and the important role the city's all-volunteer department played in keeping the city safe during its period of rapid growth.

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