The North Dakota Department of Commerce announced today that the application window for the newly launched North Dakota Workforce Innovation Grant (NDWIG) will begin next Monday, Feb. 27, and end on March 24.
The goal of the NDWIG is to empower locally-led solutions and introduce innovation into the way North Dakota addresses its workforce challenges in a post-pandemic economy. Innovation may be demonstrated through community collaborations that broadly support workforce in one or more eligible industries, initiatives that support the in-migration of workers, offsetting costs for companies pursuing international talent attraction, hiring fairs in areas of high unemployment in North Dakota and throughout North America, and more. Companies must demonstrate the direct impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, including supply chain issues, and how grant dollars will be used to mitigate pandemic-related challenges moving forward.
“We know companies throughout the state are developing innovative solutions to address their workforce challenges and we’re proud to support those efforts,” Commerce Workforce Development Director Katie Ralston Howe said. “We’re seeing locally-led solutions impacting communities throughout the state and we look forward to seeing how this grant makes a difference for the private sector.”
Proposals for the NDWIG may fall into two tracks:
- Track A - Innovative, industry-led solutions to address the direct workforce needs of a single company or multiple companies. An applicant’s proposed solution must address immediate workforce challenges that were caused or exacerbated by the pandemic.
- Track B - Hiring events in new markets and/or areas of high unemployment throughout North America. Preference will be given to companies that are recruiting for in-demand jobs, based on the Workforce Development Council’s In-Demand Occupations list.
Eligible applicants may receive a minimum award of $25,000 to a maximum award of $250,000. All applicants must provide a dollar-for-dollar (1:1) match for each project using private sector funds.
New and existing projects that are underway and began after May 17, 2021, may qualify for this grant; however, grant funds cannot supplant an existing budget.
- Eligible applicants include the following North Dakota-based organizations:
- Private businesses.
- Economic development organizations (that run separately from city government).
- Industry-specific associations.
- Eligible industries for talent attraction and hiring events that include manufacturing, health care, tourism, energy, transportation and logistics, and child care.
- Projects must take place in North Dakota and support North Dakota businesses.
Commerce received funding for the NDWG through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) to provide support for innovative solutions for some of North Dakota’s most pressing workforce issues in industries that were hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic. The 67th Legislative Assembly allocated $2 million for this initiative during a special session of the Legislature in November 2021.