Gov. Doug Burgum today welcomed U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta to North Dakota, highlighting efforts to address the state’s workforce shortage and other topics. Acosta was making his first visit to North Dakota as Labor Secretary at the invitation of U.S. Sen. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D.
During a roundtable discussion at North Dakota State College of Science in Fargo, Burgum noted Job Service North Dakota has over 14,000 online job openings and the actual number of available jobs is likely twice that amount.
“Our workforce shortage is the No. 1 barrier to economic growth in North Dakota, and we’re grateful to Secretary Acosta for taking the time to visit our state and hear first-hand about our challenges and the steps we’re pursuing to address them through the Workforce Development Council, legislation and other measures,” Burgum said.
Burgum revitalized the Workforce Development Council and commissioned a statewide employer survey to identify barriers to filling job openings. As a result, the council developed an extensive report with more than 30 recommendations, several of which were proposed in the governor’s executive budget recommendation for 2019-2021, including $30 million for career academies to help move youth into the workforce and lower the cost of college and exempting military retirement pay to make North Dakota a more military-friendly state. The governor also has supported expanding reciprocity with other states for professional licenses to streamline transitioning into the workforce.
In addition to the meeting on workforce at NDSCS in Fargo, Burgum joined Acosta for a roundtable discussion on associated health plans and met with the secretary and tribal college presidents at United Tribes Technical College in Bismarck to discuss technical training at tribal colleges and Indian Country’s current and future workforce needs.