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North Dakota workforce initiative focuses on personal connections to bring newcomers to state

One of the starting points for newcomers is a pre-existing online portal promoting North Dakota called findthegoodlife.com.

Screenshot 2022-06-23 130655.jpg
An online portal helps prospective North Dakota residents connect with jobs and communities.
Image: North Dakota Department of Commerce
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FARGO — Organizers of a new North Dakota workforce initiative say it has a special ingredient other initiatives haven't had — an emphasis on making personal connections to convince newcomers to put down roots.

To that end, more than 50 "community champions" across North Dakota have committed to helping guide newcomers to the state.

That's according to Winona Dimeo-Ediger and Tim Carty, founders of a national talent attraction agency called RoleCall, which is teaming with the North Dakota Department of Commerce to promote the new initiative.

Dimeo-Ediger and Carty outlined the initiative in an online presentation Thursday, June 23.

They said one of the starting points is a pre-existing online portal promoting North Dakota called findthegoodlife.com , where people have traditionally gone to find out more about what the state has to offer.

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The difference now, according to Dimeo-Ediger and Carty, is that when people land on the website they are quickly encouraged via a "relocation help desk" to tell North Dakota officials about themselves and what their hopes and plans are for the future.

That information will now be used to connect website visitors to actual human beings who will then work to engage newcomers with potential employers, volunteer opportunities, and simple human connections.

"People need real assistance and they need it to be personal. It's really hard to move somewhere you don't know anyone," Dimeo-Ediger said.

And people in North Dakota are stepping up to provide that personal connection, according to Katie Ralston Howe, commerce workforce director for North Dakota.

"People across the state are buying into this concept and have committed to investing their time and community connections to support jobseekers who are considering North Dakota," Howe said.

Community champions include community leaders as well as economic development and job service officials.

North Dakota is the first state in the country to approach talent attraction in a personalized way, according to Dimeo-Ediger.

"The combination of technical infrastructure and real local connections to pave the way for newcomers to the state is truly the future of talent attraction," Dimeo-Ediger said.

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"Every city and state in the country is competing for talent right now. North Dakota was the one to step out in front and do something about it," she added.

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