Fueling Our Future (FOF) leadership has been busy at work since the initial kickoff in May 2019. Following our pillars of People, Prosperity, and Place, our Governance Board has dedicated resources to various priorities identified in our kick-off program of work. Below are some updates on our progress.
Our region’s newest workforce initiative and is designed to drive continued success for our business community. Through the combination of a regional relationship development strategy and a robust technology platform, Ignite FMWF is a community-based approach to developing an exceptional workforce and talent infrastructure. With this fully integrated workforce system of awareness, exploration, training and development, our businesses will be able to meaningfully engage with their current and future talent pipelines.
Building Inclusive and Equitable Workplaces
The FOF board, showing their commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion across our region, brought to our community a no-cost, open to the public educational series aimed at business leaders and employers as their organizations move down the path of becoming more diverse, equitable and inclusive. In partnership with Kira Kimball at Marsh & McLennan Agency, The Chamber launched Building Inclusive & Equitable Workplaces, a six-part series running from September to November 2020, which resulted in 430 registered participants. If you didn’t have a chance to tune in live, all of the recordings can be found at fmwfchamber.com/diversity-training. Encourage a co-worker our friend to check them out too!
Workforce Exposure Initiatives
One of the greatest priorities we have heard from our busines community is workforce. With this in mind, The Chamber’s Education committee proposed and received a grant from FOF, which in part, is focused on launching an internship development series. Building Successful Internship Programs, a training series offered for businesses to build, grow or enhance their internship programs, launched in January 2021. This nine-week virtual series taught through small group conversation, data-driven analysis and guided video sessions is led by Chamber staff and Intern Bridge CEO Dr. Robert Shindell. Check out The Chamber’s website at fmwfchamber.com/internship-development for more information.
Emerging Digital Academy
Emerging Digital Academy, North Dakota’s only immersive coding bootcamp, is up and running with two cohorts already graduated. This full stack engineering program is an immersive 20-week course teaching concepts of coding, software design and how to use cutting edge software tools to build modern web apps. During a time of digital transformation, graduates of this program will be well equipped to fill the growing need of skilled software developers. More information and applications can be found online at emergingacademy.org/admissions.
Career Workforce Academies
Career Workforce Academies continue to be a FOF priority due to their strong link to solving some of our area’s workforce issues. Early on, FOF dedicated resources to the “Yes for Moorhead” volunteer support group to help get the 2019 Bond Referendum passed as it included plans for a Moorhead Career Academy. The referendum passed with overwhelming support. FOF continues open lines of communication with Moorhead Public Schools on progress and academic programs. On the Cass County Career Academy project, we messaged the importance of the initiative to the Cass County Commission as they considered public support. We also dedicated resources to its success and continue to have conversations, moving this project to the finish line. Both of these Academies will serve as long-term solutions to helping alleviate our regional workforce shortage.
Campus FM is an initiative to grow FM Area workforce capacity and capability by retaining college students in the Metro area. Campus FM follows the collective impact philosophy, a philosophy aimed at coordinating previously unconnected efforts to maximize each of their end results. Campus FM will serve as an initiative to converge the work already being done to engage students, systemizing student engagement. Campus FM is currently in the coalition-building and context discovery phase. Folkways and The Arts Partnership have been hired to coordinate a network of student engagement professionals, bringing to the table staff focused on student engagement from Fargo-Moorhead’s universities and colleges. Next steps include the creation of networks within the business community, and the development of an index to serve as a leading indicator for student engagement within the Metro.
One of the early initiatives that FOF supported was Document-Ready Sites. FOF hosted national site location consultant, Phil Schneider, to begin the process of establishing the region and State of North Dakota’s first document-ready sites program. This initiative focuses on recruiting businesses to our region as well as giving existing companies a place to expand. These sites have much of the planning, zoning, surveys, title work, environmental studies, etc. already completed. The more technical reports completed, the higher the document-ready certification - Platinum, Gold, Silver or Bronze.
January 19, 2022, marked the launch of the first two document-ready sites in our community:
Moorhead's MCCARA site | 197 acres | Platinum level | South of I-94 on HWY 52 in Moorhead.
Fargo's Holmquist site | 111 acres | Silver level | 37th St N and 52nd Ave N