According to the latest statistics from Job Service North Dakota, there a combined 2,177 job openings between Burleigh and Morton Counties. That coupled with an unemployment rate below 3.0% means that one of our business community’s biggest challenges remains workforce. As organizations, we believe that we have two ways to approach this issue:
So how do we start by retaining the talent we already have? We can start by trying to create meaningful work experiences for those students so that they become engrained in our workforce and our area employers. One effort that is helping us do that is the BMDA’s Job Shadow Week where each February, we seek to place as many high school and college students in two and four-hour job shadows to give them a glimpse of what that occupation and employer are really like. It is our hope that a job shadow can not only help focus that student’s career path, but potentially lead to a longer-term internship and ultimately, a full-time job here in Bismarck-Mandan. We’re also trying to educate those educators who are with those students every day via our Educators Summer Workshop. This is a week-long program where we place a group of area educators in various places of employment to learn directly from those employers the skills, education, etc. they’re looking for and then take those lessons back into the classroom.
To coordinate these efforts however, we need a full-time focus and we don’t have that ability at the BMDA as those workforce-related duties have traditionally been assigned to a position also responsible for the organization’s marketing and publications. Furthermore, the Chamber has not traditionally facilitated workforce development efforts like those mentioned above. However, by leveraging the resources of both the BMDA and Chamber, those marketing and publication responsibilities can be reallocated to other Staff or potentially a new position. This would then allow the existing workforce and marketing position to be focused full-time to workforce-related efforts, developing relationships with our partners in education and developing even more workforce development programming. By having a position dedicated solely to workforce-related efforts, we are in a position to better meet the needs of our business community and that’s just one more example of why we believe the BMDA / Chamber Restructure is in the best interests of all involved.
Update on the Restructure Process
A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) will be presented to both organizations’ Board of Directors at their September meetings. Should the MOU be approved, it would be forwarded along with a Plan of Merger to the Attorney General’s office to start the legal process of merging the two organizations. That same Plan of Merger will also be sent to all BMDA & Chamber members along with additional information regarding next steps. We also continue to work on developing the new organization’s name, logo and brand with the help of KK BOLD who recently conducted an electronic survey and series of focus groups. The results of those efforts will now be taken into account as KK BOLD begins the creative process of developing that name, logo and brand.
If you ever have any questions, please do not hesitate to get ahold of me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or (701) 222-5530. You can also find previous editions of the BMDA / Chamber Restructure Series at http://bmda.org/news/
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