Photo by Hillary Ehlen
Jobs. Is there a more buzzword in politics these days? No matter how divisive things become, there is one thing that all politicians and political parties can agree on: Jobs are a good thing. If that is the case, the FM area is the land of milk and honey. As we’re about to explore, Job Service, a state entity dedicated to examining and improving the job market for the public and businesses, has their finger on the pulse on how things are going in the job market. That’s why we talked to Carey Fry, the Workforce Center Manager in Fargo for Job Service about the numbers behind the jobs in Fargo-Moorhead.
In 2015, a workforce study was conducted in the Fargo-Moorhead area and discovered that, at the time, there were 6,700 current job openings and in the next five years, that number was projected to increase to 30,000.
“Workforce is a national problem, so Fargo-Moorhead is competing with the rest of the nation for qualified workers. Fargo-Moorhead has done a fantastic job of addressing this issue. Starting with a comprehensive workforce study that was initiated by the GFMEDC, but completed in conjunction with many community entities a few years back. Since that time, work has been done to improve our community’s ability to attract, grow and retain the workforce.
“Examples include creating a community that is an attractive and fun place to live and work. Fargo’s Frostival event, which takes a stab at showing off the fun in Fargo-Moorhead’s winters is one example. Another example is growing a pipeline of workers from our local k-12 students and keeping them here after they graduate through programs like manufacturing day, an event held each October with the FM schools to introduce students to good careers in the manufacturing industry. Additional work has been done in the areas of expanding childcare, creating affordable housing and retaining college students.” – Carey Fry
While many industries are seeing growth, there are a select few that continue to see the quickest growth. However, according to Fry, there is one occupation that stands out above all the rest: registered nurses.
“In healthcare, there’s such an overwhelming need for all of healthcare, but, specifically, registered nurses. Not just Fargo-Moorhead is facing that but if you drove down to Kansas City, the same thing would be going on. That’s nationwide. The new construction at Essentia and Sanford definitely add on to that.
“I have a child in high school right now and if I could get her to go and become a registered nurse, I would be super happy because I’d know she’d have a good job for long term. It would be an awesome career choice for her. Will she listen to me? Probably not. That’s where I would steer a youngster.” – Carey Fry
Upward mobility is defined as going from one social class to another. For example, if you start as an LPN but work your way up to an RN or to a management role, that is defined as upward mobility. Historically, this hasn’t been tracked through Job Service, but Fry is excited that the state of North Dakota has started tracking that information.
“We are currently not tracking upward mobility. One thing that we’ve recently started tracking though is college graduates in the state of North Dakota. Where do they go? Do they stay in that field? How much are they earning? … That kind of gives us an idea. Let’s say that somebody graduates from NDSCS with an LPN. We started tracking this last year. Three years from now, we can see, is this person still an LPN or is this person an RN or doing something completely different? … There’s always been such an outmigration from North Dakota. We have great schools, we train people and then, a lot of times, they leave. At some point, they sometimes come back. It will be interesting to see where they go, if they come back, what they’re doing. I’m looking forward to that data.” – Carey Fry
We could fill a whole magazine with all the different resources that Job Service offers but below is a small sampling of things, as well as some other resources through different organizations.
“Anybody who is looking for any kind of assistance with career or employment should come to Job Service. At the same time, any business that’s looking for employees should definitely connect with Job Service. We have the largest database of jobs in the state of North Dakota. We can spider in from every other website out there. Even if an employer doesn’t directly post on our website, we’re spidering in those jobs that are posted on their individual websites and other job banks. That’s a huge plus for both applicants, the general public who are looking for a job or a different job and then businesses that are looking for employees.
“One thing that I always keep in mind is that we are trying to do good things for the community as a whole, be that bridge between employers and employees and get them together so we can be a resource for everybody when it comes to employment.” – Carey Fry
Cass County’s 10 largest employers
- Sanford Health
- North Dakota State University
- Noridian Mutual Insurance Company
- Fargo Public School
- Essentia Health
- City of Fargo
- US Bank
- West Fargo Public School District
- VA Medical Center