Regional Workforce Study

The FM Area Foundation continues its work with the Workforce Study Collaborative leading efforts along with The Fargo Moorhead West Fargo Chamber of Commerce, Greater Fargo Moorhead Economic Development Corporation, United Way of Cass-Clay, and the Fargo-Moorhead Convention and Visitor’s Bureau to commission a comprehensive study regarding workforce development, training, recruitment, and attainment in our region.

After six months of research, surveys, focus groups and in-person interviews, a 100-page report was prepared by TIP Strategies, a consulting firm based in Austin, Texas. The study found there are currently over 6,700 job openings in the Fargo-Moorhead region, and within the next five years, that number is projected to grow to more than 30,000 openings. Close to half of those are low-paying jobs that make it difficult for workers to cover the cost of child care, transportation and housing.

To strengthen the regional workforce system, the study outlined a strategic framework and priority projects in the areas of:

Cultivate: Strengthen the pipeline of local talent to support employers in the region.

Attract: Enhance and coordinate efforts to bring new talent to the region.

Build: Develop a framework for financial self-sufficiency and upward mobility for workers in low-wage and basic-skill jobs.

Innovate: Encourage the development of innovative solutions to address the region’s workforce-related challenges.

Within the next three to five years, the five lead organizations will drive implementation of the four strategies and evaluate progress strengthening our workforce system.

Build Committee Update

Committees, made up of volunteers, were created for each of the four areas to build on ideas set forth within the report. The FM Area Foundation and United Way of Cass-Clay co-led the Build committee. The FM Area Foundation’s involvement in this project goes beyond hiring and bringing people into the community. Of equal or greater interest is the need to look into social issues that factor into the situation, like quality childcare and affordable housing.

The FM Area Foundation has pledged significant financial support to the Cass Clay Community Land Trust (CCCLT). The new CCCLT board is engaging Burlington Associates, a well-known community development organization specializing in land trusts, to assist with this process.

According to, "Community land trusts are nonprofit, community-based organizations designed to ensure community stewardship of land. Community land trusts engage in many types of development (including commercial and retail) but are primarily focused on ensuring long-term housing affordability."

Presentations explaining the land trust have been made to governmental entities in both counties to promote a coordinated utilization of this tool.  

Essentia Health is performing a comprehensive two-county housing needs study that will be distributed to any interested stakeholder.