Community collaboration, immigration reform key to easing FM worker shortage, expert says – InForum

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FARGO — A consultant who helps officials in the Fargo-Moorhead area find solutions to the region’s labor shortage said Monday, July 25, the often “messy” collaborative process will be key to solving labor needs.

In addition, comprehensive immigration reform is needed to fill local and nationwide jobs that are going unfilled, according to Ted Abernathy, managing partner at Economic Leadership, a national consulting group.

“We need immigration reform, and we really need it,” Abernathy said at an event hosted by the Fargo Moorhead West Fargo Chamber of Commerce at North Dakota State University. .

He said factors fueling the nationwide labor shortage include the high cost of childcare, which has prompted many women to decide staying at home makes more sense than going. work.

Additionally, the COVID-19 pandemic has led many people over the age of 55 to assess their work situation and come to a simple conclusion: “I’m done,” said Abernathy, who added that he was not There are only five ways to build a population of workers into a community:

  • Get more people to settle there.
  • Convince current workers to stay.
  • Improve immigration numbers.
  • Engage workers who have left the workforce to re-enter it, including people who have spent time in prison.
  • Encourage people to have more babies, then “wait 18”.

On the question of how to convince workers to move to the area, Abernathy said Fargo-Moorhead already has a lot to do, but rising costs of living, including house prices, could make this harder effort.

Ted Abernathy, the managing partner of Economic Leadership LLC, presented a regional workforce/talent literacy strategy and answered questions from the audience at the conclusion at the University of Washington’s Festival Concert Hall. North Dakota State at the Reineke Fine Arts Center on Monday, July 25.

Chris Flynn / The Forum

He said convincing state lawmakers to change child care rules would be a way to reduce the cost of living for families, warning that the cost of living in a community can often “suppress” the entry-level workers.

Regarding an action plan to promote workforce development, Abernathy said making the most of what the region has to offer will require things like contractual agreements between community partners, as well as the pursuit of a dedicated source of public funding.

Monday’s event was part of the ongoing Fueling Our Future initiative, a community effort that began several years ago in response to a growing labor shortage.

Officials said the information provided on Monday will feature in a larger update to the Fueling Our Future effort that is expected to be released to community members in October.

Shannon Full, President and CEO of the Chamber, said after Abernathy’s presentation that solving the region’s labor shortage will require an ongoing commitment of resources and community collaboration. She said she believed many in the area were determined to find an answer.

“Difficult conversations lie ahead,” said Joe Raso, president and CEO of Greater Fargo/Moorhead Economic Development Corp.

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