GRAND FORKS, N.D. - In a first for North Dakota, a multi-industry career expo to address the state’s workforce shortage will be held April 8 in Fargo.

Gov. Doug Burgum announced the Dakota Strike career expo during his 2020 State of the State address Wednesday, Jan. 29, at the Chester Fritz Auditorium.

Dakota Strike will be held at the Fargodome. The event will also highlight the importance of computer science and cybersecurity in various career fields, the governor’s office said in a news release.

A team of military, public and private sector partners created the expo for students in grades 7 through 12 and at the college and university level to explore the dozens of careers and thousands of job openings available in North Dakota. The emphasis will be on technology as a foundational element in virtually all careers.

Job Service North Dakota reported that it had 15,000 job openings posted online, and it is estimated that there are at least double that number of job openings statewide.

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“For North Dakota to fulfill its potential, we need to provide students with training, workforce development opportunities and early exposure to career options,” Burgum said. “Dakota Strike is a unique opportunity to bring students and employers together to showcase myriad careers in sectors ranging from agriculture, energy and manufacturing to unmanned aerial systems, military, and health care, while highlighting the vibrant technology and entrepreneurial ecosystem that is so crucial to growing our economy.”

The event will also include:

  • A Dakota Strike Mobile Application Competition with cash prizes;

  • A digital Capture the Flag competition that will be held in advance of the event, with winners announced at the event;

  • An E-Sports gaming simulator where students can experience competitive gaming in a cyber/digital sports environment;

  • Multiple simulator experiences including virtual reality, cyber- and aviation-based opportunities.

All students at the event can compete for prizes that will be awarded throughout the day.

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“The National Integrated Cyber Education Research Center (NICERC) is pleased to partner with Dakota Strike to bring innovative computer science and cybersecurity education to North Dakota educators and students,” said Dr. Chuck Gardner, NICERC’s director of curriculum.

NICERC is supporting Dakota Strike with an ethical hacking-style Capture the Flag event that will provide students with a series of cybersecurity challenges ranging from cyber hygiene questions to challenges involving various forms of malware. Students who place in the top five teams at the competition will each receive a Parallax cyber:bot robotic device from NICERC.

There are currently more than 700 cybersecurity jobs listed on cyberseek.org for the state of North Dakota alone and more than 500,000 nationwide, the governor’s office said.

Organizations interested in being an exhibitor or sponsor for the event can visit www.dakotastrike.nd.gov for registration and event information. Schools are also encouraged to register on the event website.