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FMWF Chamber Foundation receives $9.62 million workforce training grant

The federal funding will be used to train more than 900 workers through the Ignite Initiative Regional Workforce Training System.

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Workers at Marvin Windows in West Fargo install window sashes in fall 2021. The Fargo Moorhead West Fargo Chamber of Commerce's foundation announced Wednesday, Aug. 3, 2022, that it received a $9.62 million grant to support workforce training for the region's agriculture, manufacturing and technology industries.
David Samson / The Forum
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MOORHEAD — The Fargo Moorhead West Fargo Chamber of Commerce’s foundation has received a $9.62 million federal Good Jobs Challenge Grant to support training workers for the region’s agriculture, manufacturing and technology industries.

The grant from the Economic Development Administration will be used to train more than 900 workers in the next three years through the Ignite Initiative Regional Workforce Training System, the Chamber announced Wednesday, Aug. 3.

The program will focus on helping people of color, immigrants, veterans, military spouses, and people who have been through the criminal justice system, by providing support services and reducing barriers to starting and completing training.

The Chamber Foundation is partnering with the Grand Farm Research and Education Initiative, North Dakota State College of Science, Emerging Prairie, University of Mary and Workbay on the worker training program.

“With workforce as the No. 1 challenge facing our companies and our communities, The Good Jobs Challenge Grant will provide critical funding to enable our region to begin to develop a systematic, collective approach to the workforce needs,” Chamber President and CEO Shannon Full said in a news release. “We are excited for the challenge that lies ahead of us and are looking forward to working with all of our partners.”

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Minnesota’s senators touted the importance of the grant, as did North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum.

“I’m thrilled to hear the Ignite Initiative Regional Workforce Training System led by the Fargo Moorhead West Fargo Chamber of Commerce will receive significant funding from the EDA’s highly competitive Good Jobs Challenge. Almost 80 local employers are in support of this initiative, which will prepare over 900 people for jobs with projected wages ranging between $45,000 and $75,000 and wage growth potential beyond $100,000,” said Sen. Tina Smith, D-Minn.

“Our agricultural, manufacturing and information technology sectors are key to the economic success of communities across northwest Minnesota and North Dakota,” said Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn. “These resources will help workers access the skills and training they need to pursue careers in these critical fields.”

“Our administration was pleased to support the Ignite Initiative Regional Workforce Training System to provide innovative training opportunities for workers in the high-demand fields of agriculture, advanced manufacturing and cybersecurity,” Burgum said. “Congratulations to the Fargo Moorhead West Fargo Chamber Foundation and its education, business and nonprofit partners on securing this grant, which will allow our state to support workers in finding good-paying jobs they want, and help employers find the skilled workers they need.”

The Good Jobs Challenge Grant was a highly competitive process with only 32 projects awarded out of more than 500 applications nationwide.

Helmut Schmidt is a reporter for The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead's business news team. Readers can reach him by email at hschmidt@forumcomm.com, or by calling (701) 241-5583.
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